Spectrum Equity exits Teachers Pay Teachers; ‘Everyone’ taking a look at SVB fund-of-funds

Spectrum Equity sells edtech company Teachers Pay Teachers.

Morning Hubsters!

This is Chris, on for Wire Wednesday. How are things looking out there? We had an example this week of an emerging manager successfully raising a fund in a matter of months, despite the ferocious macro winds pushing back against fundraising.

But first …

SVB: I’ve had my ear to the ground to track what happens with SVB Financial’s $9.5 billion fund-of-funds platform. SVB Financial, the holding company that owned SVB, which was seized by regulators, is exploring options for the fund of funds along with other assets.
A source said “everyone” has taken a look at the fund-of-funds platform, which has some of the closest access to big-name VCs in the market. The portfolio of fund stakes is considered high quality and the platform could represent a strong move by a third-party buyer into forming relationships in the VC world.

But … sources said a concern among buyers is that, without the SVB branding and operations, that access to top VC may close for a third-party buyer. SVB was able to form relationships with the biggest names in VC, which are known for restricting access to only a handful of LPs, in part because of its business model. The company provided capital to their start-ups, served as custodian to their funds and became an LP in their funds.

A new buyer may not have those things going for it and therefore may not be able to get future access into those funds. On the other hand, a buyer with an existing built-out venture platform may make the most sense as a buyer.

And, if a platform buyer doesn’t materialize, could the situation represent a major secondary opportunity? Let me know what you’ve heard at cwitkowsky@buyoutsinsider.com.

Exit: We’re seeing exits continue to happen. Spectrum Equity said this week it sold Teachers Pay Teachers, which provides a catalog of educator-created content and tools for digital instruction. Spectrum sold the company to IXL Learning.

Paul Edelman, a former public school teacher in the New York City public school system, formed the company in 2006. Spectrum invested in the company in 2014. Read more here on PE Hub.

Valuations: Interesting piece from Chistopher Schelling, a former LP from Texas County & District Retirement System, about private equity valuations. Schelling’s point is that the process GPs use to value assets works and does not need to change. Schelling is responding to some frustration by market observers and some LPs about PE valuations, which have remained relatively steady despite large plunges in the public markets.

Private equity valuations may not be perfect, but they work just fine the way they are. That’s why they won’t change much; because they don’t need to. They aren’t make believe, they aren’t fraudulent. By and large, they accurately represent the economic value of patient capital in private businesses where time is on our side.

I concede there will be more mark downs to the most over-priced segments of private markets, and there will be even more if the recent banking / credit crisis spreads. But PE has the benefit of waiting until it actually happens, and more time to work through it if and when they have to. If they need to be marked down, they will be.

That’s it for me! Hit me up with tips n’ gossip, feedback or book recommendations at cwitkowsky@buyoutsinsider.com or find me on LinkedIn.