First Nations Capital Partners LLC one of the first commingled private equity funds designed for tribal government investors expects to close in June, but convincing investors has not been easy.
It took 18 months to get the first lead investors the Colusa Indian Community Council, Colusa, Calif., and the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, Valley Center, Calif. to make commitments. The two tribes and Wells Fargo Community Development Corp., San Francisco, each have committed up to $5 million to the fund over five years. Investment manager Admiral Capital Management LLC, Greenwich, Conn., expects other tribes and Indian Nations to each commit $1 million to $5 million. The target is $25 million to $30 million.
Bob Taylor, president of Wells Fargo Community Development, the sole institutional non-tribal lead investor, said eventually the idea took hold. They wanted to diversify their assets from casino and hotels, he said.
Diversification has been a theme with the Colusa Indian Community Council, which over the past 10 years has expanded from commercial farming to a variety of other businesses, including gaming, a power plant and a hunt club, said Bonnie Pullen, chief financial officer. The Colusa Indian Community was soon comfortable with expanding into private equity, but it took time for tribal officials to conduct due diligence and get approvals from its boards, legal advisers and, finally, the council, she said. What's more, the fund's goal is to invest to assist companies too small to get capital anywhere else that will provide good-paying jobs and benefits.
One of the goals is if there is a great opportunity in Indian country, that the fund would look at those, Ms. Pullen said.
Contact Arleen Jacobius at [email protected]