IDFC Capital holds first close on $50m

The firm, which was set up in January last year, postponed fundraising of its maiden fund of funds and lowered its target due to market conditions. It is targeting $350m primarily for investment in Asian emerging markets.

Singapore-based IDFC Capital’s maiden fund, the Emerging Markets Private Equity Fund of Funds, held a first close last week on a $50 million commitment from its Indian sponsor Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC).

The fund has a target of $350 million and will be focused primarily on Asian mid-market growth strategy private equity funds. No concrete timeframe has been set for a second or final close, although according to Evan Gallagher, managing director, Investor Relations, the firm is “pleased” with the response the fund is receiving from global investors after its initial marketing efforts.

Gallagher also confirmed the firm had indentified investment opportunities with “several” Asia-based GPs and that the first close would enable the firm to put its strategy to work, although he declined to give more details.

IDFC Capital was formally established in January 2008 and is led by Veronica John, formerly responsible for Asian funds investment at CDC Group and the Asian Development Bank. The IDFC Capital team now has a total of five investment professionals including Melissa Brown, previously executive director of the Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia, Vikram Raju, formerly investment manager responsible for emerging markets at London-based Northgate Capital, and E. Brooke Whittaker, who joined from the boutique emerging markets corporate finance advisory firm he founded, Thumos Limited.

In November last year, John told PEI Asia the firm was aiming to hold a first close on $200 million by March this year and a final close on $500 million. However, the firm subsequently made the decision to hold off the fundraising process in view of the market conditions and has now also lowered its target to $350 million.

“The silver lining [to this] was the ability for the investment team to work together, entrenching the team foundations further and allowing a broader range of actual GP contact and investigations and intensive due diligence processes,” John said in an interview.

“At all levels, we are focused on providing a high quality offering as opposed to rushing to market,” she added.

IDFC Capital will invest up to 80 percent of its capital in funds dedicated to the Asia region and the remainder to other emerging markets, where the team also has experience. For the fund’s sponsor, IDFC, the commitment to the Emerging Markets Private Equity Fund of Funds is its first allocation to private equity markets outside India.