What does the Private Equity environment of Dallas look like?

I am working in Dallas in asset management this summer, but I'm curious what the private equity scene of the city looks like. What are the largest firms in the city? What are the reputations of different firms, their work environments, etc.? 

I'm not from Dallas and want to learn what firms are the most active in Dallas. I know it's a pretty broad question with little specifics, but I don't know enough about private equity to ask specifics. I appreciate the help!

Comments (25)

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  • Principal in PE - LBOs
May 23, 2021 - 8:15pm

Trive is the highest profile name in Dallas these days. ~$2Bn AUM now and apparently raising another big ($1Bn+) fund right now. Still pretty new but have raised and deployed capital very quickly. Have an aggressive reputation (will look at assets other firms won't touch, get creative with structures) and are very active operationally (there's a lot of Bain DNA with the firm). Have heard iffy things about culture and comp, but it's a solid name and probably the best place to be in Dallas. 

Other firms of note:

Gauge - Like Trive they're growing very quickly, raising bigger funds, and deploying a ton of capital. Their strategy is quite different though, as they often go after higher quality deals in auction processes. Have heard that they grind and the Southlake location is a drag. 

Kainos - HM spinout, focus on food / consumer, have done some very large / high profile deals with LP coinvest, went through a bit of a fiasco with a partner leaving which put their third fund on hold (was slated to be $1Bn+)

Centeroak - Brazos spinout. I always thought they were a bit sleepy but just raised a decent sized fund and are apparently looking to be active. Have heard mixed things about culture

Insight - Slowly dying. Trive, Prophet, Sky Island (among others) have spun out and there's not a lot left. Have heard they're trying to raise a new fund, so they could gain momentum. Culture seems friendly if a bit weird. Also in Southlake, which sucks if you're younger than 40. 

Other which I know less about: Sky Island (Insight spinout), Prophet (Insight spinout), Crossplane (Prophet spinout), Satori (conscious capitalism inspired investing, ahve a weird/cool evergreen fund structure), Arctos (cool sports deals), Redbird (cool media and sports deals), CIC, Riverside (extremely sweaty), Align (Riverside spinout), Lone Star Funds / Hudson Advisors (very sketchy), Paceline (Lone Star spinout, also quite sketch), Highland (I think they were trying to do more traditional PE deals but no idea how that's going), Lantern (bought Harvey Weinstein's company), SunTX (don't know if they still exist), Renovo, and a whole bunch of family offices (Rosewood, Hunt, Perot, Bass, etc. etc.) and semi-defunct energy funds (NGP, Pearl, Tailwater, etc.). Beyond that there's a pretty healthy direct lending universe if that's something you might be interested in.  

  • Incoming Analyst in AM - Other
May 24, 2021 - 12:47pm

Wow, I was not expecting this much detail. This really helped, thank you!

  • Prospect in IB - Cov
May 26, 2021 - 12:07am

I'm quite familiar with Trive so happy to provide insight where I can. Definitely a very hands-on fund that is growing at a pretty rapid pace. I don't really see that trend slowing down anytime soon given the ridiculous success of their latest fund ... lots of VC-like return profiles out of only a handful of investments. On the culture side, they enforce a pretty rigid 3-and-out system for associates which I've heard can lead to some culture issues

Aug 10, 2021 - 11:38pm
SunTzu, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Have had multiple friends work there. There are "haves" and "have nots" at Lone Star. Sad thing is that they pretty much turn everyone over in either bucket eventually. They completely turned over their Dallas office a few years ago. Just started RIF'ing people left and right. They have a reputation of doing this periodically. I think the comp was solid for Dallas though.

Life is more than dollars
  • 1
Aug 10, 2021 - 11:49pm
SunTzu, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Capital Southwest is a BDC up in North Dallas. Crestline is a large shop out of Fort Worth. Sixth St partners has an office here. Ares supposedly has an office here but think it's a ghost location. First Eagle/ THL has an office here, but have never run into them either.

Prospect capital bdc has some small operations up in Plano

There is also an Elm Park fund but don't know anything about it other than it's LMM.

Also, hilltop holdings started a small credit strategy off their balance sheet last year.

Not a lot of detail about this at least gives you some firms.

Life is more than dollars
  • 2
  • Intern in IB - Cov
May 27, 2021 - 6:27pm

Curious about this as well! Also, what are the profiles of people going to these shops?

May 27, 2021 - 3:58pm
Reaganomics10, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Luther King, Highlander, Trinity Hunt, and Riata are notable firms left out of this. I believe all have done well from a returns perspective. My advice would be to avoid Southlake like the plague.

Aug 11, 2021 - 12:07am
DTDTX, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Southlake is great… if you're looking to buy a 5k sf house and settle down. The commute will be tough if you live in the city, and like many suburbs it really only makes sense if you have kids

Aug 10, 2021 - 11:41pm
SunTzu, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As someone who has been in Dallas for 10+ years, this is a great response. Although keep in mind the comp at these shops is NOT NY/SF comp. However, it will still get you a long ways in Texas (until the literal plague of coastals ruins it)

Life is more than dollars
Sep 13, 2021 - 8:16pm
chuzzito, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Which HHs work with these firms? Any specific search firm I should reach out to?

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Sep 27, 2021 - 2:05pm

Dynamics Search Partners (DSP) works with a lot of Dallas funds (Trive, Kainos for sure but definitely others too)

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
May 25, 2021 - 3:58pm

How is there not an "equities in Dallas" joke yet?

May 27, 2021 - 7:01pm
DTDTX, what's your opinion? Comment below:

They had a good reputation a while back, but it hasn't done as well recently, which I think has manifested in fundraising. Also lol at Parkland Hospital... very different from Old Parkland

  • VP in IB-M&A
May 27, 2021 - 7:35pm

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  • Intern in HF - EquityHedge
Sep 13, 2021 - 9:07pm

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