The purpose of the OGA is to earn returns for the Education Stability Fund by making investments in or providing seed capital for emerging growth businesses, in Oregon, through external general partners.
The search for more investment capital to help encourage Oregon start-ups led to the Legislature to create the Oregon Growth Account (OGA) in 1995.
The OGA is a unique fund in Oregon, and is specifically designed to inject seed capital to launch and expand young Oregon companies. The funds come from the Oregon Lottery, which, among other goals, finances economic development.
Returns from investments in the OGA help fund education.
The Oregon Growth Account has committed over $99 million since inception. Investments through the fund have paid off in new jobs: The aggregate payroll produced by companies aided by the Oregon Growth Account equals $83 million a year.
The funds in the OGA are managed by external managers, who vet applicants and decide which of them have the best ideas and best chances for success. Also, in recognition of the need to develop early-stage investments devoted to Oregon, the OGA has a requirement to invest its money in Oregon and a preference for Oregon-based managers.
The Oregon Growth Account is one way that Oregon is investing in Oregon.
The Oregon Growth Account does not invest directly in companies: Investments are made at the sole discretion of the external managers. Entrepreneurs are invited to contact any of those general partners and submit business proposals.
The OGA is overseen by a public board and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler is the chairman. The minutes and agendas from meetings of the OGA Board are a public record.
The Office of the State Treasurer maintains the policies for the fund.
Back to top
Oregon is investing in Oregon
In Oregon, we love dreamers.
The State Treasury offers a suite of tools that are available to help businesses in Oregon prosper. The Treasury sponsors two funds that directly invest capital into the businesses with the best chances of success. The Treasury also is helping Oregon financial institutions safely receive public fund deposits, which allow banks and credit unions to turn around and make more loans on Main Street.
The Oregon Growth Account and the
The Oregon Angel Fund and its more than 80 members have invested over $6M to fuel the growth of 13 early stage companies over the past 3 years. OAF's $6M in seed investments has attracted an additional $35M in venture capital to Oregon and helped create some 340 jobs. None of this would have been possible without the investment from and support of the Oregon Growth Account. Could there be a more powerful and effective economic stimulus?"
- Eric Rosenfeld
Oregon Angel Fund
Oregon Investment Fund finance promising entrepreneurs in Oregon and assist them in turning their proposals into profitable companies.
Through those two funds, more than $150 million has been invested in Oregon since 1996, and that capital has created more than 1,000 jobs.
Those investments are vetted and handled by professional fund managers who have contracts with the state. The Office of the State Treasurer does not invest directly into individual companies.
Both funds are investments and are expected to generate returns, so the funds are steered to companies with the best business plans.
The Treasury also helps to make public fund deposits available so that Oregon financial institutions have more capital to lend, through the Time Certificates of Deposit program
. The State Treasurer also is asking the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to raise the ceiling on insurance for public fund deposits, which will increase the dollars available to lend.
In addition, the Oregon Investment Council
- which oversees the investment of public trust funds in Oregon including the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund (OPERF) - has contracts with firms that operate venture and business opportunity investment funds. Those managers, who invest around the world, have been encouraged to seek profitable business opportunities in Oregon.
Smart investments for future success
We are constantly on the lookout for more of tomorrow's potential success stories. All Oregon startup ventures have the opportunity to access the funds in the Oregon Investment Fund and Oregon Growth Account.
Business proposals are evaluated by independent fund managers, and then investments are made based on the best opportunities. So have a solid business plan.
Oregon wants to help companies succeed, but the state has a fiduciary role and a legal obligation to make sure the money is invested wisely. The investments will help Oregon entrepreneurs, but also must drive superior market returns for beneficiaries.
Fund managers do their homework, ask tough questions and invest in the most promising ideas.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How can I apply?
Do you have a good idea and a plan? The doors are always open!
• You can contact the Oregon Growth Account partners directly.
• Oregon also helps to finance startups through the Oregon Angel Fund which is managing some funds from the Oregon Growth Account. (This link will take you outside Oregon government.)
• The Oregon Investment Fund which is run by Credit Suisse, also has an entrepreneur portal. (This link will take you outside Oregon government)
Where did the OGA and OIF come from?
The Oregon Growth Account (OGA) was authorized by the Legislature in 1995 to spur more investment in Oregon, and to benefit Oregon public schools. The funds for the startup capital come from the Oregon Lottery, and the returns from Oregon Growth Account investments flow into the Education Stability Fund. So the OGA Board has asked the independent investment managers to be selective and focus on opportunities that are most likely to perform well.
The Oregon Investment Fund (OIF) is managed and invested by Credit Suisse and was one part of the response by the Oregon Investment Council to a bill from the 2003 Legislature. That legislation said the state should look first in Oregon when investing $100 million in emerging growth businesses - while still adhering subject to fiduciary concerns. Oregon companies also can seek capital through the many private equity fund managers that manage separate Oregon trust fund investments.
Can the Oregon pension fund invest directly into my company?
No. All of the investments that involve funds from the Oregon Public Employees' Retirement Fund are handled through private sector fund managers, who vet proposals carefully to gauge the risk and how likely they are to be profitable. The Office of the State Treasurer does not make direct investments in any companies.
What is the goal for investments of the Oregon Public Employees' Retirement Fund?
There is only one goal: Investment returns. Under Oregon law, the Oregon Public Employees' Retirement Fund is managed for sole exclusive benefit of its members. As such, the fund managers look for opportunities that will meet the necessary returns for hard-working public employees, who need their retirement to be there when they are ready to retire.
By maximizing investment returns, that management benefits taxpayers.
That's because, if the PERS fund does not achieve the "assumed rate" of 8 percent, then public employers - many of whom are funded through tax receipts -- must make up the difference. More information is available from the Public Employees Retirement System.
Can the PERS Fund be used for economic development?
Yes, but only to the extent those investments that are deemed to have the best chance of achieving the sole goal of the Fund: to provide necessary returns on behalf of the fund beneficiaries.
The state cannot sacrifice lower returns in order to meet a different goal, such as to promote a social policy or to spur economic development. State law says the "assets may not be diverted or otherwise put to any use that is not for the exclusive benefit of members and their beneficiaries" (ORS 238.660(2)).
Ted Wheeler, State Treasurer
Serves by position; Chair
Richard N. Bader, EasyStreet Online Services
Term(s) 02/10/2004 - 02/09/2007
02/10/2007 - 02/09/2010
02/10/2010 - 02/09/2013
Les Fahey, Fahey Ventures LLC
Term(s) 07/15/2009 – 7/14/2012
Art Hill, Blue Mountain Community College
Term(s) 09/15/2010 – 09/14/2013
Kanth C. Gopalpur, Monsoon, Inc
Term(s) 06/01/2008 – 05/31/2011
Timothy Phillips, Phillips & Company Securities Inc.
Term(s) 07/17/2006 – 07/16/2009
07/17/2009 – 07/16/2012
Steve L. Vincent, Avista Corp.
Term(s) 08/01/2003 - 07/31/2006
08/01/2006 – 07/31/2009
08/01/2009 – 07/31/2012
348.707 Oregon Growth Account Board; members; terms; compensation; powers and duties. (1) There is established an Oregon Growth Account Board consisting of:
(a) The State Treasurer or the treasurer’s designated representative, who shall be the chairperson of the board.
(b) Three members appointed by the Governor from a list of candidates recommended by the State Treasurer who are qualified by training and experience in the field of venture capital and emerging growth businesses in Oregon.
(c) Three members from the general public appointed by the Governor from a list of candidates recommended by the State Treasurer.
(d) One member appointed by the Governor from a list of candidates recommended by the State Housing Council established by ORS 456.567.
(2) The term of office of each board member appointed by the Governor is three years. However, each member, except the State Treasurer or the treasurer’s designated representative, shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor. Before the expiration of the term of a member, the Governor shall appoint a successor. A member is eligible for reappointment. If there is a vacancy for any cause, the Governor shall make an appointment to become immediately effective for the unexpired term.
(3) A member of the board may receive reimbursement of expenses under ORS 292.495 (2), but shall not receive compensation under ORS 292.495 (1) or otherwise for participation as a board member.
(4) The board shall have authority to approve or direct specific investments or strategies for the investment of moneys in the Oregon Growth Account, subject to investment policies established for moneys in the account by the State Treasurer, and the board shall exercise the care, skill and diligence that a prudent investor acting in a similar capacity and familiar with such investments would use in managing and investing a similar account.
(5) The State Treasurer shall report on the development of the policies described in subsection (4) of this section to the legislative interim committees on trade and economic development and government finance and tax policy. [1997 c.323 s.3]
OGA Location & Schedule
OGA Meetings are held at the PERS building boardroom located at:
11410 SW 68th Parkway
Tigard, Oregon 97223
OGA Board Meeting Schedule 2013
Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 9:30am - 12:00pm-CANCELLED
Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 9:30am - 12:00pm
OGA Board Meeting Schedule 2012
Thursday, April 5, 2012, 9:30am - 12:00pm (rescheduled from Tuesday, March 13, 2012)
Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 9:30am - 12:00pm
Tuesday, September 11, 2012, 9:30am - 12:00pm (Cancelled)
Friday, November 9, 2012 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Wednesday, December 12, 2012, 9:30am - 12:00pm (Cancelled)
OGA Agendas - Current Year
OGA Agendas - Prior Years
OGA Agenda - Prior Years
OGA Minutes and Sound Recordings