First Time Funds: Ones to watch

AMERICAS

“There are first time funds, and there are first time funds,” says one US placement agent. “The ones that have a prospect of success – and we’re seeing it in this market today – are the groups that bring with them an attributable track record, along with team members and operators that they’ve worked with in the past. They also need to be active in sectors that are in favour.”

New York-based Bridge Growth Partners was founded in June 2013, with the idea of combining private equity expertise with operating expertise. The firm’s three founders include two long-time private equity executives – Alok Singh, who was previously a managing director at New Mountain Capital, and Sander Levy, a founding partner and managing director at Vestar Capital Partners – plus Kevin Parker, former CEO of financial software company Deltek. Bridge Growth focuses on opportunities in technology and financial services, as well as “technology enabled opportunities” in other areas like cyber security, business intelligence and analytics.

Palm Beach, Florida-headquartered Blue Sea Capital is led by partners James Davis and Richard Wandoff, formerly partners at Brockway Moran & Partners, and Mark Silk, the former president and chief executive officer of Tri-Star Electronics. At Brockway, where Davis worked for ten years, he executed 27 transactions worth more than $2.2 billion.  And he clearly didn’t leave on bad terms, because founder Peter Brockway is a senior advisor to his new firm. Blue Sea focuses on growth-oriented companies in the lower mid-market, specialising in the aerospace and defence, healthcare and industrial sectors and targeting deals that involve equity cheques of up to $150 million.

Colorado-based Revelstoke Capital Partners was founded in July 2013 by two former executives from KRG Capital Partners and one from Eos Partners. Mark King, a co-founder of KRG, is Revelstoke’s co-founder, managing partner and CEO, while his co-founder and fellow managing partner Dale Meyer was previously KRG’s director of fundraising and investor relations. Simon Bachleda was previously a managing director at Eos. Revelstoke’s seven investment professionals focus on lower mid-market investments in a variety of sectors including healthcare services and products, transportation and logistics, distribution and energy services. It plans to invest on a deal-by-deal basis with interested LPs until it can raise a fund.

Texas-based energy investor Vortus Investments is targeting $400 million for its debut fund, which will invest in onshore oil and gas exploration and production in the US mid-market, and is aiming to invest between $50 million and $75 million of equity per transaction. The firm has already completed its first investment, acquiring Texas-based exploration and production company Foreland Resources. Vortus funded the investment using capital primarily from outside investors, which the firm plans to repay following the first close.

Graham Winfrey