APAC vet Lerner reunites with former Eaton colleagues to launch asset manager

Chris Lerner will be responsible for launching a company focused on investments in private markets fund managers and industry solutions providers, PEI understands.

Chris Lerner, a veteran of the Asia-Pacific fundraising scene, is reuniting with former colleagues ahead of plans to launch an asset management firm, Private Equity International understands.

Chris Lerner MSA Capital
Chris Lerner

Lerner, who spent nearly a decade at placement firm Eaton Partners, will lead the investment holding company that owns Thrive Alternatives, a Singapore-headquartered GP advisory founded in 2021 by former Eaton executives, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

Lerner will be responsible for launching a separate affiliate company focused on investments in private markets fund managers and industry solutions providers, the source said, noting that the entity will make both fund and direct investments, and have capital for both primary and secondary opportunities. It is unclear whether these fund manager investments will include GP stakes.

Thrive declined to comment. Lerner did not return a request for comment.

Lerner was most recently at Chinese growth equity and venture capital firm MSA Capital, according to his LinkedIn profile. Before that, he led the origination and execution of Eaton’s Asia-Pacific fundraises, secondaries and strategic advisory until his departure in 2020, as first reported by PEI. Lerner has also been a senior adviser to Thrive since its formation.

Thrive is led by co-chief executives Gianluca D’Angelo, Eaton’s former head of EMEA, and Jackson Chan, Eaton’s former co-head of Asia. They are joined by co-founder Robin Tyrangiel, a former managing director at Eaton who also leads affiliate software business Asense Technologies. The trio last year reunited with Thomas Yu, who departed Eaton at the back end of 2021 after a two-year stint as senior director, PEI reported at the time.

Lerner’s new venture comes at a critical time in Asia-Pacific fundraising. Funds targeting the region raised just $2.2 billion in the first quarter of this year, representing a mere 1.4 percent of global fundraising, according to PEI data. Asia-Pacific-focused funds closed on $64 billion last year, the lowest annual total since 2014, with appetites for the region dented by geopolitical tensions, regulatory uncertainty and pandemic disruption, among other constraints.