After a surprisingly resilient fundraising market last year, private equity kicked off 2021 with similar excitement, piling up record amounts of dry powder.

To date, GPs have amassed roughly $50bn for 58 European-focused funds, a sum more than three times the $18.5bn amassed in the same period in 2020, Preqin data reveals.

At the same time, buyout funds kept getting bigger. Still, according to Preqin, the average size of funds raised in the first quarter was $771m, above the $649m mark reported in the whole of 2020.

Just yesterday, Ardian announced its largest-ever buyout strategy, closed at €7.5bn hard cap. The Paris-based firm is one of the many PE houses that quickly adapted to the new remote work reality brought about by Covid-19.

Similarly, Peak Rock Capital closed its third vehicle at $2bn to make investments in North America and Europe; and French firm PAI Partners pocketed €920m for its debut mid-market fund.

Other firms have also kept busy but managed to raise more modest strategies in terms of size.

Last month, pan-European private equity firm of its third fund with €565m in commitments; Triton spin-out Klar Partners wrapped up its inaugural fund at €600m and New York-headquartered Riverside collected €465m for its latest European-focused fund. Meanwhile, in January, London-based Oakley Capital closed its €455m Origin Fund.

Despite Covid-19 disruption around the world, firms’ appetite shown so far points to another strong fundraising year. The ten largest strategies with a primary focus on Europe currently on the market are targeting around $52.4bn in capital, according to Preqin.

GPs who have raised four or more funds accounted for about 78% of the capital raised by private capital funds since 2006, as of 31 December, according to PitchBook's 2020 Annual Private Fund Strategies report. Emerging managers, with three funds or fewer on their resume, accounted for the rest.


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