Hartford Shop Seeks $250M For Mezz, Equity

Firm: Smith Whiley & Co.

Fund: SW Pelham IV

Target: $250 Million

Smith Whiley & Co., a lower mid-market mezzanine and equity investor created by two women in partnership with Aetna Inc., is raising its fourth fund, according to a source who has reviewed marketing materials for the effort.

The firm is seeking $250 million for the fund, SW Pelham IV, which is more than double the $100 million it raised for its previous two funds. The firm does not have a placement agent.

Smith Whiley typically provides $3 million to $15 million of mezzanine or equity capital in profitable companies with enterprise values of $25 million to $250 million. Sectors of interest include food and beverage, business services, industrial products and services, consumer products and services, health care products and services, and communications and media technology.

The firm’s most recent deals reportedly include providing subordinate debt and equity in support of RFE Investment Partners and Charter Oak Equity‘s buyout of ShelterLogic LLC, a maker of tents and other outdoor shelters.

The firm’s portfolio also includes Connors Bros. LP, a San Diego-based producer of seafood and poultry sold under brands including Bumble Bee and Clover Leaf; Northeastern Arkansas Telephone & Transport LLC, a Chicago-based provider of cellular phone service for customers in northeastern Arkansas; and VanDeMark Inc., a Lockport, N.Y.-based manufacturer of specialty chemicals.

Gwendolyn Smith Iloani, a former managing director in Aetna’s investment department, and Colette Nakhoul, a former investment officer with Aetna, founded Smith Whiley in 1994 with support from the insurer. At the time, it was reported that Smith Whiley was among the first minority-owned private investment firms. Today Smith Whiley has about 11 investment professionals, many of whom are women and/or minorities.

Iloani did not return a call seeking comment.