Volpi reaches first close on debut fund – Exclusive

The new manager is targeting €185m to invest in information and tech-enabled services companies in Europe.

New firm Volpi Capital has held an official first close on its debut private equity fund on around €100 million, Private Equity International has learned.

Headed by former 3i partner and head of TMT Crevan O’Grady and Marco Sodi, who led the European investing activities of Veronis Suhler Stevenson from 1999 until 2010, Volpi has set a target and hard-cap for its first vehicle of €185 million, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

The vehicle has a standard 10-year fund life. It is understood that the GP commitment is likely to be close to the market standard of 2 percent and that Rede Partners is acting as placement agent for the fundraise.

The fund received a cornerstone investment from a large US insurance company which allowed Volpi to make its first investment in June. Investors in the first close include European pension funds and funds of funds, the source said.

The fund will seek to make control investments in five to six European businesses with enterprise values of €50 million to €200 million in the information and tech-enabled services sector. It will seek to create value in these businesses through organic growth, buy-and-build, or by optimising undermanaged companies, according to Volpi’s website.

The first close comes as Volpi announces its investment in the management buyout of Irish technology company Version 1. It is understood that Volpi has invested €90 million of equity in the company, most of which will come from the fund itself and some of which will come from LP co-investment.

Version 1 designs, builds, implements and manages infrastructure software for UK and Irish enterprise customers, and is set to turn over more than €100 million this year. Volpi will help the company continue its acquisition strategy, expanding into a broader European business.

The Version 1 deal takes the fund up to around 40 percent deployed.

The firm’s first investment was in Medinet, a provider of a complex, data-based, waiting times reduction solution to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Medinet partners with the NHS to match excess patient demand locally with a national supply of clinicians in an efficient and cost effective manner.

Volpi’s LPs have co-invested around €50 million across the two investments, the source said.

O’Grady, who declined to comment on the firm’s fundraising activity, told PEI the firm will seek to partner with management teams that see the value in the sector-specific expertise the firm brings.

“We’re very hands-on, but we are growth investors,” O’Grady said. “We’re not buying [companies] that we’re trying to fix, we’re trying to buy rapidly-growing businesses we can help grow faster.”

O’Grady said the niche Volpi focuses on is relatively underserved in Europe due to sector specialists’ fund sizes growing over the years and starting to seek larger acquisition targets.

“There are attractive, positive, long-term macro-trends that are underserved in the lower mid-market [on a] pan-European basis,” he said.

Volpi has a team of seven, with plans to add another two people this year. 

Rede declined to comment.