Top 19 in 2019: Buyout Firms with Women Founders

Jan 10, 2019 | Kayo Women, News

Early in 2019, MiddleGround Capital announced the close of its $140 million inaugural fund.  Like many new firms launched today, MiddleGround Capital formed as a spin-out when a group of partners “spun out” from Monomoy Capital.  The strategy is described as operationally focused investing in the middle market.  But this is not “just another middle-market buyout fund”.  The story is unique in several ways.  First, it’s based in Lexington, Kentucky, outside of the main private equity hubs. Second, it’s industry focus is on B2B industrial businesses, a not-so-common approach. And third, but   perhaps the most interesting part of their story, is that one of their three co-founders is Lauren Mulholland – a woman. 

Mulholland is a rarity – a female founder and owner of a private equity management company.  While there have been a flood of women starting early-stage investment firms, the middle market private equity industry has remained sparsely explored territory for women founders.  Today, less than 1% of the 2,300 U.S.-based private equity firms that invest in growth equity and middle market companies have a woman founder or co-founder, according to Pitchbook Data. 

However, there are signs that momentum is shifting.  We have witnessed a trickling of spin-outs and successful fundraises over the five years. 

We decided to take a closer look at this pack of women founders, narrowing it down to U.S-based firms actively investing in primarily U.S-based companies with strategies ranging from growth equity to buyouts.  Collectively, these women manage $5 billion in asset under management.

  • 80% are headquartered outside of New York and San Francisco
  • 80% have an industry-sector focus versus investing as a generalist
  • The average number of women on the team totals 33%, more than double the industry average of 10-15% (Source: Preqin)


Are we witnessing the dawning of a new age in private equity?  It’s possible.  To learn more about these 19 firms and their female leaders, download our white paper below and follow The Podium.