Wednesday, February 21

CalPERS investor Karsh leaves to help launch ESG-focused venture firm

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LONDON/BOSTON — Former CalPERS portfolio manager Andrew Karsh has left the $500 billion pension scheme to co-found sustainability focused venture capital firm Bay Bridge Ventures, Bay Bridge said on Thursday.

The move comes as demand to invest in funds focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues surges. The new firm will look to invest in “impactful” technologies in climate tech, health innovation and inclusive capitalism, it said.

ESG funds account for 10% of worldwide fund assets, as investors take more account of issues like climate change and workforce diversity.

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Karsh has spent the last decade at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, where he managed direct investments and was a member of the Absolute Return Strategies Advisory Board. Prior to that, he managed more than $5 billion for clients at Credit Suisse Alternative Investments.

He joins fellow co-founders Joe Blair and Kim Kolt, both of whom were previously involved in venture capital.

“Bay Bridge Ventures is created from the belief that the future’s most successful companies will be those that solve critical problems facing the environment and humanity,” Karsh said in a statement.

A CalPERS spokeswoman declined to comment. In January Franklin Resources Inc said it hired away CalPERS stewardship leader Anne Simpson. (Reporting by Simon Jessop and Ross Kerber; Editing by Mark Potter and Richard Chang)