Carlyle’s Rubenstein on being a rainmaker

The investment firm's co-founder tells PERE sister magazine PEI why he took on the fundraising role, what modern rainmakers need to know and what he looked for in the early days.

As PERE sister publication Private Equity International counted the industry’s top 50 fundraisers, the magazine spoke with Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein.

When Carlyle was launched in 1987, Rubenstein – who did not have the same financial background as has his co-founders – took on the role that others “did not want to do:” fundraiser. “In the food chain, investing was considered to be a higher calling than fundraising,” he tells PEI.

Carlyle now manages nearly $200 billion in investor capital.

The role of the “rainmaker” is not as relevant as it once was, adds Rubenstein. “With the amount of due diligence, compliance and legal factors, it’s very unlikely that anyone is going to be able to persuade investors to go into a fund by themselves,” he says. “The fundraiser’s role now is really knowing which investors are worth pursuing. It’s keeping up with contacts, maintaining goodwill with investors and knowing which investors to put the fund heads in front of.”

What did Rubenstein look for when recruiting in the early days? “People who were reasonably intelligent, hard-working, were willing to ask people for money and who really thought getting investors into these funds was going to be a good thing for them.”

Carlyle started investing in real estate in 1997.

You can find PEI‘s full Rainmaker 50 fundraisers list here.