The New LP Nexus?

When it comes time for private equity firms to raise money, the first two stops are usually New York and Boston. There hasn’t been a consensus third choice, with London, San Francisco and Chicago all being logical locales. But after spending some time in Chapel Hill last week, I’d have to think that Research Triangle is forcing itself into the conversation.

The region’s cornerstone LPs are Duke and UNC, with the latter having recently made a big splash by recruiting Kevin Tunick away from Harvard. It also has three well-capitalized fund-of-funds managers in Blackstone Blackrock (f.k.a. Quellos), Parish Capital (despite some recent personnel turmoil) and True Bridge Capital Partners (launched by Tunick’s UNC predecessor Mel Williams).

It’s becoming quite the community, and is likely to feed on itself. The more fundraising firms visit the region, the more likely that additional LPs will spring up. It’s still not besting Boston or New York, but Chicago might want to watch out…