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Office of the New York State Comptroller
Press Releases

November 15, 2013, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

DiNapoli Announces New In-State Private Equity Investment Through SoftBank Capital

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s (Fund) In-State Private Equity Program investment in The Dodo Inc., a start-up website focusing on animal issues, through investment manager SoftBank Capital.

“The In-State Private Equity Program has a proven track record of success for the state's economy and for the state pension fund,” DiNapoli said. “We have benefited greatly in our partnership with SoftBank Capital and this latest investment holds promise of more reward for New York.”

The Dodo is being launched by Kenneth Lerer, a co-founder of Huffington Post and chairman of BuzzFeed and Betaworks. It will feature stories related to humans’ involvement with animals, including advice for pet owners, tips on healthy eating, news on endangered species, as well as stories about animal rights and exploitation. The site will be run by Kerry Lauerman, former editor-in-chief of Salon.com, and Isabel Lerer.

“Once again, we are investing with Ken Lerer and his venture fund which has, along with Comptroller DiNapoli and the Fund, created companies including Huffington Post and Hyper Public that have resulted in extraordinary results for the pension fund,” said Jordan Levy, general partner at SoftBank Capital NY.

The In-State Private Equity Program partners the Fund with 18 private equity managers investing in New York-based companies. The program generates market rate returns consistent with the risk of private equity for the Fund while expanding the availability of capital for New York businesses. The program has generated a 20 percent return on fully exited investments in the last five years.

More than $1 billion has been committed to the program, of which $393 million is still available to invest in New York companies. In total, $684 million has been invested in 252 New York state companies.

Last month DiNapoli released a report on the progress of the In-State Program after hosting a roundtable discussion with private equity managers. The report can be found at: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/reports/pension/Instate_Report2013.pdf

For more information on the program or company eligibility, go to: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/pension/instate/

About the Common Retirement Fund
The $160.7 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund is the third largest public pension plan in the United States with more than one million members, retirees and beneficiaries from state and local governments. The Fund has a diversified portfolio of public and private equities, fixed income, real estate and alternative instruments.

About SoftBank Capital
SoftBank Capital is an independent venture capital firm focused on early stage high growth
technology-based businesses benefiting from the rapid deployment and adoption of broadband, eCommerce and mobile technologies. For more information, visit www.softbank.com.

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