Ex-Goldman PE executive forms independent sponsor

  • Klemann worked in PE at Goldman Sachs
  • Joined by fellow Goldman alum Kevin Collins
  • GHK focuses on industrials

Gilbert Klemann, a former managing director at Goldman Sachs, left in January and started a firm that invests on a deal-by-deal basis, he confirmed for Buyouts.

Klemann formed GHK Capital Partners to target investments in the lower-middle market industrial sector. GHK targets businesses with about $10 million to $30 million of Ebitda.

GHK Capital plans to raise a traditional private equity fund in 18 to 24 months, Klemann said. For now, the firm chooses specific investments with capital from a select group of investors.

GHK Capital is nearing closing its first deal and is exploring several other opportunities, he said.

Klemann was at Goldman Sachs from 2001 to January, his LinkedIn profile shows. He worked in the merchant-banking division in industrials and recently invested West Street Capital Partners VII, which closed on $7 billion last year.

Klemann is joined at GHK by Kevin Collins. Collins was at Goldman Sachs from 2012 to 2015 in the special-situations group, where he led lower-middle-market PE investments, his LinkedIn profile said.

It’s not clear who GHK’s investors are. A majority of fundless sponsors who responded to a Citrin Cooperman survey published in October said they sourced capital from family offices.

Around 54 percent of respondents said they sourced capital from mezzanine funds that co-invest; 52 percent said they enlist high-net-worth individuals; and 35 percent said they sourced capital from PE funds. The survey tallied responses from 245 independent sponsors.

Investing as a fundless sponsor is a well-trodden path in PE for GPs who spin out and form their own firms.

Robert Smith, founder of Vista Equity Partners, left Goldman Sachs with $1 billion of capital from one backer to launch his firm.

And OpenGate Capital founder Andrew Nikou spent 10 years investing deal-by-deal after leaving Platinum Equity and launching the firm in 2005. He raised his first traditional private equity fund in 2016, closing on $305 million.

Action Item: Find out more about GHK here: https://www.ghkcapital.com/

Photo of Gilbert Klemann sourced from LinkedIn.