Castanea finds $207m for new fund

The Newton, Massachusetts private equity firm received key support from the endowments of Princeton and Yale universities.

Castanea Partners, a Newton, Massachusetts private equity firm, has raised its first institutional fund with commitments of $207 million (€170 million).

The firm benefited from the early support of the Princeton and Yale endowments.

Castanea had previously done a number of private equity deals using the personal capital of its founders.

Castanea was founded by Brian Knez and Robert Smith, co-CEOs of publishing company Harcourt General until its sale in 2001. The both currently serve as vice chairmen of retailer Neiman Marcus.

Paul Gibbons is also a Castanea founding partner, having served as treasurer of Harcourt General.

The fund, Castanea Partners Fund II, will pursue a strategy of investing in small to mid-sized companies with equity investments of between $10 million and $20 million.

In March, Castanea Partners, acquired a stake in Fuze Beverage, an Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, maker of “vitamin-infused” drinks.

In January, the firm joined Boston Ventures on $58 million recapitalization of Decision Resources, a Waltham, Massachusetts pharmaceutical and biotechnology research provider.