LPs continue to commit capital from a distance, sometimes a short one, and not just to their existing contact list.

Institutional investors announced nearly $200 million of recent commitments to new venture relationships as investor sentiment for the asset class remains positive. The commitments come as 60 percent of venture-investing LPs plan to keep or increase their allocation to the asset class in 2021, according to VCJ‘s LP Perspectives study.

While most of the year will still see due diligence completed virtually, LPs look poised to continue building their VC portfolios.


No travel no problem for Canvas Ventures, which continues to see success forging new investor relationships with pensions located within driving distance of the firm’s Bay Area headquarters. Canvas Ventures received an additional $20 million from a pair of local pensions in Q4.

The San Mateo County Employees’ Retirement Association committed $15 million to the fund. Neighboring pension, the City of San Jose Police and Fire Department Retirement Plan also committed $5 million to the fund.

Both are new relationships for the firm, which focuses on Series A and Series B marketplace investments.

The firm also grabbed capital from two of its other California neighbors last year. The Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association committed $10 million and the Sacramento County Employees’ Retirement System committed $20 million.

Oregon sees green

The Oregon Public Employees’ Retirement Fund also added a new manager to its portfolio in December. The pension system invested a combined $40 million across USV 2021 and USV Climate Fund, both managed by Union Square Ventures.

USV 2021 is part of the firm’s flagship strategy of investing in internet-based start-ups across their lifecycle. The Climate Fund is a new vehicle for the firm that is targeting $162 million to invest in start-ups that relate to the current climate crisis.

The pension is active in venture and has also recently invested in Mayfield Fund, Sherpa Venture Capital and GGV Capital, among others.

No pause for Pennsylvania 

The West Coast didn’t get all the excitement either. The Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System also made a first-time commitment to the latest fund from Oak HC/FT: Oak HC/FT Fund IV.

The organization committed $100 million toward the fund’s $1.1 billion target at its January board meeting. The vehicle will invest in healthcare and financial services companies across various stages, including growth equity.

Fund III closed on $800 million in August 2019.

International investing

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced two additional venture commitments it made to emerging managers in emerging markets in 2020.

The IFC committed $25 million to Stellaris Venture Partners’ latest fund Stellaris Venture Partners India Trust II. The fund is targeting $160 million to invest in seed and Series A companies across sectors including tech, healthcare and education, among others.

The organization also invested €10 million into LAUNCHub Ventures 2.0. The fund managed by LAUNCHub Ventures is targeting early-stage tech investments in South-East Europe.

IMRF is back for seconds

While many pensions continue to add new managers to their portfolios over Zoom calls, that doesn’t deter them from re-upping with their existing relationships.

The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund made a $30 million commitment to Harpoon Venture’s third vehicle, Harpoon Venture III, in December.

This marks the pension system’s second investment into the early-stage tech firm in 2020. The IMRF previously invested $7.5 million into the firm’s second fund last May.