Illinois State Treasurer Pushes for Venture Capital Boost 

A new proposal in the state Senate aims to expand grant authorization powers for VC funding. 

Officials in the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office are hoping to expand venture capital projects in the state. 

Under a new proposal that advanced in the state Senate last week, the Illinois state treasurer is seeking to expand grant authorization powers for its venture capital funding, removing the restriction that investments in companies not exceed 10% of its total fund. 

Grants will be awarded to Illinois-based technology businesses, including tech-enabled businesses in agricultural, consumer, and financial services sectors, in metros such as Chicago.  

“By supporting our entrepreneurs and technology businesses, we will promote the success of technology businesses and continued job growth for Illinois residents,” the proposal read. 

It’s the latest push from the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office, which oversees a $31 billion portfolio, to cast Illinois as a “Midwest Technology Hub.” In August 2018, the office increased funding for its venture capital fund, called the Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund, to roughly $1 billion to be invested over a decade. 

The increased funding meant the venture capital allocation in the Treasury’s $15 billion state investments portfolio increased to 5%, up from 2%. Illinois State Treasury CIO Rodrigo Garcia said the fund made a 13.8% annual return in fiscal year 2019. 

Venture capital deals have expanding for years, marking their fifth consecutive record year in 2018 with transactions worth $274 billion, according to data firm Preqin. That surpassed the previous high of $192 billion set in 2017.

The Illinois State Treasurer’s Office said in a report that it expects the venture capital investments to create approximately 60,000 jobs in the state, as well as attract more than $2 billion in additional private-sector money. 

In a separate proposal, the government agency also plans to up its infrastructure allocation to 5% of its $15 billion state investments fund, which is used to support government agencies, boards, and commissions. 

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