RLH Equity spinout Interlock targets $250m for debut private equity fund

Interlock was founded in January by managing directors Rob Zielinski, Mike Orend and Stefan Jensen, all veterans of RLH.

Interlock Equity, launched by former executives with RLH Equity Partners, unveiled an inaugural fund to invest in knowledge-based lower mid-market opportunities.

The Los Angeles emerging manager this month filed Form D fundraising documents for Interlock Fund I and a parallel vehicle, indicating a $250 million target. Acalyx Advisors is the placement agent.

Interlock was founded in January by managing directors Rob Zielinski, Mike Orend and Stefan Jensen, all veterans of RLH (Riordan, Lewis & Haden), according to their LinkedIn profiles.

Zielinski was with RLH for more than 16 years, departing in 2020 as a general partner and managing director. While active in several sectors, his main emphasis was healthcare investing, taking the lead on RLH deals like Avella Specialty Pharmacy, Chartis Group and Clearview Healthcare Partners.

Before joining the firm in 2004, Zielinski was an investment professional with Lake Capital and Trivest Partners.

Orend worked at RLH for nine years, most recently as a managing director, business development. Before then, he was a director with Lake Capital. At Interlock, he will lead deal origination, the firm’s website said.

Jensen was a principal at RLH, where for more than five years he assessed opportunities across its three sectors of interest. He was previously a senior associate with Industrial Growth Partners.

Zielinski, Orend and Jensen set up Interlock to invest in North American lower mid-market companies focused on the knowledge economy. Its target sectors are digital and tech-enabled services, strategy and management consulting, healthcare and life sciences services, professional staffing and marketing services.

Interlock will partner with families, founders and other owner-operators of B2B services providers with recurring or repeat revenue of $15 million to $150 million. Businesses will have solid expansion prospects, with revenue growth exceeding 10 percent at the time of an investment.

Interlock, which also has an office in Chicago, presently has a team of 14, including operating partners. Other team members are senior associate Sandra Yamada and associates JR Jackson and Sahil Raj.

After the challenges of last year’s virus-roiled market, the emerging manager space is poised to eclipse pre-pandemic levels of new firm creation over 2021-2022, Gen II Fund Services reported in September.

Gen II, which partnered in Buyouts Emerging Manager Survey 2021, said it found more first-time opportunities this year than at any time since it began tracking the segment. These opportunities include a record number of debut funds seeking more than $1 billion.

Interlock did not respond to a request for comment on this story.