Silicon Valley Firm Readies For Launch of Three Funds

Dec 15 2005 | 5:00pm ET

Silicon Valley-based Conquistador Ventures is preparing to launch three funds on Jan. 3, the Conquistador Capital Fund, which will have an onshore and an offshore version, and the Conquistador Crossover Fund, an onshore vehicle.

The Capital Funds will be long/short equity and will invest in public technology firms of all market capitalizations both in the U.S. and abroad. The Crossover Fund will be a hybrid fund consisting of both public and private equity investments in the technology sector, including investments in new, distressed and later-stage companies.

Patrick Renda, a founding partner of the firm, expects each fund to launch with between $5-10 million in assets under management and aims to close each fund at $500 million.

All three funds will have a 1.5% management fee and a 20% performance fee, and the firm is pledging 5% of its profits each year to various charities. The minimum investment in each fund is $1 million and the lock-up is one year.

“We have been managing partner money for five weeks and we are up about 8%,” said Renda, who was previously with American Express Financial Corp., where he was the sole technology specialist on a $35 billion portfolio, of which approximately 25% was invested in technology. “My vision is to build this in a Carlyle Group/Blackstone model, so we are setting things up legally and operationally to be around for a while,” said Renda, who added that the company is in the process of registering with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The two other founding partners of Conquistador are Carolyn Rogers and Jeffrey Lin. Previously, Rogers served as v.p. and investment officer at J. & W. Seligman, and also helped launch two technology companies—one that went public and the other which was sold to a public firm. Lin was most recently v.p. and analyst at Provident Investment Counsel, where he focused on large capitalization technology stocks.

Bear Stearns and Merlin Securities are serving as prime brokers on the funds. Rothstein Kass is the auditor, Howard Rice is the legal counsel and Conifer Securities is providing operational support to the firm.  

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