Keystone Financial Partners is born

Keystone Financial Partners has launched and is looking to raise a e85 million to e100 million fund with the help of independent advisory and placement boutique Brask & Company.

Robert Pierce and Philippe Guglielmetti are behind Keystone Financial Partners, which aims to invest in later stage technology companies that have already had venture capital investment. Keystone Financial Partners is positioning itself as a secondary fund since it aims to buy existing venture capital investors out of investments that they would be otherwise unable to exit or that require additional funding that the incumbent investor is unable or unwilling to provide. The traditional secondary investor market involves taking limited partner positions in funds of general partners and therefore each investment involves a portfolio rather than single company purchase.

The proposition, according to Pierce, is attracting a lot of interest and follow on commitments look strong although their stipulation that a cornerstone investor be in place is likely to mean the fund doesn’t see a first closing until Q4 2002. Pierce is hopeful that interest in cornerstone investing from the French LP market can be cemented.

Pierce, like former colleague Lars-Christian Brask (founder of Brask & Company in 1999), is ex-Robertson Stephens, the specialist technology investment bank that was put up for sale in April this year by its parent FleetBoston. It was while at Robertson Stephens, responsible for software and technology services in Europe, that Pierce met co-founder of Keystone Financial Partners, Philippe Guglielmetti. Their relationship culminated in Pierce assisting Guglielmetti in selling his company Integra, the Paris-based developer of Internet software to Genuity for $85 million in June 2001. Shortly after the idea for Keystone Financial Partners was born, Pierce left Robertson Stephens in December 2001 with the aim of pursuing the venture on completion of gardening leave in April this year.

Keystone Financial Partners will have Pierce and Guglielmetti as partners plus another unnamed partner and two directors, once the first close of the fund is announced. Pierce says of the investment strategy that it will focus on later stage growth companies with e15 million to e30 million in revenues and the companies will have clear paths to profitability within a three to nine month time frame. The fund will also invest new monies as well as taking over existing positions and aims to exit investments within an 18 month to three year time period.