Weisel Launches Secondary Fund

Merchant bank Thomas Weisel Partners raised $115 million in a first close of its first exclusively secondary fund. The announcement came with its update for the first half of 2003.

The fund, Thomas Weisel Global Growth Partners II, is the firm’s first dedicated secondary fund. Thomas Weisel Global Growth Partners I, which closed in 2000 with $288 million, was a fund-of-funds.

The only limited partner to publicize its investment has been the Canadian Pension Plan, which announced a commitment of up to $125 million to the fund.

Secondary fund Co-Manager Christy Richardson says that over half of the fund’s LPs are new investors. She says that the fund will probably have its final close by the end of the year with a goal of under $200 million.

“We like a smaller fund size, given the types of opportunities that are more attractive today,” she says.

The fund is looking for deals anywhere between $2 million and $20 million in value. Richardson says that recent closings of giant secondary funds have created a need for firms focusing on medium and small-size deals.

“Many players have over $500 million of capital that they’re needing to put to work. Deals of this size just don’t make sense.”

The fund’s mandate is to focus on venture capital secondary purchases, both limited partner interests and direct portfolio interests. Thomas Weisel has five investment professionals dedicated to secondary deals and is based out of the firm’s Boston and San Francisco offices.

Email Matthew Sheahan