Founder Philip Paul likes to say he was "in the right place at the right time" when he had the opportunity to acquire 43 venture capital and leveraged buyout fund positions from the Hillman Company in 1991. It happened before there was a secondary market or pools of capital available to acquire such illiquid assets.
Throughout the 1980s, Mr. Paul served as Chairman and CEO of Hillman Ventures, Inc., one of the largest domestic sources of private equity. Mr. Paul was responsible for continuing the Hillman family tradition of selecting and leading investments in the very best general partners at the early stages of venture capital and buyouts. The Hillman family helped establish, among others, Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, U.S. Venture Partners, Kleiner & Perkins and TA Associates.
In 1990, the Hillman family decided to pursue an orderly liquidation of various illiquid assets, including real estate, private equity holdings, and wholly-owned operating businesses. Mr. Paul formed Paul Capital in 1991 to participate in this purchase of private equity holdings. Mr. Paul obtained funding from the pension trusts of AT&T, DuPont and Hughes Aircraft as well as BancBoston and Howard Hughes Medical Institute. It was a pioneering transaction which helped to institutionalize the secondary market.
Paul Capital continued to evolve and expand its secondary strategy by acquiring interests in private equity funds, direct private equity interests and unfunded private equity commitments. In 1999, a Healthcare Royalty Fund was formed to provide liquidity to owners of healthcare royalty interests. Paul Capital also established a fund of funds, based on the firm’s longstanding relationship with some of the best performing venture capital funds.
In April 2011, a management-led change in ownership established the fund of funds platform as an independent company, Top Tier Capital Partners. Top Tier and Paul Capital continue to maintain close ties.
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