KKR alumni attract $150m from CalPERS

Riverwood, staffed with several former KKR professionals, is targeting $750m for its debut fund.

A newly formed firm, Riverwood Capital Partners, has won a big mandate from the $198 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System, scoring a $150 million commitment to its debut fund, targeting $750 million.

Part of the firm’s attraction could be its hefty roster of former Kohlberg Kravis Roberts deal professionals.

The firm is led by former KKR partner and senior advisor Michael Marks, and Chris Varelas, who was global head of technology, media and telecom and head of national investment banking at Citi.

Other firm principals include Jeffrey Parks, who worked at KKR from 2005 to 2007 focusing on investments in technology. Parks also worked at Oaktree Capital Management. Francisco Alvarez-Demalde, also a founding partner of Riverwood, came from Eton Park Capital Management, where he focused on private equity investments in emerging markets. Previously, he worked at KKR.

Riverwood will make growth investments in the technology and services industry. Specifically, the firm looks for investments in electronic systems and components, including hardware, semiconductors; software, IT services and other business services.

Marks is the former chief executive of Flextronics, a software company that became a KKR portfolio company in 2006. After becoming a KKR partner, Marks left to found Bigwood Capital in 2007. Riverwood also includes Tom Smach, the former CFO of Flextronics.

Riverwood has a “strategic relationship” with Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturing services provider, according to CalPERS.

“This relationship will provide Riverwood with additional sourcing and post acquisition capabilities as well as co-investment capital,” the pension said in board documents.

Riverwood has been involved in at least one investment, teaming with TPG to buy Micron Technology’s imaging solutions business, Aptina Imaging, last year, for an undisclosed amount.