Navab plots the largest-ever debut fund

Navab Capital Partners has a $3bn target for its inaugural fund, which would be the largest ever debut private equity fund raised by an independent firm.

Alex Navab, former managing director and head of Americas private equity at KKR, is looking to raise $3 billion for his debut private equity fund.

If successful, Navab Capital Partners will be the largest debut fund raised by an independent firm since PEI began recording data in 2008.

Excluding state- and corporate-backed funds, PEI data show five China-focused managers raised the largest first-time funds post-global financial crisis.

Beijing-based DCP Capital, set up by former co-head of KKR Asia and chief executive of the firm’s China business David Liu, amassed $2.5 billion across its main fund and separate vehicles last week. Hopu Investment Management, also headquartered in Beijing, gathered $2.5 billion for Hopu Master Fund I in 2008.

Hong Kong-based manager RRJ Capital raised $2.3 billion against a $2 billion target for its debut fund RRJ Capital in June 2011, while Beijing-based Primavera Capital Group hit its $2 billion target for Chunhua Fund I in March 2011. In 2015, another Chinese manager Hillhouse Capital held a $2 billion final close on Hillhouse Capital Fund I.

A handful of first-time funds have broken the $3 billion mark but these have been set up by corporates including Chinese tech giant Baidu or by state-backed investment firms such as Shanghai Creative Industries Demonstration & Service Platform, Russia Direct Investment Fund and Brazil’s Caixa Econômica Federal, according to PEI data.

Navab Capital Partners’ debut vehicle will back upper mid-cap to larger companies in North America across a range of industries, including healthcare, technology, media, fintech, financial services and consumer, the firm said in statement.

NCP will also have “corporate philanthropy as a key component of its mission” and has established a philanthropic foundation to “supply financial and human capital to its initiatives”. It is unclear how this objective will be put to work, but among its managing directors is Georgia Keohane, a social enterprise professor and former executive director of hedge fund manager Bill Ackman’s foundation.

The Goldman Sachs Petershill programme is among the firm’s backers.

Navab, a veteran dealmaker who spent more than two decades building KKR’s PE business in North America, has assembled an investment team comprising former colleagues at KKR as well as senior executives from The Carlyle Group and Warburg Pincus.

Ram Jagannath joins NCP as partner from Carlyle where he spent twelve years, most recently as MD in Carlyle’s US buyout fund, focused on healthcare. Annette Rodriguez also joins as partner from Warburg, where she was MD focused on healthcare and consumer. Another partner, Robert Berlin, was previously with Baupost Group, a Boston-based hedge fund. Two ex-KKR senior executives are part of the team: Michael Gaviser joins as managing director, head of capital raising and investor relations, and Bhavna Vashisht Katkar is MD, chief administrative officer and head of human capital.