Editor’s Note: A version of this story appears in the March edition of Preston Hollow People.
When it came to finding a name for his new company, Jim Thompson went the geographical route with Preston Hollow Capital. His first and perhaps more appropriately descriptive choice, Full Circle, was already taken.
That’s how Thompson and a handful of his colleagues feel about their new venture, an investment firm targeting a broad array of strategies including fixed-income, venture capital and private equity deals, along with alternative investing.
The Preston Hollow resident and finance industry veteran is president and CEO of the new company, which launched on Jan. 1 in a temporary office space in downtown Dallas. The firm’s permanent space should be ready this spring.
For Thompson, the experience is comparable to 1990, when he was a co-founder of Orix USA, the American subsidiary of Japan-based Orix Corp. He was an executive there for the past 23 years, and was the CEO for the past decade.
“We’re back on the street trying to find a new sponsor,” Thompson said. “The difference is that now we have more capital and a lot more experience.”
Thompson said Preston Hollow Capital started with about $100 million in capital, and will spend this year searching for partnerships with sponsors, including institutional investors such as endowments and pension funds.
During his tenure, Thompson helped build Orix from scratch into a company that earned more than $1.2 billion in revenue.
“I think it was at a point where it was time to do something different,” Thompson said. “There’s something about building a company that’s very attractive to me.”
Despite the limited capital, he is optimistic about his new venture — in part because the business climate is more attractive than it was in 1990, when Orix started during a period of global political unrest and economic volatility. By contrast, Thompson said the current economy should continue to show steady growth even as interest rates change.
A handful of Orix executives will form part of his new management team, although Thompson plans to continue hiring through the next few months.
Thompson also plans to build on his various philanthropic pursuits, including the Jim & Angela Thompson Foundation, which focuses on community service organizations in the Dallas area.
As a licensed pilot, he also founded the Blue Sky Educational Foundation, which promotes curriculum in schools that will encourage students to pursue careers in the science, technology, and aerospace industries.