Butterfly, formed by KKR, Vista execs, eyes $400 mln for ‘seed to fork’ food investments

  • Firm targets $400 mln for debut fund
  • Dustin Beck worked at Riot Games, Vista
  • Adam Waglay previously worked at KKR

A new firm on the West Coast is getting a lot of buzz among limited partners around its debut fund.

The firm, Butterfly Equity, is targeting $400 million for investments in the food industry across agriculture and aquaculture, food and beverage products, food retail and distribution and restaurants. Butterfly’s theme is investing across the entire food value chain, “from seed to fork,” according to Butterfly’s scant website.

A cap on the fund has not yet been set, sources told Buyouts.

Perhaps most intriguing to LPs are the firm’s founders: Dustin Beck, a former Vista Equity Partners executive who worked with his brother at Riot Games as it expanded into a global business through its “League of Legends” gaming platform. Butterfly’s other partner is Adam Waglay, a principal at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts who worked at the firm from 2007 to 2015, according to his LinkedIn profile.

UBS is working with Butterfly to raise capital for the fund. One source with knowledge of the process said the debut fund could close by year-end.

The firm filed a Form D fundraising document with the SEC in May. The document did not list a target or fundraising tally.

Last year, Butterfly invested in Lemonade Restaurant Group, a Los Angeles fast-casual restaurant serving seasonal California cuisine. Lemonade offers a range of food including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options along with slow-cooked meat, artisan sandwiches and desserts. Butterfly joined KKR as an investor in the company.

Beck worked at Vista Equity from 2008 to 2012, prior to which he was at Goldman Sachs from 2006 to 2008. In 2012, he joined Riot Games, which was formed by his brother Brandon Beck.

Riot Games raised $7 million from Benchmark Capital and FirstMark Capital in 2008 and sold a majority stake to Tencent in 2011. Tencent acquired the remaining equity in the company in late 2015 and Dustin Beck launched Butterfly in January 2016, his LinkedIn profile shows.

The game, online multiplayer battle-fest League of Legends, quickly spread around the globe and took on a life of its own through the League of Legends Championship Tournament.

Waglay, meanwhile, worked at Goldman Sachs from 2003 to 2007 in consumer and retail banking before joining KKR in 2007, according to his LinkedIn profile. He was involved in transactions at KKR including Dollar General, Academy Sports + Outdoors, National Vision and Toys “R” Us, according to his biography in a Milken Institute conference agenda.

Action Item: Check out Butterfly’s Form ADV here: http://bit.ly/2y2DOgX

Photo courtesy borchee/iStock/Getty Images