Wood Creek Looks To Boost Seeding Platform

Apr 15 2008 | 7:46am ET

New Haven, Conn.-based Wood Creek Capital Management, a multi-manager shop that seeds niche strategies, is looking to ramp up its platform this year with the addition of four to six managers.

The firm currently manages the $75 million Wood Creek Venture Fund, which launched in 2005 and has seeded four managers to date. The fund has exposure to the music, trade finance origination and investment, and specialty pharmaceutical brand management sectors.

Going forward, CEO Brett Hellerman said the fund is looking to invest in weather-related strategies, because "weather is an inefficient marketplace, uncorrelated with other alternative strategies, and it's a growing market."

Hellerman also likes agriculture, and has committed to managers with exposure to physical farmland and operators focused on the soft commodities space, specifically grains.

"We're looking for places where there are inefficiencies," said Hellerman.  "Who doesn't want to talk about music, food and drugs? They're a lot more interesting and a lot more tangible than many securities strategies. To get the kinds of returns they expect from alternatives, investors must start looking at these spaces."

Hellerman noted that institutional investors are increasingly identifying and committing a portion of their portfolios to investments that combine both hedge funds and private equity and labeling them "special opportunities" or "real assets".

In addition, Wood Creek is looking to increase the assets of its $75 million Multi-Asset Fund, a multi-manager fund with a portfolio of 20 managed accounts and funds, "to be able to expand our activities." 

The firm also has $130 million in committed capital, which is not yet drawn down for investments.

MassMutual Financial Group, a triple-A-rated insurer with over $450 billion of assets under management, is a partner of and capital provider to Wood Creek.

Hellerman was a co-founder of the Clinton Group and also owned Norfolk Markets, a boutique investment bank focused on hedge funds, prior to founding Wood Creek in 2005.


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