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MKH, led by ex-Warburg Pincus and Bahía principals, launches debut fund

MKH, founded by Annette Rodriguez, a former Warburg Pincus managing director, and Miguel Heras, a former Inversiones Bahía managing director, is backed by the Motta and Kazma families.

Emerging manager MKH Capital Partners rolled out its inaugural mid-market buyout fund, initially capitalized by two family offices.

The Miami firm in July filed Form D fundraising documents for MKH Capital Partners Fund I. Managing partners Miguel Heras and Annette Rodriguez told Buyouts they are not at present seeking third-party commitments. As MKH gets started, the plan is to first draw on the resources of its strategic investors, the Motta and Kazma families.

The size of the initial pool was not disclosed.

Heras and Rodriguez had long careers in private equity before founding MKH earlier in 2020. Rodriguez was with Warburg Pincus for 11 years, most recently as a managing director in the global consumer and healthcare group. She left Warburg in 2019 to become a partner with Navab Capital Partners. Navab’s founder, Alex Navab, died the same year, and the fledgling firm broke up.

Heras was for more than two decades a managing director of Inversiones Bahía, a Central American investment group. Since 2015, he has also been a director of foreign trade bank Bladex, and since last year, its chairman.

Heras and Rodriguez set up MKH to make control, minority and carve-out investments in mostly US mid-market companies. Target opportunities, typically with EBITDA of $3 million to $30 million, will focus on the services side of the business, consumer, financial and healthcare sectors.

MKH will partner with the owner-operators of companies to support growth initiatives, including roll-ups in fragmented spaces. It expects to do deals valued at $20 million to $300 million and write checks ranging from $15 million to $100 million.

MKH will also invest in Latin America “opportunistically,” Heras said, including where businesses have the potential to expand into the US market. This “link between North America and Latin America,” he said, is important but not a main thesis of the strategy.

Family connection

A key differentiator of MKH is its blend of “the best features of an institutional fund and a family office,” Rodriguez said. This was achieved, she said, through the firm’s partnership with the Motta and Kazma families.

The Motta family is the investor behind Bahía, launched in the 1990s by Alberto Motta, a Panamanian entrepreneur active in the wholesale and retail sectors, and his sons. The Kazma family invests via Amzak Capital Management, established in 2006 by US cable businessman Gerry Kazma. Heras, who is well known to both families, introduced them last year to Rodriguez.

Stanley Motta and Michael Kazma are MKH partners and sit on the investment committee. Heras and Rodriguez handle day-to-day operations.

The combination of PE experience and family backing is resonating with US mid-market companies, Rodriguez said. Family-owned businesses “feel we understand them,” she said, and appreciate MKH’s ability to invest flexibly in regard to control structures and time horizon.

MKH recently made its first investment. In July it announced the formation of Clean Streak Ventures, an Orlando, Florida, express car wash platform that is looking to expand across the US, organically and through acquisitions. Clean Streak today operates 17 car wash locations in Florida.

Clean Streak is representative of the type of multi-unit companies Heras and Rodriquez backed in their prior roles at Bahía and Warburg. It is an “attractive consolidation opportunity,” he said, with “multiple levers to achieve growth.”

Other members of MKH’s team came from Amzak’s and Bahía’s PE groups. They include director Andres Bethencourt and vice presidents Christopher Woodburn and Enrique Saez.

Action item: Read MKH Capital Partners’ overview brochure here.