Enlightenment Capital Aims for $100M with First Fund

Enlightenment Capital, a PE firm focused on aerospace, defense & government services, is out fundraising, according to two sources and a regulatory filing.

Founded earlier this year by managing partners Devin Talbott and Pierre Chao, Enlightenment is looking to raise $100 million for its first fund, sources and the regulatory filing say. The PE firm is not using a placement agent.

Talbott is a former VP of D.E. Shaw’s direct capital strategy’s group where he helped build out the firm’s defense & government investments, according to the Enlightenment website. Chao is the managing partner of Renaissance Strategic Advisors, a consulting firm that focuses on aerospace and defense. (Chao was also a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington D.C. think tank.)

With offices in Chevy Chase, Md. and Arlington, Va., Enlightenment will provide senior debt, mezzanine debt and minority equity to companies in the aerospace, defense & government sector. Investments will range from $1 million to $10 million per deal, a source says.

Enlightenment is considered a “smaller version of the Carlyle Group,” one banker says. Enlightenment is politically connected and touts General James Cartwright, a former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on its advisory board. John Delaney, cofounder of CapitalSource, is also on the board.

“They should be able to make brighter, smarter investments than some generalists that dip into AD&G from time to time,” the banking source says.

Officials for Enlightenment declined comment.

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