Five Questions with Kirk Kazazian of family office Nima Capital

  • Why this is important: Nurturing a long relationship can lead to great investments
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Nima Capital is a second-generation family office created by Suna Said.

Suna’s father, Fouad Said, made his fortune in Hollywood and won an Oscar in 1970 for his contributions to the industry. He invented Cinemobile, a self-contained vehicle that held all the sound, grip and electrical equipment required to shoot a movie or television show.

After selling his business, he began investing heavily in emerging markets, hedge funds and private equity, and growing his family office, Unifund, into a multibillion-dollar investment fund.

In 2013, Suna left her role as a portfolio manager at Unifund to start Nima Capital.

Nima’s investment portfolio is led by CIO Kirk Kazazian, who also manages Kazazian Capital, a hedge fund focused on a traditional long/short strategy with some alternative investments.

Jason Eiswerth, managing director, leads Nima’s private investing efforts, which include both fund and direct investments.

Buyouts spoke with Kazazian:

What does Nima Capital’s portfolio look like?

Reflecting the Said family philosophy of backing the best entrepreneurs and businesses across the investment spectrum, Nima Capital invests across a broad array of asset classes, geographies, industries and investment stages.

Roughly 10 to 15 percent of Nima’s funds are set aside for projects about which Suna is very passionate. This is led by blockchain-related investments, as well as companies founded and led by female entrepreneurs. Suna invests across all areas of blockchain technology, including digital currencies, ICOs, funds and direct venture deals. She also serves on various advisory boards.

The balance of Nima’s capital is split between an internal hedge fund that invests in liquid instruments, hedge funds, small to midsized emerging private equity managers, and direct growth-equity investments.

For us, technology and fintech are key investment areas. We also like mid-market healthcare opportunities.

What kind of companies do you target? 

Nima identifies opportunities where a business has previously taken little to no outside capital and seeks to partner with them early in their life cycle in hopes that we can provide both a source of ongoing capital and value-add business resources to ensure successful growth.

Most of Nima’s investments are the result of a long association that we have with the entrepreneur, whose career trajectory we have tracked for years sometimes.

What are some recent investments you have made?

We have made five direct investments in the last 18 months.

Moose Hill, a long/short equity fund focused on pharma and biotech investments, was jointly seeded by Nima and Kazazian [Capital].

Moose Hill’s founder is a neuroscience PhD and MBA who, in addition to having an amazing backstory, was a former Kazazian Capital healthcare analyst and worked at several leading biotech funds. Moose Hill is up over 100 percent net of fees since its inception in March 2016 and is fortunate to have the investment backing of several prolific and longstanding biotech investors.

Another major investment is in an Australian small-cap manager with whom we have had a working relationship for the past five years. The manager has recently raised a $100 million draw-down fund, of which Nima and Kazazian have committed two-thirds of the capital.

The remaining direct investments are in a regional consumer-facing brand which we plan to take national; a fintech lending company and a blockchain incubator.

Do you invest in private equity or venture capital funds?

Yes, and we also co-invest with family offices, as well as funds.

We pay a lot of attention to emerging managers, especially ones that spin out from larger organizations, both private equity and hedge funds.

We love to partner with entrepreneurs that are on the forefront of disruptions and demonstrate new and innovative ways of doing things.

We tend to avoid investing in things we don’t understand and we look to partner with people who are passionate about what they are doing.

What makes you an investment partner of choice?

We give wide latitude to the investor/entrepreneur and do not micromanage following investment. We like to be value-add investors, and we believe in building an ecosystem from which our portfolio companies and funds can draw for help growing the business and raising additional capital.

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