Tapping Nas’ former fund manager, Manhattan Venture Partners launches MVP All-Star fund

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A former fund manager at QueensBridge Venture Partners, the venture capital firm made famous by the hip-hop legend Nas, has joined boutique merchant bank Manhattan Venture Partners.

Rashaun Williams, a founding partner of QBVP, plans to leverage his proximity to star power for a new secondary investment fund.

Williams is setting up the secondary vehicle with help from the Manhattan Venture Partners’ team of Eric Brachfeld, Jared Carmel and Evan A. Haymes, as well as secondary market leaders Kevin A. Cohen, Nicholas Gupta and Bradley D. Fishman.

Forty of the deals at QueensBridge were secondary transactions, and now Williams will offer potential investors a basket of secondary offerings in one vehicle.

Because it is operating solely on the secondary market, the life cycle for the new investment vehicle will be five to six years rather than 10 to 12 years for a typical venture fund, according to Carmel.

Manhattan Venture Partners' newest hire, Rashaun Williams

Manhattan Venture Partners’ newest hire, Rashaun Williams

The MVP All-Star Fund will target companies that are looking to exit in a one to three-year horizon. Because they’re coming in so much later than a typical venture firm, the investment shop said it will look to exit much earlier.

The firm’s principals wouldn’t comment on the exact size of the fund, but said it was a nine-figure institutional investment vehicle.

Manhattan Venture Partners expects to invest more than $100 million in this secondary strategy over the next two to three years, but expects the deployments to come in multiple tranches for the investor group.

Working in the secondary market is nothing new for Williams, whose experience at QBVP included making at least 40 secondary deals out of the more than 110 in the portfolio. The strategy, according to people familiar with the firm, was to invest in as many opportunities (at whatever stage was available) as possible.

It’s a shotgun approach to investing that can yield returns. At QBVP, that included a diverse portfolio of East and West Coast startups like Casper, General Assembly, Dropbox, SeatGeek and others.

Investors in the fund include Tennessee Titans star Derrick Morgan, former NBA star Elton Brand and David Falk, an NBA agent.