Introducing TZP Group, Another First-Time Fund Hopeful

Add one more to the list of first-time funds in the market. TZP Group, a lower middle-market PE shop focused on business and consumer services companies.

The New York-based firm recently made its first investment, sparking speculation that it it had held at least one close (i.e., saving it from fundraising purgatory). As it turns out, a source says that TZP has held at least two closes toward an undisclosed target for an undisclosed amount. The anchor investor is a large university endowment. The firm’s partners declined to comment on any details.

TZP has done Buyouts magazine’s job for it with its “What’s in a Name” page.* TZP, which could possibly get confused with the celebrity gossip site, TMZ, is actually a biblical reference. Apparently Joseph, of Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat fame, was the original gangster of private equity. Take that, Jerome Kohlberg and Christopher Columbus.

From the firm’s website:

Joseph offers an alternative plan.  “Here is seed for you, sow the land.  And it will be at the ingatherings that you will give a fifth to Pharaoh and the four parts shall be yours.” (Genesis 47:23-24).  The fifth – or 20% – represents the first recorded carried interest in history.

Well Ok… TZP Capital is run managing partner Samuel L. Katz, who has been the CEO of Travelport Limited, Cendant Internet Group, Cendant’s Financial Services division and MacAndrews & Forbes Acquistion Holdings. He got his start in finance at Drexel Burnham Lambert and Blackstone Group. Katz said the firm’s appeal to potential LPs has been its “partner of choice” strategy of working with entrepreneurs to build companies in a dramatic fashion. The firm markets a non-traditional track record, since many of its partner’s most recent experience is in the corporate world.

That first investment for TZP, by the way, is a $20 million investment in avVenta Worldwide, a digital production and interactive services business. The firm seeks to invest in companies with enterprise values between $50 million and $250 million.

Read more: Tips for First-Time Funds (from people who know)

*Ok, so Buyouts actually canceled its “What’s In a Name?” column last year.