Willowridge Corrals $135M –

While large players raising multibillion-dollar funds may dominate the secondary market, there are plenty of smaller players with several funds under their belt happy to stay below the radar. New York-based Willowridge Inc. is one such example. The secondary firm closed its fourth fund, Amberbrook IV, with $135 million.

The fund had a target of $125 million and held a first close in March and a final close in late June. President Jerry Newman says that the fundraising took a little bit longer than the last time Willowridge was raising money, but not by much. Willowridge raised its last fund, Amberbrook III, in 2000 with $75 million.

Limited partners in the new fund are comprised largely of previous investors with some new LPs coming aboard. Willowridge takes no pension money, which makes it rare among veteran secondary firms. Newman explains that taking pension money could expose the firm to the dangers of running afoul of ERISA regulations. Willowridge’s LPs consist of endowments, foundations and individual investors.

Newman also pointed out that some of the new investors also have exposure to the fund-of-funds market. Funds-of-funds are calling down capital at a slow rate, and many of Willowridge’s first-time investors realized they could put money to work faster and get distributions sooner through the secondary market. Because the fund broke the $100 million mark, he says that the firm reduced its management and carry fees. This fund also has a longer investment period than previous funds, at five years. Amberbrook III had a four-year investment period.

Willowridge had already made several purchases with its new fund. The firm bought some remaining assets from a large financial institution that sold most of its private equity assets in an auction, it purchased some PE assets from a European institution that had acquired them as part of a larger transaction and also purchased investments from individual investors.

“Initially, in our last fund we had a little more venture, and we realized venture wasn’t going to be a kind place,” said Newman, who added that the firm’s fourth fund will maintain an even mix between buyout and venture assets.

Willowridge was founded in 1995 and has purchased positions in more than 170 funds. The firm has three investment professionals and is looking to add a principal. It mostly focuses on deals in the U.S.