Miura Private Equity is about to join the group of venture capital managers that have opened the investment focus towards new strategies to gain radius of action and, as a result, have become compatible with two or more funds. The Catalan entity will close in the coming weeks a specific vehicle to make purchases in the Spanish agrifood sector, which will coexist with the generalist who raised last year.
Market sources say that the company led by Luis Seguí and Juan Leach will attract an amount of around 350 million for its new project, with which it intends to carry out operations only in fruit and vegetable producing and distributing companies. This potential will be added to the 330 million collected at the beginning of 2018 for Miura Fund III, the company's third fund to invest in companies of all types, which already have three investees (EfectoLed, Grupo Saona and Tragaluz).
Miura's commitment to the Spanish agricultural sector is part of the attempt by private equity operators to look for distinctive angles that allow them to take advantage of the strong appetite of investors for venture capital, while acquiring a competitive advantage to face the intense rivalry for making transactions that currently occurs between the funds.
Other entities before Miura have launched recent initiatives with the same purpose. These include some of the main managers in the Spanish market, such as Portobello, Nazca, Sherpa and Axon. The latter, which had a long history of investing in technological start-ups, decided a year ago to leave its comfort zone to explore other areas of activity. The heads of the firm, headed by Francisco Velázquez, raised 100 million for a growth fund to support SMEs with a greater degree of consolidation and located in traditional sectors other than the technology industry that the entity knows so well.
Axon Partners Group's diversification tactic didn't stop there. At the same time, the management company, which up to now had been limited to direct venture capital operations, also made the leap into the universe of funds of funds and launched a vehicle of these characteristics, named Aurora, which already has commitments worth 100 million.
The growth market, in which SMEs in need of financial support to promote expansion plans and which are not yet ready to buy out, was also the option chosen by Sherpa Capital to expand its focus. The entity led by Eduardo Navarro and Alfredo Bru, expert in reorientation and complex situations (turnaround, according to the jargon of the sector), announced in May 2018 the closure of a fund of 150 million to deepen this strategy that, unlike the one it had been deploying, puts the magnifying glass on profitable companies.
- This move towards investment in growth has been fostered by the successful collection of large Spanish private equity funds, which in recent years have built vehicles with more resources, shifting their radar to companies larger than those pursued with their predecessor funds. This has accentuated investment opportunities in SMEs that are in the lower end of the market or even in the acquisition of minorities.
It was precisely to alleviate the consequences of this shift that Nazca took the step to become a multi-fund manager. After attracting 275 million in 2016 for its fourth vehicle, the firm's directors led by Carlos Carbó and Álvaro Mariátegui set up another 150 million fund at the end of last year in order not to completely neglect the niche of smaller companies in which it began and made a career with its first projects (Nazca I, of 100 million, and Nazca II, of 150 million).
This same pattern could soon be replicated by Portobello Capital. The manager who currently has the largest living fund of national venture capital, with 600 million, is trying to set up a vehicle with a lower resource pool of about 300 million, with which to take minority shares in SMEs, explain market sources. If the entity's plans materialize, the two projects will become contemporaries.