With major secondary buyers getting larger with each successive fund, one group of specialists is honing in on transactions too small and complicated for the large players. London-based Headway Capital Partners announced that it raised $62 million for its inaugural fund, Headway Investment Partners.
The group of founding partners, Sebastian Junoy, Christiaan de Lint and Laura Shen, spun their small firm out of Coller Capital early last year. “We wanted to go after neglected parts of the secondary market,” says de Lint, who worked with Citibank’s alternative investment division before becoming a principal at Coller. “We are acting on the smaller end where speed is more important and things are a bit more complex for the larger players.”
Shen, an American who served with Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs before working at Coller, said in a statement that Headway is adapting to a changing secondary market that increasingly values more sophisticated deals. “For a secondaries firm to be successful, it can no longer be about buying on the cheap,” she says. De Lint also calls attention to the market’s fragmentation, with large players standing on one end of the market spectrum and firms like Headway on the other.
Headway only started raising the fund in the second quarter of this year, according to de Lint. It held a first close on the fund in April and a final close on June 20, just prior to the end of the quarter. The firm’s LPs consist only of family offices and individual investors, a strategy that Junoy, a veteran of J.P. Morgan and the International Finance Corp., says is deliberate. Junoy noted in the firm’s announcement that an investor base of individuals places a high value on discretion and that the firm will derive extra value from being able to introduce its LPs to general partners.
The firm has already done several deals from its fund. It is interested in buying both buyout and venture LP interests as well as interests in direct portfolios and shares of individual portfolio companies. Headway expects the new fund to have an investment period of two or three years. The three partners have one assistant and are hunting for a chief financial officer.
Headway is the second such firm to be founded by former Coller Capital professionals. Greenpark Capital, founded in 2000 by former Coller executive Marleen Groen, closed its second fund last year with $444 million.