KKR to Bulk Up Its Growth-Equity Group With New York-Based Hires

(Bloomberg) -- KKR & Co. is expanding its growth-equity group, adding to its New York office under the leadership of Erica Martin.

The firm will add four or five people to the team focusing on technology, media and telecommunications in the next couple of months, according to Martin, who joined earlier this year from buyout firm Warburg Pincus. KKR had about 15 people dedicated to TMT investing in New York, London and Menlo Park, California, as of March 31.

“The opportunity set for next-generation tech firms is growing,” Martin, a director and a senior member of the growth-equity team, said in an interview. “Funding is so abundant that startup communities are now clustered all across the country.”

Alternative asset managers have become more active in earlier-stage growth investing in recent years as traditional private equity deals bring higher price tags. Through its Next Generation Technology Growth Fund, KKR has invested in companies including Lyft Inc., GetYourGuide Inc. and Jitterbit Inc. TPG was among the first big buyout shops to raise a fund targeting startups more than a decade ago, betting on companies such as Airbnb Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc.

Martin, who started in the industry in 2010 and has worked for TA Associates as well as Warburg Pincus, said she was drawn to KKR in part because of actions it’s taking on inclusion and diversity. Investment firms are under growing pressure to diversify their work forces after decades of being run mostly by white men.

Martin said she interviewed a number of young women for her team who expressed skepticism about the private equity industry because of low female representation. However, seeing a woman on the leadership team of the growth-equity group encouraged them to consider KKR and ultimately led to one recent hire.

“Everybody in the industry has a long way to go, but on our team we’re doing really well,” she said.

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