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Lionel Pincus dies at 78

The founder of Warburg Pincus - the 11th largest private equity firm in the world - was one of the early pioneers of the private equity and venture capital industry. His death reportedly followed a long illness.

Lionel Pincus, the founder of private equity firm Warburg Pincus, has died at age 78.

Pincus formed Warburg Pincus, one of the largest private equity firms in the world today, via the 1966 merger of Lionel I Pincus & Co, his financial consultancy firm, and investment bank EM Warburg & Co.

Lionel Pincus

Warburg Pincus was one of the pioneers of the venture capital model, raising its first fund – the $41 million EMW Ventures – in 1971. Since then the firm has grown to become the 11th largest private equity firm in the world, according to the PEI Media's ranking of the 300 largest firms globally, having raised $23 billion in fresh capital over the last five years.

Headquartered in New York, Warburg Pincus currently has more than 100 companies in its portfolio in sectors such as energy, technology, media and telecommunications, financial services, healthcare and life sciences, retail, consumer and industrial and real estate.

''We are deeply saddened by the death of our founder and retired chairman, Lionel Pincus,'' said a statement from Warburg Pincus co-presidents Charles Kaye and Joseph Landy in a written statement, “For those of us who knew and had the good fortune to work with Lionel, we witnessed first hand how he helped to create and shape the modern venture capital and private equity industry.”

We witnessed first-hand how he helped to create and shape the modern venture capital and private equity industry.

Charles Kaye and Joseph Landy

They added: “His legacy lives on in the values and investment principles of our firm. We will all remember Lionel with great admiration and appreciation.”

Lionel Pincus was involved with a number of philanthropic concerns during his life, including significant work with his alma mater Columbia University.

He was also one of the founding directors of the National Venture Capital Association, an organisation that in 2002 awarded him the Lifetime Achievement in Venture Capital Award.

A spokesperson told the New York Times his death followed a long illness.