By Dawn Lim
A BlackRock Inc. director involved in the firm's early technology bets on Twitter Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. is launching his own investment fund.
Daniel Daniel stepped down recently from his role as a managing director at BlackRock, people familiar with the matter said. He is starting a new venture, named Twenty Acre Global LP, to invest in technology companies, one of the people said.
His newly launched Newtown, Pa.-based firm is looking to raise at least $500 million to invest across debt, equity and illiquid positions, the person said. It expects to hire about a dozen people in coming months.
The strategy planned by Twenty Acre continues aspects of what Mr. Daniel did on BlackRock's global allocation team. For eight years, Mr. Daniel was part of that group, investing in a range of strategies and investment types. The global allocation team oversees about $60 billion in assets, of which a small portion is in companies that haven't had an initial public offering.
Mr. Daniel helped oversee billions of dollars of that group's technology bets at BlackRock. He was involved in pre-IPO bets on technology companies such as Twitter, Uber, Dropbox Inc., Palantir Technologies Inc. and Domo Inc., the people said. BlackRock is the largest money manager in the world, with some $6 trillion in assets.
A surge of pre-IPO investments in recent years from family offices, mutual funds and financial institutions has lifted the valuations of tech companies and created paper billionaires out of some founders. Some pre-IPO investments have been lucrative bets for investors such as BlackRock. At the same time, others have questioned if the lofty valuations of several so-called unicorns can be sustained.
Mr. Daniel's new fund will have no deadline for returning investor capital or exiting its wagers. It will be able to invest up to one-third in illiquid positions.
Mr. Daniel, 44 years old, grew up in a military family and attended high school and college in Utah. He received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.
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