Introducing Moxie Capital

Starting a consumer-focused buyout firm in this economy takes some real guts. One might even say it takes “moxie.”

That would seem to be the thought process behind Moxie Capital, a new buyout firm formed by Bodil Arlander, a founding partner of Bear Stearns Merchant Banking, and former Cowen & Co. Managing Director Lauren Cooks Levitan.

The San Francisco-based outfit got its start in January of this year. Though no formal fundraising effort has been launched to date, the firm has already scoped out a couple of opportunities, passing on one because it was too small, a source familiar with the situation has told Buyouts.

Arlander declined to comment for this story due to the firm’s early stage of development. Moxie Capital has yet to file a Form-D with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

While at Bear Stearns Merchant Banking, Arlander led the firm through successful investments in consumer products companies such as New York & Co., a women’s apparel retailer which the firm made 12x its money on. The firm’s retail arm also made 80x its money on an investment in teen apparel chain Aeropostale.

Arlander left Bear Stearns Merchant Banking around a year ago, after parent company Bear Stearns collapsed, but before the firm’s private equity arm struck out on its own under the name Irving Place Capital. Also making an exit during the Bear Stearns shake-up was Chief Operating Officer Gwyneth Ketterer, who left the firm to teach at Columbia University’s Business School, according to published reports.