Tengram closes debut fund above target

The Connecticut-based firm launched its debut fund in 2011 and came in just under its $175m hard-cap. Tengram has invested roughly 20% of the fund to date.

Tengram Capital has held a final close for its debut fund on $173 million.

The Connecticut-based firm launched Fund I in 2011 with a $150 million target and $175 million hard-cap and held a first close on $65 million later that year. The firm made its first investment in June 2011, backing US clothing brand Robert Graham. Tengram has deployed roughly 20 percent of the fund to date, investing in consumer brands manager Sequential Brands Group, perfume business NEST Fragrances and cosmetics company Laura Geller Beauty.

Tengram’s debut fund attracted commitments primarily from US-based limited partners such as pensions, endowments, alternative asset managers and large family offices. Mt. Vernon Group and Triple A Partners acted as placement agents for the fund.

“We took a ‘build it and they will come’ approach,” Tengram co-founder and managing partner Matthew Eby toldPrivate Equity International. “If you do good deals eventually people will come to appreciate that and will invest.”

Prior to forming Tengram in 2010, Eby founded JAWS Estates Capital, the private investment office of Barry Sternlicht and the Sternlicht family. At JAWS, Eby led investments in public markets, hedge funds, private equity funds and direct transactions in private companies. He also worked alongside Tengram co-founder and managing partner Bill Sweedler investing in consumer businesses. 

“Tengram is the firm that Bill and I created to focus on the consumer [sector] and continue the strategy that we had been doing for four years prior to forming Tengram,” Eby said. Sweedler was formerly chairman and chief executive officer of brand development and investment company Windsong Brands.

Tengram is also led by partner Richard Gersten, a former partner at Connecticut-based consumer specialist Catterton Partners.

New funds attracting the most interest in the US are often spin-outs; experienced teams that offer an unusual fund structure or a focused investment strategy. Other first-time-funds to hit the market in recent years include Blue Water Energy, started by former members of 3i Group and First Reserve Corporation; Augusta Columbia Capital, led by former Blackstone senior managing director Chip Schorr; and Toronto-based Altas Partners, founded by former Onex Corporation partner Andrew Sheiner.