MPowered Capital, the investment firm built by Varde Partners co-founder Marcia Page, closed its first fund designed to back women and minority alternative-asset managers.
MPowered raised $110 million from family offices, foundations and investment consultant firms, the Minneapolis-based company said Tuesday in a statement. The figure also includes $25 million from Page, who pledged to put up $75 million of her own money to back emerging managers.
Page, 62, founded Varde in 1993 and helped build it into a firm overseeing more than $14 billion. She established MPowered in 2021 to address what she said was broad acknowledgment that investing in women and minority managers was a challenge.
“We are on a long-term arc,” Page, now co-executive chair of Varde, said in a telephone interview. “This first fund alone isn’t going to solve the capital gap that we’re talking about,” she said, but it’s a start.
Large institutional investors have made investing with women and minority fund managers a greater priority in recent years. Still, the shift has been slow: In the U.S., such firms oversee only 1.4 percent of $82 trillion in assets, according to a 2021 analysis by the Knight Foundation.
MPowered teams up with women- and minority-owned firms by partnering on direct or co-investments and backing their funds. It has invested in or alongside private equity companies like L2 Point Management and Kinzie Capital Partners, according to the company. The firm also has a program that helps upstart fund managers with staffing and operations.
NEPC LLC, a Boston-based investment consulting firm, was among those that invested in the fund, known as MPowered Capital Access Fund I.
MPowered, which shares operational resources and some staff with Varde, also saw strong demand from family offices, Page said. They often don’t face as many internal hurdles, like restricting investments in a debut fund.