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Sumit Rajpal’s GrowthCurve targeting ‘north of’ $1bn for debut buyout fund

Rajpal, a 20-year Goldman Sachs veteran, set up GrowthCurve in December to make control investments in businesses in financial and information services, healthcare and tech sectors.

GrowthCurve Capital, unveiled this week by founder Sumit Rajpal, ex-global co-head of Goldman Sachs’ merchant banking division, is preparing to launch an inaugural offering, sources told Buyouts.

The New York private equity firm, which brings together a powerhouse group of investment and operating professionals, is expected to target “north of” $1 billion, sources said.

It is not clear if GrowthCurve has started marketing the fund. The firm declined to comment.

CEO Rajpal, a 20-year Goldman Sachs veteran, set up GrowthCurve in December to make control investments in businesses in financial and information services, healthcare and technology sectors. Preferred deals will have an enterprise value of $500 million to $1 billion.

A key aspect of the strategy, GrowthCurve said in a statement, will be “harnessing the power of technology and AI, enabled with human capital” to drive growth and value creation in portfolio companies.

GrowthCurve’s focus, sources said, will be mid-market businesses in North America that have yet to adopt or fully leverage recently emerged innovations. Many owner-operators know they need to digitally transform to increase competitiveness but lack an effective game plan. For them, a financial partner like GrowthCurve could make all the difference.

Of particular interest are companies sitting on extensive data sets, sources said. Making better use of this information and enhancing it will create growth opportunities, such as access to new markets.

GrowthCurve will work closely with CEOs and managers to improve business operations by implanting enabling technology and leveraging capabilities like artificial intelligence. The firm’s emphasis on human capital is essential to long-term digital transformation of organizational structures and processes.

Covid-19 is widely touted as having accelerated digitalization across sectors and regions. A 2020 McKinsey and Company survey found the health crisis to be “a tipping point of historic proportions” in tech adoption. GrowthCurve is expected to play to this trend.

Fully-fledged team

In this week’s statement, Rajpal said he will be joined in deploying GrowthCurve’s strategy by “some of the most talented people I have known and worked with during my career.”

The 20-person team includes Sanjay Swani, formerly a partner with Tailwind Capital, who will help direct the strategy and oversee tech investing. In addition, Vignesh Aier, an ex-managing director at New Mountain Capital, will lead healthcare investing, and Matthew Popper, an ex-managing director at Goldman Sachs, will lead financial and information services investing.

Rajpal also brought onboard four “functional” executives to head AI, data, analytics and machine learning, digital transformation and human capital. GrowthCurve’s operating talent, which is further reflected across the team, will not be limited to post-investment initiatives, sources said. It will instead be involved in all facets of investing, including deal sourcing.

Technology is shaping up as a major theme in North American PE fundraising this year, with 102 vehicles securing more than $65 billion in the first quarter alone, Buyouts’ data show.

Along with incumbent firms, 2021 fundraising will be steered by emerging managers like GrowthCurve. Other first-timers are BayPine, co-run by David Roux, a founder and former co-CEO and chairman of Silver Lake, and Maverix Private Equity, led by John Ruffolo, founder and ex-CEO of OMERS Ventures.

While at Goldman Sachs, Rajpal was also global co-head of corporate equity investing and co-CIO of flagship PE funds. Before, he was head of the merchant banking division’s global financial and information services investing and led the initial build-out of Marcus by Goldman Sachs, a digital consumer platform.