Ex-Marlin Equity execs hatch two emerging managers in 2019

Late last year, principals with deep roots at Marlin Equity Partners unveiled the debut funds of Crest Rock Partners and Teleo Capital.

Among the many interesting fundraising stories from last year was the launch of several first-time private equity shops by veterans of some of the market’s best-known brands.

Prominent examples include emerging managers founded by former principals of Marlin Equity Partners.

In September, Buyouts reported that two ex-Marlin executives, Jeff Carnes and Steve Johnson, formed Crest Rock Partners, a Denver Colorado-based investor in lower mid-market companies in software, tech, business services and industrial sectors. The firm in the summer registered its inaugural fund with the SEC.

Crest Rock Fund I is targeting about $400 million, two sources told Buyouts.

A few months later, another SEC filing heralded the launch of a second PE shop by four executives with roots at Marlin.

Teleo Capital, a Los Angeles-based investor in lower mid-market companies in software and tech, healthcare IT, business services and industrials, was set up in 2018. The filing published in November shows the firm is now on the fundraising trail with Teleo Capital I, looking to secure $200 million.

Teleo’s founding partners include George Kase, who previously worked for more than a decade as a Marlin partner. During his tenure, Kase sat on the investment committee of four Marlin funds and led more than 20 acquisitions, according to Teleo’s website.

The other founders include Andy Martinez, a Marlin principal before joining Foundation Equity Partners and Strategic Equity; and Robb Warwick, who headed Marlin operations for more than 12 years and sat on the investment committee of seven funds, Teleo’s site and LinkedIn information show.

In August, Teleo added a fourth founding partner: Matt Oehlmann. Oehlmann was a Marlin vice president before going to Evergreen Pacific Partners and Skyview Capital, according to Teleo’s site and LinkedIn.

Teleo aims to invest in companies with revenue of $10 million to $100 million, and deals that range from buy-and-builds and founder-owned situations to corporate carve-outs and recaps of broken balance sheets. It generally writes checks of $10 million to $25 million per platform, with an ability to invest up to $50 million.

Teleo has already closed two deals. In June, it acquired the onboard services and supply chain software business of E-Gatematrix. Renamed Paxia, the Sterling, Virginia-based company provides enterprise SaaS applications to help manage the inflight catering services supply chain of airline flights.

Earlier in 2019, Teleo acquired UMT360, a Bellevue, Washington-based provider of enterprise project portfolio management software and consulting services. The company’s private seller was not disclosed.

Teleo did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

Another private equity firm, AS Equity Partners, was formed two years ago by Andreas Schulte, previously a Marlin partner based in London.

Chris Witkowsky contributed to this report.

Action Item: Check out Teleo Capital’s fact sheet here.