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- Viking helped data-backup startup Druva Technologies push into unicorn status by leading a $130 million funding round earlier this summer.
- The $30 billion hedge fund firm is opening its Viking Opportunities Fund to new commitments next year and making hires on its private investment team, according to an investor letter.
- Viking put in $107 million of the funding round for Druva. The hedge fund firm, which also holds stakes in Microsoft and Amazon, calls the startup a "first mover."
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Count Druva Technologies as one company that’s benefiting from hedge funds’ push into the private markets.
The 10-year-old cloud company reached unicorn status in June after a $130 million funding round led by O. Andreas Halvorsen’s Viking Global Investors. The firm’s Global Opportunities Fund accounted for $107 million of that round, according to an investor letter sent by Halvorsen on July 16.
The $30 billion Viking said it believes that Druva, which has locations in six different countries, is positioned to grow quickly.
Viking said its investment in public companies with cloud businesses — Amazon and Microsoft are two of its biggest holdings — led it to "appreciate the advantages Druva derives from being the first mover in a business that requires significant upfront investment to reach scale."
The cloud company marks just one of many private investments Viking has made this year — the firm said in the letter it made more than $580 million in illiquid investments through the first half, and thanks to ideas like Druva, it is looking to grow its private investment team.
Viking has been active in the private market space, along with fellow "Tiger Cubs" — investors who worked for Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management — Coatue Management and Tiger Global, as well as TwoSigma and Perceptive Advisors.
Hedge funds, which have struggled to outperform the market and justify their fees, have increasingly turned to high-risk, high-reward investments in young private companies that used to only fundraise from venture capital firms.
The Global Opportunities Fund has posted a return of 22.5% through the first half of the year, the letter said, besting both the market and the average hedge fund.
The three funds that make up Viking — Global Opportunities, Global Equities, and Long Fund — now have roughly $30 billion in assets, just two years after dropping to $24 billion when Viking returned $8 billion of the Global Equities and Long Fund’s assets to investors.
Viking’s growth since then has mostly been through returns, the letter said, though Global Opportunities received $900 million in new subscriptions from existing investors even as the other two funds have seen redemptions.
Because of the pace of "idea generation," the Global Opportunities fund will be opened to new commitments on Jan. 1, the letter said.
Viking declined to comment when reached for additional comment on the firm’s plans.
The letter said that Viking’s five-person private investment team, led by Brian Kaufmann, will have two additional members joining the summer. There is also an open position for an eighth role.
"The attractive deal flow sourced by the team is reflected in the capital deployed and committed to illiquid investments," the letter states.
Three of the firm’s private investments went public in the second quarter — BridgeBio Pharmaceuticals, Adaptive Biotechnologies, and Uber. The first two companies saw their stocks jump on the first day of trading, and Viking now owns a combined $760 million worth of stock in the two companies, despite investing less than $300 million in them over four years.
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