Smaller Hit The Market –

It’s difficult to miss the mega-funds that are in the market. Funds with targets exceeding $5 billion rarely escape anyone’s radar. However, here are a few interesting funds in the market this year that may have slipped by unnoticed because they are a little smaller.

Sea Change Management went to market this year with its inaugural Sea Change Investment Fund, LLC. The San Francisco-based firm introduced the Sea Change Fund to provide capital designed to help stimulate growth to the North American sustainable seafood market.

“It’s a fund with a double bottom-line focus, which is to first provide a financial return for our investors and second to pursue a conservation-related initiative as well,” Sea Change Managing Principal Jason Winship says.

While keeping dolphins out of tuna is certainly appreciated by Sea Change, the fund will specifically focus on the middle portion of the supply chain, such as distribution and marketing.

The fund hit its $20 million target in the second quarter.

Caris Ltd. was formed by David Halbert, the former chairman and CEO of AdvancePCS, a health improvement company founded by Halbert in the late 1980s. He launched Caris to make strategic investments of between $10 million and $100 million in both private and public service industry-oriented companies (i.e., healthcare, energy, financial services). Ex-AdvancePCS execs Laurie Johansen and Leslie Simmons Brille joined Halbert at his new firm.

Caris is named after the Greek word for favor, and prior to the formation of the private equity firm, Halbert set up the Caris Foundation, a non-profit organization established to aid impoverished people.

Caris recently completed its first recapitalization, acquiring control of Pathology Partners through the $120 million recap.

Guggenheim Aviation Investment Fund LP, the aircraft investment fund run by Guggenheim Capital could have the narrowest niche in private equity. The fund is used exclusively to buy commercial aviation assets.

“We’ve really had some fundamental changes to our market, with the decline in air travel after Sept. 11, the rise of low-cost carriers and having just two manufacturers instead of three,” Guggenheim CEO Steven Rimmer told Buyouts last year. “The liquidity has been sucked out of the market, and Guggenheim thinks that this type of fund can offer good upside with low risk.”

If one were to look at the annals of aviation, the latest Guggenheim fund could probably be classified as a descendent of an earlier fund, the 1926-vintage Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics. The goals of that fund were related to the promotion of aeronautical education and research, the development of commercial aircraft and aircraft equipment and the application of aircraft to a variety of economic and social activities.