Dallas PE funds (2020 updates)?

Just wanted to see if anyone had any updates on the Dallas PE scene since the old threads are pretty dated and a bunch of new funds have popped up. Specifically interested in seeing what people think about Kainos, Trive, Insight, Paceline, Align, Sky Island and any others. Thanks!

Comments (11)

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
May 28, 2020 - 12:27am

Curious about Insight. They failed to reach their fundraising goal a few years back

  • Associate 1 in PE - Other
May 28, 2020 - 9:07am

Kainos - decent if you really want to do food and beverage, but the internal lawsuit last year wasn't a good look. Still unclear how it impacts the fund going forward

Trive - really solid shop, think pretty highly of them. The second fund didn't do as well, but they last raised a new fund at $1bn+ and generally have a good reputation. They do a lot of debt deals though, so it's great if you want a flexible mandate but otherwise might not be the place for you.

Insight - I think really highly of the people I've met who came from there, but the recent returns haven't been great (hence closing the last fund below target). This place seems to breed new fund managers, with several other Dallas shops spinning out of here (Trive started with 4 Insight guys, and Sky Island took 5 including the CIO). Hard to really say what that means; tons of smart people come through there, but they seem to move elsewhere.

Sky Island - They don't have a committed fund today, but they've done a deal or two via independent sponsor model and have hired several new people on, which leads me to believe they may be looking to start fundraising soon (if they haven't started already)

Don't know a ton about Paceline or Align, but can try to provide color on any others if you're interested

Most Helpful
May 28, 2020 - 5:25pm

Align is a solid LMM group (ex-Riverside) Not sure how the exact split works between Dallas and Cleveland, but 2 out of the 3 MPs are in CLE, so my sense is that will remain the HQ for some time. Focused on business services, software or tech-enabled services, distribution, HC services and IT. Just closed on $450mm raise. Very good people, personality-wise.

Latticework just raised a fund (ex ACAS and KRG HC guys) focused almost exclusively on HC services (including vet/pet).

Prophet Equity and a spin out from it, Crossplane, are operationally-focused funds, similar to Trive. Generally liked interactions with those groups so far.

Gauge - aggressive group that actively competes in competitive auctions. Historically a generalist, but trying to go more vertical (business services, HC, software, consumer, etc.). Interactions with them have been mixed, depending on the person. Strong processes and good reputation.

CenterOak - former Brazos guys, highly professional and impressive IMO. Actively compete in auctions and really focus on a buy and build strategy.

Valesco Industries - was a reputable mezz shop. Haven't heard or seen much from them lately.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
May 28, 2020 - 9:24pm

Any insight into Lantern Asset Management? Looks like an interesting shop that did the Weinstein Co. deal and recently did something with Lucky Brand jeans.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jan 11, 2021 - 5:53pm

Are you familiar with Riverside's PE geo distribution? Are most of their PE operations run out of Cleveland or does it split evenly between Cleveland and Dallas?

  • Associate 2 in PE - Other
Jan 11, 2021 - 12:46pm

Any updates on Trive? How have their first and second funds performed?

Do they have a pretty good culture / work life balance (when not working on a live deal, minimal late nights and weekend work)?

For a $1bn fund, they appeared to have hired Associates and VPs from a wide range of backgrounds and don't seem particularly focused on pedigree. Also seems like a lot of their Partners joined at inception and got promoted super fast (becoming Partner by mid 30s) so how is the upward mobility? 

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Jan 11, 2021 - 5:51pm

This was about a year ago, but I heard off-hand they have had some trouble investing their latest fund. It's been a pretty big jump up market, so not totally surprising ($300 -> $500 -> $1bn). Could be completely wrong so idk.

Pretty bro culture from the people I've met.

I'm not sure where you get that comment that they don't care where they hire from. All the VPs / associates came from IB or PE.

  • Associate 2 in PE - Other
Jan 11, 2021 - 6:52pm

That's helpful color, thanks! From reading this forum, it sounds like the returns of their second fund haven't been great and they've struggled to invest their latest fund. At the same time people speak really highly of the firm. Is that because their first fund just killed it? Is it because they have good culture / lighter hours compared to other Dallas funds?

Based on their performance, do you think there's a risk their fourth fund is below $1bn?

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