Off-duty: Investcorp’s Anthony Maniscalco on baseball, The Boss and ‘sticktoitiveness’

Maniscalco shares with us his exercise routine, his fantasy job as general manager of the Chicago White Sox, and a good piece of advice from Rocky Balboa.

Anthony Maniscalco, Investcorp's Strategic Capital Group

Buyouts’ Off-duty provides a snapshot of top investors, including a few details about what they do when not chasing deals.

Anthony Maniscalco, managing partner and head of Investcorp’s Strategic Capital Group, early on won his spurs as an investor in the fast-paced GP stakes market.

He got his first crack at GP staking in 2007 at Lehman Brothers. Deciding he liked that “chemistry and relationships mattered in securing mandates,” Maniscalco told Buyouts, he stayed with it, becoming a founding member of what today is known as Blackstone GP Stakes. He next went to Credit Suisse to co-head Anteil Capital Partners.

Maniscalco joined Investcorp in 2018 to launch its GP stakes platform with a focus on underserved mid-cap opportunities. Closing an inaugural fund earlier this year, his team has made long-dated minority investments in nine private equity, private debt, real estate and infrastructure firms.

Outside of work, Maniscalco is an adviser to Domus Kids, a community non-profit that serves the educational needs of more than 1,000 children and teens who have been left behind by other schools. He is married with four sons and daughters.

Where is your hometown?                                                                                      

I was born and lived in Chicago-proper for five years before moving to Palatine, a northwest suburb of Chicago.

If you weren’t in PE, what job would you like to have?

General manager of the Chicago White Sox. I grew up with and am still a big fan of the Sox. I love the strategy and tactics of building and managing a baseball team, combined with the pressure and challenge of winning.

How do you relax when you’re not working?

I need to exercise an hour at least every day, preferably early to clear my head. I like running on the treadmill, weights, hitting the punching bag and golfing whether competitively or hitting nine holes with my sons. I also love watching movies at the theater, particularly with my daughters, and traveling with my wife and our close group of friends.

What book are you reading right now?

I recently read Renegades, a book by Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen capturing their dialogue from the podcast series they published. I loved reading their origin stories. Politics aside, both built themselves up by their bootstraps. Unique and really impressive stories.

What is your favorite song, album, performer or music genre?

Bruce Springsteen, particularly the song “Jungleland” and the album The Rising. I also like Rap and Hip Hop, which I work out to. I love old school music like Eminem and Jay Z too.

I first saw Springsteen at Soldier Field in Chicago in 1985 and it was transformational. I was hooked. Number one on my bucket list is meeting The Boss. I have seen him dozens of times in concert, including his tour, “Springsteen on Broadway.” Meeting him has proven elusive. His passion and energy are unmatched.

What is your favorite meal, recipe, cocktail or bottle of wine?

Cioppino (Italian Fish stew) and my mother’s homemade meatballs. Also, cocktails, Margarita no salt, or a bottle of wine, Rombauer Chardonnay.

What is your favorite place for a vacation, sanctuary or a place to explore? 

For vacation, Sicily. I have been multiple times with my wife, my parents and brother’s family, including visiting all my grandparents’ hometowns. For a place to explore, London. I lived there for two years in the early 2000s and there are so many nooks and crannies to explore.

Who in your career do you regard as a mentor?

It’s a tie between Steve Lessing Sr, vice chairman of Barclays, Larry Wiesenieck, co-president of Cowen Group, and ex-Florida governor Jeb Bush, who serves on the advisory board of Investcorp Strategic Capital Group. They have all consistently and continue to give me advice and have been there during my ups and downs.

Professionally, what was your toughest moment?

I spent two years at Credit Suisse (2016-2017) looking to build a GP staking business. I left there from Blackstone, where I had successfully been part of a team that raised $3.3 billion for a first-time GP staking fund. While there and fundraising, I traveled over 400,000 miles together with my partner John Powers before we parted ways in early 2018.

I built scar tissue from that experience and it was the first time in my career where I had to take a step back, not forward. It made me stronger and increased my conviction to succeed.

What was your most rewarding moment?

After my time at Credit Suisse, David Lee and Dhanraj Chandiramani, core members of the team, repotted at Investcorp in 2018. We were able to raise more than $800 million for a first-time GP staking fund in the midst of the pandemic with their support (we held our first close in April 2020 and our final close in April 2022).

We had support from some great investors across the world, including an investment from a very sophisticated US public pension plan in our first close.

What PE buzz words or jargon do you hate most?

“Unique” – if you can’t explain what differentiates your firm, process or team, this becomes a filler word that is commonly overused.

What advice would you give a young person interested in a PE career?

My son, a 20-year-old sophomore in college, is a good example. He’s interested in finance and private equity in particular. My advice to him is to become an expert in your field. Study it exhaustively. Work harder than anyone else. Be the last to leave the office. Being liked is very important, but equally important is to always be inquisitive and critical/skeptical. Lastly, your career will not be linear, and you will face some challenging times.

I love the quote from Rocky Balboa: “It’s not about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”

What word or phrase best describes you?

Grit, loyalty and “sticktoitiveness.”

My mother and father always taught me the importance of building and maintaining relationships, remembering where you came from, treating people with respect, remaining loyal, and the importance of hard work. I am the first generation in my extended family to go to college and the first in my family to go to graduate school. My father had to work incredibly hard to send my brother and me to school. He did not take out any loans.

My first boss at Continental Bank said my best quality was “sticktoitiveness.” I took criticism, learned and got better. Though I started off rough around the edges, that feedback has stuck with me throughout my career.

(This story was updated to clarify the amount raised by Investcorp Strategic Capital Partners.)