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Oil magnate’s investment arm closes debut venture fund on $140m

Hunt Ventures, an investment arm for Dallas tycoon Ray Hunt’s personal and commercial wealth, hopes to 'springboard' to larger funds after landing its first institutional investor.

Hunt Ventures, part of Dallas oil tycoon Ray Hunt’s personal investment platform, has closed its debut institutional fund on $140 million (€89 million).

The fund, part of the broader alternatives investment arm Hunt Investment, includes a “significant capital commitment” from an unaffiliated limited partner, representing Hunt Venture’s first attempt to expand its investor base beyond its internal capital pool.

“Generally speaking we’ve been small investors in terms of dollar amount,” Chris Kleinert, president of Hunt Investment and son-in-law to Ray Hunt, told PEO. “This will allow us to do a few more investments at slightly larger amounts than we have historically done.”

Hunt Ventures Fund I will focus on early-stage wireless digital media, software and services companies. Kleinert said that a portion of the fund had already been invested in existing Hunt portfolio companies, but that he expects the firm to complete 10 to 12 new investments.

Kleinert declined to disclose the identity of the fund’s limited partner, saying only that it was an “East Coast” institutional investor.

The latest fund, although the first of its kind for Hunt Ventures, constitutes the second institutional fund raised by a Hunt alternatives vehicle.

In 1998 Hunt Private Equity Group, another subsidiary of Hunt Investment, raised more than $100 million for a lower middle market buyout fund.

Although not yet fully exited, that fund will yield a 13 percent return for its 10 institutional investors, according to Kleinert.

The firm hopes the latest fund close will propel Hunt Investment into other, larger third-party vehicles.

“We may never want to go beyond this in our venture group,” said Kleinert. “ I don’t think that’s likely, but if it opens the door for other opportunities, that’s a positive too.”  

Hunt Investment, whose other vehicles include Hunt Bioventures, Hunt Growth Capital, Hunt Private Equity Group and Hunt Special Situations Group, invests a mix of the personal and commercial fortune of the Hunt family, which for three generations has been a fixture in the Texas oil industry.

Ray Hunt is chief executive of Hunt Consolidated, the holding company for the multi-billion Hunt-owned oil and real estate businesses.