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Charles Barkley among big names to back Alabama Futures Fund

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley is one of several big names behind a venture capital fund in Alabama.

The Alabama Futures Fund announced this week that it has closed a $25 million early-stage venture capital fund that will focus on the state’s growing entrepreneurial culture. Investors include Barkley, Protective Life Insurance Company, HOAR Construction, Raymond J. Harbert, G. Ruffner Page Jr., and Benny M. LaRussa Jr.

“Protective is proud to be a part of the Alabama Futures Fund,” said Carl Thigpen, Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, Protective. “We see this as an investment in the future of Alabama and look forward to seeing how it contributes to the state’s ever-growing business community.”

The fund will only invest in companies that are headquartered in Alabama, or willing to move to the state, reports .

The fund’s portfolio investments will be managed by Birmingham-based Redhawk Advisory through its principles, Matt Hottle and Mickey Millsap. Hottle said Alabama startups have had grit and resourcefulness, but not the money needed to grow.

“The funding, strategic partnerships, and support AFF will provide has the opportunity to be game-changing, not only for the individual companies, but for the economic growth of the entire state,” said Matt Hottle.

The fund is calling the venture the largest seed-stage investment fund in Alabama history. It will focus on companies “across a broad range of industries that exhibit the potential for high growth.”

The Alabama Futures Fund was conceived to address Alabama’s historically low ranking in funding for early-stage startups.

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