Diverse-led emerging manager Demopolis targets $300m for Fund I

Demopolis has already begun doing deals, including this year's investment in Tyfone, a provider of consumer and commercial digital banking services.

Demopolis Equity Partners, an investor in mid-market technology companies, is seeking $300 million for a debut offering, sources told Buyouts.

Launched earlier this year, Demopolis Equity Partners Fund I has so far raised $60 million, the firm recently reported in a Form D filing.

At the best of times, emerging managers face barriers to getting the attention of LPs. In today’s fundraising market, the challenges are greatly increased. LPs, a large share of them cash-strapped, are tending to place their limited capital with existing GP relationships. They are for this reason neglecting new relationships, even pedigreed teams with attractive strategies.

This is seen in Private Equity International’s LP Perspectives 2023 Study. It found 26 percent of investors are less likely to commit capital to first-time funds this year, up from 15 percent in the 2022 survey.

On the other hand, many LPs recognize the value of emerging managers. Investors with dedicated programs typically view them as a source of outperformance, thanks in part to the fresh ideas and talent they bring into the market.

Founded last year, Demopolis is led by a diverse team. Its managing partner is Tim Greenfield, formerly a senior partner with Black Dragon Capital, a minority-run technology private equity shop.

Greenfield, who was with Black Dragon for seven years, according to his LinkedIn profile, earlier had a range of senior investment and operating roles, including C-level positions in software companies. He began his career working for General Electric and McKinsey & Company.

Also on the team is partner and investors relations head Wanda Felton, a one-time vice chair and first vice president of Export-Import Bank, her website biography said. Among her prior jobs, Felton was a private equity fundraising executive at Credit Suisse and Jefferies’ Helix Associates.

In addition, Chandra Sekhar Kartha, Demopolis’ vice president, was previously an analyst with Black Dragon, according to his LinkedIn profile. Before, he worked as an M&A professional at several businesses.

On its website, Demopolis describes itself as an impact-oriented private equity firm that partners with mid-market technology companies to drive growth and value creation “while also making a positive contribution to society.” As part of this focus, it aims “to leverage technology to impact problems in marginalized communities.” Other details of the strategy are not known.

Demopolis has already begun doing deals. In April, it announced an investment in Tyfone, a consumer and commercial digital banking services provider to US community financial institutions. The transaction saw Tyfone merge with digital banking platform Cubus Solutions.

And last year, Demopolis invested in a $50 million financing of WorkJam, a frontline workforce app that helps businesses engage, up-skill and retain employees. Blumberg Capital, Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Inovia Capital also invested.

Demopolis has its headquarters in New York. It declined to provide a comment on this story.

Check out Buyouts’  extensive inventory of first-time fundraising here.