US Late Night Host Launches a Private Equity Fund


July 10, 2015


The private equity industry is on the rise, with plenty of new funds popping up around the world. Most often, the new funds are set up by people from the financial industry, often with a background in private equity. But could a late-night host be the new star of the industry?


The Partnership


The private equity fund is called TitleCard Capital and it hopes to invest in companies across different industries. The fund’s website says it is seeking to find companies with dynamic growth opportunities, especially in the sectors of technology, consumer products and services, specialty finance, health and wellness, media and entertainment, and finally hospitality.


The private equity firm has some well-known people behind it as well. The firm has the backing of comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who is one of America’s most famous talk show hosts. Furthermore, the NHL goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist, from the New York Rangers, and the former NBA player Kenny “the Jet” Smith are teaming up with Kimmel in this venture.


The trio might not sound like the most known for their investment talent and the fund is actually run by the management team of Impact Opportunities Fund (IOP). The Denver and Colorado based fund is well known to the sector. It has previously been involved in 10 private equity and debt ventures, with investments in four different companies.


The investments include a specialty lender providing financing for professional athletes and a water filtration company.


Counting on Star Power


The fund hopes the famous faces will be able to lure in other institutional investors. According to TitleCard Capital, “Celebrity businesspeople have significant successes leveraging their personal brands to drive awareness, form valuable partnerships, and create unique value for their companies and for themselves.”


The firm is especially focused on highlighting the social media power of these famous faces. The aim is that celebrity endorsed investment, shared on social media, can target the new type of private equity investor.


Tyler Tysdal, the managing partner of the firm, told Quartz, “The role of Jimmy Kimmel, Kenny Smith, Jessie James Decker and others to follow are that they provide marketing services to the portfolio companies. Yes, social media is one of those components and will be done with integrity and disclosure.”


Famous Ventures


The three superstars are not the first famous people to venture into the world of investing. Perhaps the most notable example is Ashton Kutcher’s A-Grade Investments.


The fund has invested in a number of famous ventures from Uber to Airbnb. Furthermore, the retired Chinese NBA star Yao Ming ventured into the industry with Chongqing Yufu Assets Management Group and Bono, the U2 frontman, has been a big name in the sector, especially in terms of private equity investing in Africa. It’s still quite a tough sector to make it – any private equity fund would agree.


Bruno Roy, managing partner at McKinsey & Co, told the Wall Street Journal a few year’s ago that, “One thing famous sports and music figures bring to a private equity firm is brand awareness, which certainly cannot hurt fundraising”.


It remains to be seen whether TitleCard Capital is able to turn celebrity endorsements into real equity and make successful investments. In the meantime, if you are looking for deals, head down to DealMarket for the best deals on the market.

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