Rick Perry’s $4.5 Million Friend

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Shortly after his previous company declared bankruptcy in 2008, a guy named David Nance started up a new venture, Convergen LifeSciences Inc. He himself invested only $1,000 in Convergen, but was able to get the company off the ground with a $4.5 million investment from a venture capital fund.

Venture capital folks usually prefer founders to have a wee bit more skin in the game than that, but this was a very special venture fund: the Emerging Technology Fund, a $200 million fund created by Rick Perry to invest taxpayer money in Texas startup companies. And David Nance was a very special founder: he had donated more than $100,000 to Perry’s campaigns over the previous decade. So even though a regional panel turned down Nance’s original application, when he appealed to a statewide advisory committee his application was approved unanimously.

More details here, based on reporting from the Austin American-Statesman here. Apparently this came up as an issue in Perry’s last campaign, but details were sparse at the time and the American-Statesman’s reporting only surfaced a couple of months ago. As always, it’s good to have friends in high places.

Via Mark Kleiman.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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