Commonfund Capital raises $97.3m so far for emerging markets fund

A clerk counts Chinese yuan and U.S. dollar banknotes at a branch of Bank of China in Taiyuan

Commonfund Capital, a US-based asset management firm, has raised $97.3 million so far for its latest emerging markets fund, Commonfund Capital Emerging Markets III, according to an SEC filing.

The firm is looking to raise at least $300 million for the latest fund, or 50-per cent more than the $200 million that Commonfund targeted for its second emerging markets fund of funds in April 2017.

The filing shows that 49 investors have so far committed to the private equity fund launched in February. Commonfund accepts $250,000 as minimum investment from any outside investor wanting to commit to the fund.

Founded in 1971, the firm manages $25.6 billion for hundreds of institutions as of December 31, 2019. It focuses on two primary activities – outsourced investment management and alternative strategies.

As a private capital solutions provider, Commonfund invests with global partners into primarily small and mid-sized companies in growth markets and sectors with a focus on technology and industries in transition.

“Our only business is asset management and we are active in all sectors of the global capital markets in both public and private markets,” the firm said on its website.

In private equity, the firm said it has committed $16.9 billion in capital into this space since 1988, focusing on managers that are sector specialists or practice hybrids styles.

It backs venture capital and growth equity managers that tap into opportunities driven by the growing consumer class in select emerging markets countries.

Last year, Commonfund Capital appointed Xiaonan Tian as associate director and head of its investment office in Beijing, China.

Xiaonan is responsible for the oversight of due diligence, manager selection, investment monitoring, and portfolio construction for the firm’s PE and VC investment management programs in the Asia-Pacific region.

Commonfund made its first commitment in Asia in 1994. As of December 2019, the firm made over 65 primary commitments in China totaling nearly $1 billion.

The launch of Commonfund’s emerging markets fund comes as a majority of Asia-Pacific and North American limited partners see Asia’s emerging PE markets as offering the most attractive investment opportunities, according to the latest Coller Capital Global PE Barometer in December.

Southeast Asia emerged as the most attractive emerging market for PE investments in the next three years, favoured by about 70 per cent of the 113 investors surveyed by Coller. Greater China and India followed close behind.

The Barometer polled 113 PE funds investors based in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region, including the Middle East. About 23 per cent of the respondents have total assets under management of over $50 billion and 29 per cent are from public pension funds.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.