Oregon PERS invests $100m in emerging manager in China

Oregon LP makes one of its largest VC commitments in history to Sherpa Venture Capital's debut effort, investing half of the fund target.

The Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) made one of its largest venture capital commitments ever to Sherpa Venture Capital, a Beijing, China-based biotech firm founded two years ago.

The Oregon Investment Council announced the $100 million investment during its June 3 meeting.

Sherpa Healthcare Fund I is targeting $200 million, according to a filing with the SEC.

The firm invests in biopharma, gene technology, MedTech and medical services in China. Sherpa Venture Capital backs companies across stages of development.

The new firm was founded by Ouyang Xiangyu. His LinkedIn profile says he was previously a managing director with Legend Capital, a 19-year-old venture firm that invests in early-stage technology and growth-stage consumer goods and healthcare in China.

The Chinese emerging manager is the pension’s second venture commitment of 2020. Earlier this year, the LP announced a $50 million re-up to two Mayfield funds, which closed on a combined $750 million in March.

Oregon PERS has historically favored established brand-name venture firms, according to a review of the data compiled by Private Equity International, an affiliate of Venture Capital Journal. The pension has invested in GGV Capital, Union Square Ventures and OrbiMed Advisors.

Venture Capital is subsumed in Oregon PERS’ private equity investment strategy. As of May, PE represented 22.6 percent of the LP’s total portfolio, significantly exceeding the 17.5 percent target PE allocation.

The Oregon Public Employees Retirement System has more than $79 billion in assets under management.