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Credit Suisse fundraising veterans launch placement agency

The firm has already been competing for fundraising mandates, sources said.

A new player has entered the hyper-competitive private equity fundraising game: Aviditi Advisors.

Aviditi was formed by ex-Credit Suisse fundraisers Ryan Schlitt and John Robertshaw, three sources told Buyouts.

The firm is backed by a family office in Texas, sources said. It’s not clear which family is supporting the firm. 

Aviditi has been competing for fundraising mandates, sources said. “They’re definitely out there,” a placement agent told Buyouts.

It’s not clear what kind of funds Aviditi wants to work with or whether it’s looking for a certain size range. Robertshaw and Schlitt did not respond to requests for comment.

The business of raising private equity funds has become more competitive as more boutique shops join the list of major players, which include Park Hill Group, UBS, Credit Suisse, Lazard, Eaton Partners and Campbell Lutyens.

Some large firms have built their own in-house fundraising teams over the years and have no need of placement services, save for accessing certain types of investors that might be hard to reach because of factors like geography, for example.

Many big placement shops have looked down-market to spark new relationships with fresh firms. The crop of spinout firms and emerging managers is fertile hunting ground for placement agents and has become a hotly contested side of the PE market.

Some of the newer firms that have raised or are raising money include Butterfly Equity, which closed its debut institutional fund on $520 million with fundraising help from UBS; Crest Rock Partners, formed by ex-Marin Equity executives, which is targeting $400 million with the help of Campbell Lutyens; and Ocean Sound Partners, targeting $750 million with Sixpoint Partners.

Robertshaw co-led the private fund group at Credit Suisse from 2004 to 2013, after which he stepped into a vice chairman role from 2014 to the end of 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile. Robertshaw worked at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette from 1995 until Credit Suisse acquired the firm in 2000. 

Robertshaw also co-founded iCapital Network, which connects wealthy individuals with private equity and hedge fund managers. Robertshaw serves as chairman of the board of iCapital. It’s not clear if Aviditi will affect his role with iCapital. An iCapital spokesperson did not respond to a comment request.

Schlitt worked at Credit Suisse from 2000 until last May. Schlitt worked out of Dallas and was responsible for the US southeast and southwest, as well as client development in Central and South America, according to his biography in a North Carolina Treasury report. 

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