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A New Type of Private Equity Firm?

Summit Partners veteran Thomas S. Roberts is well-known in the traditional private equity market. Now, he’s seeking to disrupt that market with a private equity startup that takes a significantly different approach to investments.

His newly launched firm, Equality Asset Management, focuses on making long-term investments in durable technology, healthcare, and tech-enabled growth companies.

Equality Asset Management Founder Thomas S. Roberts

Among the twists: Equality plans to implement a fee structure that reflects the current return environment and more closely aligns General Partner and Limited Partner interests, though the company didn’t disclose deeper details about the approach.

The company plans to provide $100 million to $300 million of capital per company for growth equity and buyout transactions, with leverage levels tailored to each situation.

Roberts, in a prepared statement, described multiple market shifts that shaped Equality Asset Management’s launch:

“Private equity has enjoyed incredible returns over time, but we believe the industry has reached an inflection point. Going forward, long-term outperformance will be driven by an investment strategy comprised of higher concentration, longer holds, and lower fees. We are establishing Equality as a next-generation firm specifically structured to address these fundamental industry shifts.”

It’s certainly a timely statement. In the traditional investment market, low-cost trading and wealth management systems like WealthFront and Betterment have disrupted entrenched, higher-fee firms and online trading systems.

And in the PE sector, investors are scrambling to put money to work — often with shorter-than-desired runways that put the investments and investors at risk.

We’ll be watching to see if Equality Asset Management’s approach provides a different type of growth path for technology companies.

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