Apr 20, 2022 - Economy

Steve Young's next private equity play

Steve Young

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images

It isn't unusual for celebrities, and pro athletes in particular, to become private equity investors. In most cases, however, it's about gladhanding to seal a deal or fund commitment — maybe while taking a few selfies in a corporate box at the big game.

  • Steve Young is an exception, because he actually does the job. And that includes the outwardly boring stuff, like launching new investment platforms in non-sexy industries.

Driving the news: HGGC, the firm Young co-founded more than a decade ago, tells Axios that it's allocating $300 million to back registered investment advisers.

  • The platform will be called Aspire Holdings, with Young serving as chair. Capital will come from HGGC's fourth fund, which is targeting a total of $2.25 billion (no final close yet).
  • Aspire isn't intended to be a consolidator, but rather will provide shared services to all of its companies. Plus to the three RIAs in which HGGC previously invested: Apella Capital, Merit Financial Group and WA Asset Management.
  • Each of those existing deals was done in partnership with a firm called Wealth Partners Capital Group, and HGGC says it's open to making future investments either solo or in tandem with third parties.
  • "RIAs often start with just a couple people, but then get to an inflection point in maturity where it can be difficult to scale without a platform like Aspire," Young says. "We think it's an opportunity that speaks to both sellers and market conditions."

The bottom line: Eyerolls are the reflex when famous folks move into finance, but that doesn't mean they're always deserved.

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