Side Letter: GP interests, HarbourVest secondaries, VC starter kit

Steve Mnuchin’s chief of staff joins Blackstone, Dover Street's fund terms revealed. Here’s today's brief, for our valued subscribers only.

Just happened


Think GP interests and heavy hitters Dyal Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs’ Petershill and Blackstone’s Strategic Capital Holdings immediately spring to mind, but there are others at work: France’s Eurazeo has taken stakes in several alts managers since 2015, the latest of which is a 25 percent stake in Madrid-based MCH Private Equity. The firm previously acquired stakes in French firms Idinvest Partners and Capzanine, and New York-based Rhône Group. LP appetite for GP interests has been on the up: funds targeting GP stakes have raised $17 billion so far and are looking to raise $14 billion more, according to Bain & Co.

Fund terms revealed!

Pension documents have peeled back the curtain on HarbourVest’s latest secondaries fund, Dover Street X, which is seeking up to $6.5 billion. Documents prepared for Ventura County Employees’ Retirement Association show an annual management fee of 0.75 percent, carry of 12.5 percent with an 8 percent hurdle. Earlybird LPs can get an annual fee reduction of 5 basis points for LPs if they commit before end-May. The fund’s 2015-vintage predecessor has returned 54.9 percent net IRR and 1.4x net TVPI so far, numbers that are sure to encourage some LP interest this time around.

Miller time at Blackstone

US Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin’s chief of staff Eli Miller is joining the Blackstone Group to work on public policy, per Axios. He follows his former boss Wayne Berman who is senior managing director and head of global government affairs for Blackstone in Washington, DC.


Here be dragons. Bill Browder used to be bullish on emerging markets; he now avoids them at all costs. In a two-minute video, Browder explains why rule of law and property rights – sometimes absent in less-developed regions – are crucial to a successful investment. These virtues, he says, don’t exist in Russia: “If you have a big economic success, there’s a reasonable chance somebody’s going to come along and steal it from you.”

Mercury rising. Mercury Capital Advisors has tapped Tom Donovan as a partner and one of three co-heads of global distribution. Donovan, whose CV includes stints at Lazard, Rede Partners and Credit Suisse, will look after LPs. His hire in Chicago means the placement agent now has offices in nine cities.

Nothing ventured. Thinking of launching a VC firm? One website is helping with the process. VC Starter Kit offers budding investors a ready-made venture capital uniform; included in “The Partner” kit is a Patagonia fleece vest and a copy of Zero to One by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. Those already on their way to becoming a VC behemoth might want to opt for “Vision” fund package, which includes anti-ageing blood transfusions and a New Zealand farm to ride out the apocalypse. How much does the latter cost? As the website notes: if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

Dig deeper

Want more data? There are more than 6,700 institutions in our database, including EurazeoHarbourVest PartnersBlackstone and Mercury Capital Advisors from today’s Side Letter.

He said it

“We hire junior MBAs who are familiar with the Japanese culture and business and have experience working overseas, and we educate them about private equity internally. That’s the best way to keep staff and expand our resources.”

Kazuhiro Yamada, head of Carlyle Japan, on the challenge of finding potential recruits with private equity experience in the country.

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Today’s letter was prepared by Adam LeRod JamesPreeti SinghAlex LynnCarmela Mendoza and Isobel Markham

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