Investment firm Lookout Capital has invested $750,000 in a Raleigh business that produces half marathon races that are 13.1 miles long – hence its name, Race 13.1.

Race 13.1 was founded in 2011 by John Kane, the company’s executive chairman and CEO. Kane is the son of John Kane, the developer of the North Hills shopping center, and also the director of investor relations at Lookout, which is based in Raleigh.

Although Kane’s insider status could raise conflict-of-interest questions at some investment companies, it’s not an issue at Lookout given its unusual business model, said Merrette Moore, managing director.

Investors in Lookout commit anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 a year for the right to invest in companies that Lookout brings to their attention – the larger the commitment, the more they can invest. But they’re not obligated to invest in anything.

Race 13.1 is addressing a growing market because half marathons are becoming increasingly popular among runners, Moore said.

The company, which currently has three full-time and two part-time workers, is producing five races in North Carolina this year and plans to expand to other states.

“If you can do it right in one town, why couldn’t you do it right in 100 towns?” Moore said.

Charlie Mercer, a former manager at Deloitte Consulting, recently joined Race 13.1 as president and chief operating officer.

“Our investing is all about betting on people,” Moore said. “Everyone has enormous confidence in John and Charlie’s ability to execute.”

Staff writer David Ranii

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