DURHAM, N.C. – Sallie Shuping Russell joined Intersouth Partners on March 31 as the firm’s third general partner. Shuping Russell comes to the firm following a 15-year tenure at Duke University, where for the last 11 years she was vice president and director of private investments at the Duke Management Co.
Intersouth Partners, an early-stage information technology and life sciences investor, had been looking for another general partner for some time, said Dennis Dougherty, one of the firm’s two founding general partners. “We have grown rapidly and now have $300 million under management and in order to deploy this effectively, we have been wanting to add another GP,” Dougherty added.
The firm tapped Shupping Russell because she possesses the right diversity of experiences to be a successful venture capitalist, he noted. “We wanted someone who had the right credentials,” he said. “Sallie, through Duke, has been investing in us for 15 years and she knows other VCs and entrepreneurs.” Moreover, Shuping Russell has already demonstrated she possess the crucial talent necessary for a VC, Dougherty said. “The most important thing a general partner does is pick people,” he noted, commenting “she has picked venture funds and people managing those funds with tremendous success and we are happy she has that skill.”
Shuping Russell decided to leap into the VC marketplace from the investment management world because of her growing interest in technology. “It has gotten to be the area I am most interested in and I want to get deeper into it,” she said, noting that for the last several years she has informally worked with Duke’s technology transfer office to leverage her contacts in the VC industry to help monetize technologies being developed at the university.
While at the Duke Management Co., which manages Duke’s investment assets, Shuping Russell was responsible for the company’s venture, buyouts, energy and timber investments and partnerships. “I set our strategy, executed on it and maintained it as we moved forward,” she explained. She was also a member of the management company’s senior management team which discussed asset allocation, as well as being part of the group which made the final decisions on which fund managers Duke Management Co. backed.
Shuping Russell’s responsibilities as a GP will include sourcing deals, leading/syndicating deals, sitting on boards, providing leadership to portfolio companies and overseeing successful exits, Dougherty said. She will also lead investments in both the IT and life sciences sectors, he added.
The firm’s most recent fund, Intersouth Partners V LP, closed on $183 million in May 2000, Dougherty said. To date the fund has done nine deals for approximately $36 million, he added. The vehicle will likely back a total of 22 investments with an average deal size ranging between $8 million and $10 million over the life of a deal, he said. The firm focuses its efforts on the geographic corridor running from Northern Virginia to Florida, he noted.