NEW YORK — Marvin Traub is starting yet another chapter in his storied career. The former chairman and chief executive officer of Bloomingdale's has partnered with Mortimer Singer and Aslaug Magnusdottir to create TSM Capital to invest in designer businesses, brands and retailers in the early stages of their companies, with revenues of between $5 million and $50 million.
And Traub and his partners have wasted no time in their goal to create a portfolio of up to 10 businesses over the next three years. The trio is launching TSM Capital by taking a stake in London-based Matthew Williamson Holdings Ltd. in partnership with investment firm Aronsson Group, headed by chairman Jeffry Aronsson.
Traub, who also is president of the Marvin Traub Associates consultancy, told WWD on Monday that the idea of an investment company evolved over the last five years, when he and Singer worked closely with designers and retailers at his marketing and consulting fi rm.
"Over time, we frequently saw many great companies whom we thought were talented, and who could use funding," Traub explained. "But if you're trying to raise a range of $5 million to $25 million, it's much more diffi cult than if you need to raise $50 million or $100 million. Most of the funds are anxious to make major investments, but much less interested in smaller investments. Yet there are many very fi ne companies who don't need a major investment."
Singer elaborated that many of these companies were looking for financial help, as well as other assistance, triggering the idea to form TSM Capital.
"Often, they would say, 'We need capital, we are growing quickly and we can't keep up with the demand,'" Singer recalled. "We are not just going to invest and sit back and watch it. We are really going to take an active role."
Singer joined Traub's consultancy in 2002, and serves as senior vice president. He was previously at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and, before that, worked on launching the U.S. version of the concierge service Quintessentially.
Magnusdottir, meanwhile, joined last November from Baugur U.K., where she had established the business venture unit, which focused on investing in young fashion businesses, including Williamson's, and the PPQ and Criminal clothing lines.
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