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June 15, 2016  

Trader's Pedigree Trumps Investor Anxiety

A difficult capital-raising environment hasn’t been a problem for energy-focused startup TVR Capital.

Thiru Ramakrishnan, an alumnus of SAC Capital and successor Point72 Asset Management, launched TVR in March with $40 million from a large fund-of-funds operation. Commitments from additional backers now have the Stamford, Conn., firm on track to reach $100 million on July 1.

To increase its fund-raising momentum, TVR last week hired a former senior executive at Paulson & Co. to oversee marketing and investor relations. Jay Blount spent the past eight years at the $20 billion Paulson, where he was a director of institutional business development and investor relations.

While 2016 has been one of the toughest years in memory for hedge fund launches, TVR’s progress shows it’s still possible for new managers with good pedigrees to start out with substantial sums. Of course it also helps to have a large anchor investor.

At Point72, an $11 billion operation that functions as a family office for Steve Cohen, Ramakrishnan ran a market-neutral stock portfolio of energy companies in North America — a focus he maintains at TVR. At its peak, Ramakrishnan’s book at Point72 was valued at $1.5 billion on a gross basis. Before joining SAC, Ramakrishnan held analyst positions at Touradji Capital and Simmons & Co.

Working with him at TVR is chief financial officer Slavko Negulic, who briefly held the same position at Bishop Rock Capital last year and, before that, spent more than a decade as chief financial officer and chief operating officer at Sound Energy Partners. On the investment side, Ramakrishnan is assisted by four analysts: Travis Bartlett, previously of Halcyon Asset Management; Peter Belton, who last worked at Prime Mover Capital; Farid Guindo, formerly of Drill Capital; and Altan Sadik-Khan, who joined from J.P. Morgan Asset Management.