Seaside, run by former Wafra, Encore Consumer execs, targets $125m for Fund I

Seaside was founded in 2017 by Andrew Thompson, previously a managing director and partner in Wafra's direct equity group, where he focused on lower mid-market buyouts.

In a rocky fundraising market for emerging managers, Seaside Equity Partners rolled out an inaugural offering earmarked for lower mid-market investments in the Western US.

The Solana Beach, California, private equity firm earlier this month filed Form D fundraising documents for Seaside Equity Partners I and a parallel pool. The vehicles are together seeking $125 million. No commitments were secured as of the date of the filing.

Shannon Advisors is the placement agent, the Form Ds show.

Seaside was founded in 2017 by managing director Andrew Thompson, according to the firm’s website. Thompson was previously a managing director and partner in the direct equity group of Wafra, where for over 11 years he focused on lower mid-market buyouts. In 2014, he set up Wafra’s West Coast office.

Thompson was last year joined at Seaside by managing director Bill Shen, formerly a managing director with Encore Consumer Capital. Shen, who worked at Encore for 11 years, began his career in the 1990s doing strategic consulting at Swander Pace & Company, the predecessor to Accenture’s Kurt Salmon.

Seaside’s strategy is to be an operationally focused investor in lower mid-market companies based in the Western and Southwestern US, the firm’s website shows. Target opportunities generally have revenue of more than $10 million and enterprise values of up to $100 million.

Seaside partners with the family owners or founders of growth-oriented companies that provide essential business services. Sectors of interest include commercial and industrial services, technology and education services, professional and human capital services, and specialty processing and distribution.

PE firms with first- and second-time offerings are encountering more fundraising challenges due to the covid-19 pandemic. Emerging managers led by general partners spun out of large, brand-name firms appear to be faring better, Buyouts reported in June.

Seaside appears to have got started as a deal-by-deal investor. Its portfolio holds four platform companies, according to the firm’s website. Recent additions include emotional-intelligence training provider TalentSmart of San Diego, acquired in early 2020. LBC Credit Partners supplied the deal’s credit facilities and co-invested.

Other members of Seaside’s investment team are vice president Navid Shirazi and associate Jesse Kay. Shirazi came onboard in 2018 from Golden Gate Capital, while Kay joined in December from Shea & Company, their LinkedIn profiles show.

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

Action item: Learn more about Seaside Equity Partners here.