Silver State Opportunity Fund seeks new investments, partnerships

Modest investments made by the Silver State Opportunity Fund LLC over the past six months are starting to pay dividends, executives with the fund’s manager, Hamilton Lane, said Wednesday.

Miguel Luna, vice president of Hamilton Lane in Las Vegas, said the fund has invested $2 million in Miller Heiman Inc., a 30-year-old sales consultant and training firm in Reno, and $5 million with Huntington Capital’s Fund III.

Luna said Miller Heiman growth has been impressive since the investment, which was part debt and part private equity. He said the firm was looking at possible acquisitions that could lead to more back-office employment in Northern Nevada.

He said the fund’s investment in Miller Heiman was “converted from debt to equity.” An investment decision, Luna said, would allow the firm to increase its “debt position” to handle any acquisitions.

Luna told the Silver State Opportunity Fund’s board of directors that the initial return on investment as of June 30 was about 14.3 percent. He said the Silver State Opportunity Fund’s second fund investment will be $2.6 million with Enhanced Capital.

He assured the board that Enhanced Capital was committed to investing double the initial amount into the state and to putting an office in Las Vegas.

“I expect them to invest even more,” Luna said. “There is one more fund investment that we are close to finalizing.”

Luna declined to identify the fund, though he described it as a regionally focused venture capital fund that has spent a lot of time in Southern Nevada.

The Silver State Opportunity Fund will invest $5 million.

Luna said the $14.6 million invested is about 30 percent of the fund, “which is right on pace with our full year commitment.”

The $50 million Silver State Opportunity Fund was created in October 2011 as a result of the state Legislature approving Senate Bill 75, which formed the Nevada Capital Investment Corp.

The fund’s resources come from Nevada’s Permanent School Fund.

Tim Bubnack and Morgan Miller Jr., managing partners with San Diego-based Huntington Capital, updated NCIC board members Wednesday on the private equity firm and the status of its third fund.

Miller said the firm serves a target market, which is the “gap between what commercial banks do and venture or early stage capital funds do.”

“We fit in the middle,” Miller said. “We target companies that can (raise) $1 million or $2 million but need $5 million. We’ve met with several companies in Reno and Las Vegas. It looks much more promising than I thought it would.”

Huntington Capital’s Fund III has raised $52 million of its $125 million goal as of its first close May 31.

Bubnack said the fund is not far from submitting a term sheet to a company in the state, but he declined to identify the company or the size of the investment.

Huntington Capital’s Fund III received $5 million from the Silver State Opportunity Fund. Bubnack said he would be “very surprised if we don’t surpass that number significantly.”

Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at csieroty@reviewjournal. com or 702-477-3893. Follow @sierotyfeatures on Twitter.

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