Grafine Partners, led by former Riverstone Holdings executive Elizabeth Weymouth, rolled out the first fund of a strategy aimed at shaking up the traditional private equity model.
The New York alternative asset manager this week filed a Form D fundraising document for Grafine Capital I, indicating a target of $500 million. No placement agent was identified.
Weymouth, a Riverstone partner for 10 years, founded Grafine in 2019. For it, she provided the blueprint of a highly innovative strategy with two essential goals.
The first goal is to invest in general partner teams and help them develop and scale over time. The second is to expedite direct investments by limited partners, above all those lacking the capacity and resources to do this on their own.
Grafine will function something like a multi-faceted GP stakes fund. It will take a flexible approach to making principal investments in firms across the private-market landscape, including by acquiring minority interests. It will also operate as a merchant bank, making customized one-off investments.
Grafine is especially interested in emerging managers featuring investment professionals spun out of big, brand-name PE shops. First timers are attractive, Weymouth said in several recent interviews, because they are led by seasoned dealmakers with an entrepreneurial mindset and who want to be free of the inhibitions of a large organization.
To date, Grafine has scoped out more than 140 GP opportunities, Weymouth told Private Equity International last month, nearly half of them spinouts.
To capitalize opportunities, Grafine will sign up LPs looking to invest directly in companies and sectors alongside veteran investors, instead of through traditional, fee-based fund structures. Grafine’s platform is designed to create a strategic relationship between GPs and LPs, giving the latter greater access to top-tier returns as well as more options and control over deals.
In the process, Grafine could help reduce the amount of time spent by GPs on the fundraising trail. This would be of particular value to emerging managers, who often encounter challenges getting the attention of LPs and securing their capital.
Fund I appears to be Grafine’s vehicle for bringing on a number of initial LPs. No commitments have been raised as yet, according to the Form D document.
Managing partner Weymouth assembled considerable talent to deploy Grafine’s strategy. The team includes partner Luis Enriquez, an ex-senior partner with McKinsey & Company, and operating partner Nicole Musicco, a current partner at RedBird Capital Partners.
In addition, Grafine has three managing directors. They are Julie Fisher, previously an investor relations executive with Providence Equity Partners; Kathy Park, ex-head of US fund and private capital at Goldman Sachs; and Allen Waldrop, a former partner with Mercers Investments.
Curtis Glovier, a one-time Fortress Investment Group managing director, is senior investment advisor.
Grafine declined to provide a comment on this story.