Need to Meet: Mina Pacheco Nazemi, founder and managing partner, Aldea

  • Founded separate-accounts firm focused on EMs
  • Spun out after 10 years with team at CS, GCM
  • Aims to connect first-time funds, fundless sponsors with capital

In 2003, when she was studying at Harvard Business SchoolMina Pacheco Nazemi attended a conference where she met the head of private equity at CalPERS, also a Harvard alum.

“I’m interested in what you’re doing around emerging managers,” she said. “Can I do some work to help you think it through?”

And with that she had a consulting project with the nation’s largest public-pension fund — “spending time with CalPERS and other LPs, and then interviewing a number of emerging managers at the time,” she recalled.

A Californian, she viewed it as “helping out my state, trying to be thoughtful in an area I was very passionate about. I didn’t know at that time that I would basically be making a career of it.”

While the category’s expansion is certainly welcome, “there are a lot of Johnny-come-latelies in the emerging-manager space,” Pacheco Nazemi said. “You learn every day how to be a better emerging-managers investor. That’s why I feel like we do what we do well.”

After almost a decade working with the customized fund investment team at Credit Suisse and GCM Grosvenor, Pacheco Nazemi spun out last year to create Aldea Capital Partners, a Los Angeles-based separate-accounts manager. She’s looking at direct deals, co-investing and “working with some truly emerging managers: fundless sponsors.”

Aldea is interested in “deals with a little more structure than a pure equity-type of approach,” and coming in higher in the capital structure, between debt and common stock, to de-risk investments.

“We’re very open-minded, making sure that we’re canvassing the market,” Pacheco Nazemi said. “We actually are in conversation with a couple teams who haven’t spun out yet, but we’ve been giving them guidance.”

Even if she doesn’t do business with a manager, she wants to help by “giving them some guidance, almost demystifying this black box of fundraising.”

One service Pacheco Nazemi wants to provide is connecting nascent firms with receptive institutional investors. “Most of these emerging managers have spent their careers refining their craft,” she explained. “They haven’t necessarily [been] building relationships with LPs, figuring out [which] pools of capital will back first-time funds.”

Among the managers she speaks with, the difficulty of attracting capital to first-time funds is “a consistent theme.”

“The spirit of [emerging-manager] programs has been to back true first-time funds, smaller managers,” Pacheco Nazemi said. These days, allocations are being consumed by somewhat later-stage firms, including a lot of Fund IIIs. “If there’s that flexibility in the program, that’s fine, but if you think about the spirit of it, the intention from the board members asking for it, there’s a disconnect in the market,” she said. “What we’re trying to do is really go back to our roots.”

Mina Pacheco Nazemi, founder and managing partner, Aldea Capital Partners. Photo courtesy of the firm.

Phone: +1 203-252-1945