Capital Buzz: A public first day for Carlyle Group


Junior Achievement participants from Queens, N.Y., rang the opening bell last week at the Nasdaq Marketsite on behalf of the Carlyle Group. (Courtesy of NASDAQ)

First they waited five years to go public (long after rival Blackstone), then they choose Nasdaq to list on rather than the august NYSE, and then they have Junior Achievement ring the opening bell.

Carlyle Group’s founders forged their own path to public ownership last week.

A source tells the Buzz that co-founders William E. Conway Jr., Daniel A. D’Aniello and David M. Rubenstein trekked to the Nasdaq Marketsite in Manhattan’s Times Square on Thursday last week for the low-key event. From a small conference room on the second floor, they watched Carlyle Chief Financial Officer Glenn Youngkin kick off the bell-ringing ceremony. Ed Grenier, chief executive of Junior Achievement for Greater Washington and his New York counterpart, Joe Peri, gathered with six high school students from Queens, N.Y., to open the market. Carlyle employees have volunteered with JA for years.

Back upstairs, the Carlyle executives settled in to watch how the market priced their 25-year old company. Between bites of bagels and bacon, the stock began trading at $22 and stayed in positive terrain through the entire day. Before noon, the troika of newly minted billionaires went their separate ways, resuming what they do best, raising capital, investing cash and churning out profits.

Time will tell if going public helps or hurts the Carlyle cash cow.

‘Liquidity event’

Dan Primack, private equity maven and senior editor at Fortune.com, was in town Wednesday to host Term Sheet’s (his e-mail publication at Fortune) gathering of entrepreneurs, which Primack calls his “Liquidity Event.”

The event, sponsored by Steve Case’s Revolution, hosted 200 guests at the Capital City Brewery on New York Avenue.

Primack said if there was a theme to the gathering, it was Washington’s growing entrepreneurial class.

“There were a lot more young entrepreneurs there than there were three years ago,” Primack said. “That is something clearly growing in D.C. It’s not Silicon Valley or even Boston, but there is a young, growing entrepreneurial community.”

Representing Revolution were Tige Savage (Revolution Ventures), David Hall (Revolution Ventures), Evan Morgan (Revolution Growth), Michael Chou (Revolution Growth) and Lee Prince (a marketing-communications consultant for Revolution).

The crowd included representatives from Rosslyn-based Opower, D.C.-based private equity firm Acon Investments, Silicon Valley Bank, McLean-based networking site Brazen Careerist, Booz Allen Hamilton and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the Silicon Valley-based law firm that advises start-ups.

The Buzz hears:

The founders of Jess3 — the District-based visual storyteller for corporations such as Google, Nike iD and ESPN — are moving to Los Angeles next month. For good.

Jess3 co-founder Leslie Bradshaw tells us the company set up offices in Highland Park a year ago.

Bradshaw, who founded the firm with Jesse Thomas and is one of the key players in the local business scene, said the move will enable the firm to better serve their West Coast clients, which make up 90 percent of Jess3’s business.

The District team of nine full- and part-timers will move out of its offices near the Farragut North Metro and into smaller digs.

Last Thursday, Amazon’s quarterly filing revealed that LivingSocial grew 170 percent over the first quarter in 2011. The real question, as pointed out by Yipit, the online daily deal blog, is the company’s recent performance, as investors have begun to question the sustainability of the overall industry.

Yipit’s March 2012 Industry Report shows LivingSocial’s North American gross billings were up 15 percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the fourth quarter of 2011.

KnockOut Products wins another round. The District-based company that makes high-end cotton knickers won the 2012 Harvard Business School Alumni New Venture Contest against competitors from around the world at the campus on April 23. Knockout’s secret is a wicking and odor-absorbing technology that keeps the undergarments from becoming wet and smelly.

The men’s team from Walker & Dunlop, the Bethesda real estate finance firm, took first place in the 2012 American Odyssey Corporate Challenge, finishing the 200-mile-nonstop race in 24 hours and 54 minutes, reports Chairman Willy Walker. The team beat its goal of finishing under 25 hours and was 40 minutes faster than last year. Average pace? A scorching 7:15 minutes a mile.

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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