Newcastle’s strategy draws on managing partner Chris Casgar’s experience at L Catterton and Webster Equity Partners, with a focus on investing in consumer products and services businesses.
The Newcastle Network, led by former L Catterton managing director Chris Casgar, is seeking $200 million for a debut fund, sources told Buyouts.
Newcastle Network Fund I is anchored by Grafine Partners, sources said. Launched in 2019 by Elizabeth Weymouth, a one-time Riverstone Holdings partner, Grafine invests in emerging managers founded by seasoned GPs in part to create co-investment opportunities for LPs.
First-timers are encountering major challenges in today’s fundraising market, as cash-strapped LPs give preference to re-ups with long-time relationships. Investors that remain open to new relationships are especially keen on shops run by veteran GPs, Probitas Partners’ 2023 Institutional Investors Private Equity Survey found.
Boston-based Newcastle was formed in 2020. Managing partner Casgar was previously with Webster Equity Partners, which he joined in 2017 as a partner to help build out a consumer practice. His deals there included Vivona Brands, a beauty, wellness and lifestyle products platform acquired in 2019.
Before Webster, Casgar was for more than seven years with L Catterton, one of the industry’s best-known consumer-focused private equity firms.
Among his L Catterton deals was Getaway, a tiny cabins vacation rentals provider backed in 2017. He also participated in a 2011 investment in Zarbee’s Naturals, a chemical-free health and wellness products company. Zarbee’s was sold in 2018 to Johnson & Johnson, generating a roughly 10x multiple, Buyouts reported.
Early in his career, Casgar worked as a tech executive, including as Ahold’s vice president, global technology and business transformation, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Newcastle’s strategy draws on Casgar’s experience at L Catterton and Webster, with a focus on acquiring control or significant interests in high-growth businesses in the consumer products and services industry. A key to the strategy, sources said, is an emphasis on lower-mid-market opportunities typically overlooked by incumbent investors.
Targets are performing, well-run companies with favorable category dynamics and that have scaled through distinctive products, services or brand propositions, according to the firm’s website. They also have diverse growth options via market share, margins, innovation initiatives and capital investment projects.
Newcastle writes initial equity checks of $25 million to $75 million for growth and recap deals.
The team reflects a mix of investment and operating professionals with backgrounds in data science, creator and social media marketing, entrepreneurship and innovation. They include partner Kevin McCafferty, formerly a principal at Yellow Wood Partners, and partner Michael Kesselman, an ex-tech solutions developer and executive.
Newcastle has already made two platform investments. In an inaugural deal last year, it led a $20 million financing of Kizik, a maker of hands-free footwear for men, women and kids. And this year, the firm invested in Super7, a pop-culture design house and collectibles, toys and apparel producer.
Newcastle declined to provide a comment on this story.