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Friday, May 24, 2024

NCInnovation tops $25M private fundraising goal, officials say

NCInnovation says it passed the $25 million private fundraising requirement set by state lawmakers when they authorized the nonprofit, which is slated to receive $500 million in potential funds over the next two years.

The group said it received pledges from Cary-based SAS and the foundations of Pinnacle Financial Partners and Huntington National Bank that put the group over the $25 million marker. Nashville-based Pinnacle acquired High Point-based BNC Bancorp in 2017, while Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington is building up its presence in the Carolinas.

As of Sept. 30, 2023, the group said it had raised $22.8 million in private funding pledges. About 20 companies have previously been cited as funders, including Bank of America, Duke Energy, JPMorgan Chase, Truist, Wells Fargo and Martin Marietta Materials. Former Truist CEO Kelly King chairs the 13-member NCInnovation board.

NCInnovation intends to help N.C. public universities commercialize their research in what it calls the “critical R&D phase between proof concept and readiness for the private market.”

The group has set up four networks anchored by directors at UNC System campuses in Charlotte, Cullowhee, Greensboro and Greenville.

State law required NCInnovation to secure $25 million in private commitments before more state funds would be added to its endowment. The plan calls for earnings from the endowment to support public university researchers beyond the state’s three traditional research-heavy campuses in Chapel Hill and Raleigh.

UNC Chapel Hill, N.C. State and Duke University accounted for 87% of the state’s total academic R&D between 2010-21, according to NCInnovation.

Since its establishment, the group says it has earned more than $3.1 million in interest on state funds. It has a pending request-for-proposal seeking a third-party manager overseeing investments.

NCInnovation joins existing state-affiliated groups involved in economic development including the N.C. Biotechnology Center, the N.C. Rural Center and the Golden Leaf Foundation.

The biotech center received $17 million in government grants in its fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, according to a tax filing. It had about $41 million in assets, including about $22 million in investments.

The rural center received about $1 million in government grants in its fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, according to a tax filing. It had about $223 million in assets, including about $143 million in loans and notes received.

The Golden LEAF Foundation, which supports rural economies affected by the declining tobacco indsutry, had assets of about $1.3 billion in February, according to its most recent report. It is funded by the 1998 agreement with large tobacco companies related to a settlement of public-health litigation.

David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at dmildenberg@businessnc.com.

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