“It would be great if we were growing fast enough to hire someone,” said Chris Schelling, who this week said he was leaving Texas Municipal Retirement System to join Windmuehle Companies as managing director in late April. “That’s the goal.”
Founded in 2018 by Robert C. Lee III, Windmuehle Companies in Austin, Texas offers an “umbrella” vehicle to which investors “subscribe” without committing capital upfront, said Schelling. Instead, the firm presents investors with individual opportunities, one at a time, that they can opt in or out of.
The firm targets alternative investments that don’t neatly fit into traditional buckets such as private equity or venture capital. Possible investment categories include specialty lending, private credit, litigation finance, life settlements, royalties and distressed investments. The firm pursues a mix of direct investments, co-investments and fund commitments.
Schelling joined TMRS in early 2015 with an unusual opportunity to build a private equity portfolio from scratch. As director of private equity he supervised commitments of $2.7 billion to some 45 funds–roughly 55 percent buyout, 35 percent growth equity and a small slice of venture capital.
The portfolio tilts toward smaller funds; three-quarters are below $2.5 billion in size. Schelling said that such funds should fare well through the next economic cycle, since they tend to use less leverage and pay lower prices than larger funds. The portfolio also includes a significant population of emerging-manager funds.
The private equity team at TMRS has consisted of Schelling and two analysts. Schelling said he thought TRMS would hire a new PE director to replace him; PECN was unable to reach the communications director at the retirement system for comment.
A highly regarded voice in the private equity market, Schelling said he would like to continue writing his regular column for Institutional Investor magazine.