Benson Capital Companions, the funding agency launched by Saints and Pelicans proprietor Gayle Benson in 2019, has raised $50 million from native buyers for a brand new actual property funding fund centered on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
Benson Capital Actual Property I, LP, because the fund is named, formally closed earlier this month, with investments of $10 million from Gayle Benson personally and $40 million from 10 different buyers.
It’s the second fund for Benson Capital. In 2020, the agency created the Benson Capital Fund I and a $56.5 million enterprise capital agency, which it has since invested in 12 regional startup corporations with a heavy tech focus.
All of these corporations are positioned within the Gulf South, an space Benson feels has been missed by enterprise capital and personal fairness funds. She determined to pay attention BCP’s new actual property fund in the identical geographic space for a similar purpose.
“The Gulf South, the Deep South, from east Texas to the Florida Panhandle, has traditionally been underinvested in,” mentioned Greg Bensel, Benson Capital Associate’s senior vice chairman for communications. “Mrs. Benson began the primary fund as a result of she needed to spend money on the area and now she needs to do the identical factor for actual property.”
The fund will tackle investments price roughly $10 million to $30 million, and is targeted on “value-add actual property alternatives,” that means it’ll purchase largely older purchasing facilities, workplace complexes and residence buildings and attempt to breathe new life into them.
Already, the fund has closed on its first deal—the Riverside Park workplace complicated on Riverside Drive in Metairie close to Energy Boulevard and Interstate 10. The fund acquired the complicated, which incorporates two, three-story buildings in-built 1980, for lower than $10 million late final 12 months.
“The buildings have traditionally been under-occupied so we’ve got a plan to spruce up the constructing and the world and improve the occupancy so it’ll change into extra precious to us,” Bensel mentioned.
It’s additionally at the moment exploring different alternatives in Birmingham, the Baton Rouge area and Shreveport.
Although $50 million is a comparatively small quantity within the broader actual property funding world, funds typically increase extra capital in subsequent funding rounds.
Of the ten native buyers, just one — Ochsner — has been publicly recognized. In a ready assertion, the well being system’s CEO Pete November mentioned investing within the fund as a restricted accomplice is sensible as a result of, “We’ve seen how a lot our communities profit once we spend money on them and give attention to the longer term.”
Different native buyers embody excessive web price people and foundations, Bensel mentioned.
The brand new fund can be modeled after Benson Capital Fund I. The 12 corporations it’s invested in give attention to robotics, shopper apps, biotech and industrial tech. Bensel declined to offer latest returns on the fund.
Among the many publicly introduced startups in its portfolio are Hampr, a Lafayette-based laundry service app; AxoSim, a New Orleans biotech agency that has developed platforms to assist predict the outcomes of drug trials; and, Inclusively, a workforce inclusion platform that helps match job seekers with employment alternatives.