As our latest PE & VC Fundraising Report details, 2017 has been a banner year in the US when it comes to collecting capital for new vehicles. That trend extends to first-time investors raising their inaugural buyout funds.

Private Equity Secondaries Fundraising
By Katrina.Tuliao (https://www.tradergroup.org) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Mountaingate Capital Partners has become the latest fresh face to find success with its debut, closing its Fund I on a hard cap of $395 million to exceed an original target of $300 million. Based in Denver, Mountaingate plans to operate mainly in the lower middle market, pursuing companies related to business and industrial services, marketing services, distribution and manufacturing.

The firm is something of a successor to KRG Capital Partners, another Denver-based buyout shop. Mountaingate’s four managing directors are all former executives at KRG—including Bruce Rogers, who was a co-founder of KRG in 1996—and it’s helping manage the wind-down of KRG’s most recent fund, a $1.96 billion effort that closed in 2007. KRG has no plans to raise another vehicle, and its other current managing directors are all investors in Mountaingate’s new fund.

Connections to more established firms are a common thread in some of this year’s other rookie fundraisers. Here’s a look at some of the firms that closed first-time buyout funds during the first eight months of 2017:

True Wind Capital

Like Mountaingate, True Wind was able to blow past its initial target for its maiden fund, closing the vehicle on $560 million in February after originally seeking $400 million. The firm was formed by Adam Clammer and Jamie Greene, who previously led the global technology group at KKR. As you’d expect, then, True Wind will target a broad range of tech companies with its new fund, looking for lower-middle-market investments related to software, hardware, IT and services.

Angeles Equity Partners

Founded in 2014 by Jordan Katz and Timothy Meyer, Angeles closed its first-ever fund on $360 million in January, topping a $300 million goal. Angeles will deploy the capital in the industrial sector, building on Katz and Meyer’s experience as the co-leaders of the industrials division at The Gores Group. Based in Los Angeles, the firm has already used the fund to invest in ERP Power, a maker of electronics for LED lighting.

WM Partners

Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL, WM Partners closed its debut private equity vehicle on $307 million in July, sneaking past a $300 million target. The firm will use the funds to pursue lower-middle-market investments in the health & wellness space, with particular interest in the vitamins, minerals & supplements and personal care sectors. WM’s co-founders are Alejandro Weinstein, the former CEO of CFR Pharmaceuticals, and Jose Minski, who was a co-founder and COO at candy-maker Trolli.

Luminate Capital Partners

Managing director Hollie Haynes may have left Silver Lake to form Luminate, but she’s maintained her old employer’s area of focus: Luminate plans to invest mainly in enterprise software companies. After originally aiming to raise $200 million, Luminate closed its first fund in June on $265 million. The firm will focus on the middle market, targeting sub-sectors including SaaS, marketing automation, ecommerce and analytics.

Check out our previous PE fundraising coverage.

Article by Kevin Dowd, PitchBook