Find Venture Debt has compiled a list of the top 36 private equity firms, growth equity funds, and mezzanine lenders with offices in North Carolina listed by city. Charlotte has the most firms and Raleigh is second. We did not include venture capital firms because their investment criteria and strategies are very different than private equity. Click on each firm's name to go to their website.
Please contact Find Venture Debt if you have questions, corrections, or additions to the list of North Carolina firms.
Private equity firms manage investment funds that are not publicly-traded. The funds are usually organized as limited partnerships. The private equity firm is the general partner and is responsible for the management of the fund, and the limited partners provide most of the capital. The limited partners include institutional investors (e.g. pension plans, university endowments, insurance companies, foundations, sovereign wealth funds), family offices, and high-net-worth individuals.
Private equity funds invest in a broad range of assets including private companies, public companies, real estate, natural resources, and infrastructure projects. In practice, private equity is defined more narrowly to focus on investments in private companies. Even within this narrower definition, private equity firms vary widely in size, industry focus, and investment strategy.
Technically, venture capital is a subset of private equity. In practice, venture capital is considered a separate asset class. However, there are investments funds that blur the difference between private equity and venture capital; this middle ground is often referred to as growth equity (or growth capital). Below is a very brief explanation of the differences among these equity asset classes:
Mezzanine financing has characteristics of growth equity and private equity. It is a source of expansion capital and the investors prefer established, profitable companies. However, it is usually structured as debt rather than equity, so it is part of the private debt asset class rather than private equity. Investment structures include the following (in descending order of frequency):
From a capital structure perspective, mezzanine debt fills the gap between debt and equity, the word "mezzanine" is derived from the Latin word for "middle." When a private equity firm acquires a company, a common financing structure uses equity from their limited partners, senior debt from a bank or non-bank lender, and a middle layer from a mezzanine lender.