Privately-held alternative investment firm founded in 2000 to focus on special situation opportunities (structural sweet spots created by globalization, evolving business cycles and innovation).
Sponsor of differentiated investment platforms focused on value creation opportunities in inefficient sectors, strategies and regions overlooked or underdeveloped by the marketplace:
Founded PacifiCap Group as the primary shareholder in 2000 with co-founders Jeffrey Au and Theodore Liu. PacifiCap and affiliates became the largest private equity firm based in Hawaii and lead, co-lead and participated in over $450mm in equity financing rounds
Co-founded Peninsula Real Estate Partners with Samuel Chung to develop real estate merchant banking business. Structured, arranged and advised on over $500mm in real estate transactions since its founding in 2005 to 2008.
Opportunistic Investing - Shifted focus to opportunistic real estate principal investments, and sponsored value added real estate investments in hotels and developments projects.
Hospitality - Developing hospitality focused platform to address changing lifestyles currently under served by the marketplace.
Natural Resources - Value added opportunities in oil & gas and mining sector. Sample investments include oil & gas E&P's Sugih Energy in Indonesia, and Tera Resource in Bashkortostan (approximately 400 million barrels of oil reserves).
Cross Border Arbitrage - Cross border value creation is one of the hallmark of Jupiter’s strategy.
Our investment philosophy and approach is often referred to as “special situations,” where we seek to find deep value in complex situations. Once we acquire an asset, we attempt to de-clutter the complexity, and create value through fundamental operating and strategic improvements.
Only pursue opportunities where we have distinct competitive advantage and visible ability to execute and options to exit
From growth investment to distressed situations, the core to Jupiter’s strategy is value driven at investment and value creation focused towards an exit.
Our Core Values
Rick Cho is founder of Jupiter Group and its affiliates (“Jupiter”) with over 26 years of experience in alternative investments. Since its founding in 2000, Mr. Cho has been focused on sponsoring and developing platforms in alternative assets such as private equity and real estate. Jupiter and its affiliates have transacted over $1.0 billion dollars in principal and advisory transactions since its founding. Mr. Cho’s expansive experience in domestic and international investments in various parts of the capital structure, company life-cycle and diverse industries has formed the nexus of Jupiter’s multi-disciplined capital preservation and cross-border arbitrage focus. Mr. Cho has a unique track record of realizing successful exits in different industries including, but not limited to, real estate, hotels, communications, IT, renewables and oil & gas.
Mr. Cho founded Jupiter at age 28 when he returned to Hawaii (his home state) to attend to a family illness. He co-founded PacifiCap in the same year, and built it into the largest private equity firm based in Hawaii with initial seed funding from the State of Hawaii. In the first 3 years, PacifiCap exceeded its matching investment criteria set by the State of Hawaii by more than 100 times (over $350mm). PacifiCap’s co-investors included by not limited to Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, AIG Global Investors, Kleiner Perkins, Morningside, UBS and etc. To this day, no other fund manager seeded by the State of Hawaii has achieved this type of matching and breadth of co-investment into Hawaii companies.
In 2003, Mr. Cho acquired a 51% interest in Hansol Mutual Savings Bank, the largest mutual savings bank in Korea from the Hansol Group (Samsung family). PacifiCap invested in over dozen companies including FreshDirect, ABC series Lost, Iris Wireless, Pihana and others. Mr. Cho lead the development of many of its portfolio companies’ Asian strategies and secured partnerships and contracts with AsiaLink, Korea Telecom, SK Telink, China Unicom, China Mobile and etc. In 2005, Mr. Cho founded Peninsula Real Estate Partners with partner Samuel Chung and invested and secured approximately $500mm of debt and equity financings. Seeing the economy and the industry move far away from his value oriented core, Jupiter divested all of its real estate assets by 2007 and 2008 and also exited many of its venture portfolio.
Despite achieving significant returns on its structured venture funds and its real estate investments, Mr. Cho has not raised a blind pool fund since 2004 as realizing outsized returns were increasingly difficult within a traditional fund structure. Instead, Mr. Cho pursued a proprietary approach using its own capital as the core of its risk capital, and pursue a highly entrepreneurial and flexible type of special situation investing. Using this approach, Mr. Cho was able to realize favorable returns on its portfolio investments including but not limited to Royal Garden Hotel, Akeena Solar, China Advanced Construction, Sugih Energy, Waikiki Gateway Hotel and others.
Prior to founding Jupiter, Mr. Cho was associated with Morgan Stanley’s Special Situations Group in New York where he was involved in the acquisition of distressed loans in S. Korea. At Crown Capital, an investment firm founded by Peter Ackerman, Mr. Cho focused on its communications investments including being a founding member and only full time person for ARC Spectrum Corp. a wireless telecom venture with $1.7BB in commitments from its strategic partners (Nortel, Qualcomm, Hughes Networks) and investors (CIBC, Crown Capital). Previously, Mr. Cho was a Vice President with King Street Capital Management (one of the largest special situation hedge funds) as the first VP level hired by the two founding partners when it managed $85MM. Mr. Cho started his institutional investment management career as a financial analyst with Jones Lang Wootton Realty Advisors (now Clarion Partners) in New York. Later, he was a one of three professionals to start the West Coast office in Seattle.
Mr. Cho’s investment approach has been influenced by his experience being an active investor and participant during the early to mid 90s real estate cycle, the Asian financial crisis of late 90s through early 2000's fast growing telecom and wireless market since telecom act of 1996 through its collapse in 2001, as well as the real estate downturn in 2008. Mr. Cho believes that superior risk adjusted returns can be achieved when timing, deep copious understanding, execution ability and hard work are synthesized correctly.
Mr. Cho serves on number of boards of its portfolio companies as well as not for profit boards. He was the youngest ever member of the Board of Governors (and past Trustee) of Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) the largest Asia Pacific telecom organization, Advisory Board of Chaminade University’s Hogan Entrepreneurs and others. Mr. Cho has been a speaker and panelist at MIT’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Conference, MIT’s GLOBALTies Symposium, Redherring Conference, PTC’s Annual Conference and number of other conferences in private equity, venture capital and international investing. Mr. Cho is a graduate of University of Washington with a degree in Business Administration.
Theodore Liu co-founded PacifiCap Group, LLC in 2000, an affiliate of Jupiter. In 2003, the state of Hawaii's first Republican Governor Linda Lingle appointed Mr. Liu to head the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT). During his tenure, Hawaii’s economy underwent an entire business cycle: from low GDP and budget deficit in 2003; to among highest GDP and personal income growth rate in the U.S. with budget surpluses in 2006 – 2007; through severe global financial crisis recession of 2008 – 2009; and to recovery commencing QIII 2009.
Some highlights during his career include:
Appointed by U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez to President Bush’s national Strengthening America’s Communities Advisory Committee, 2005 – 2007.
As State’s statutory Energy Resources Coordinator, conceptualized and implemented “Energy for Tomorrow” in 2006 and “Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative” (HCEI) in 2008, an acknowledged model for integrated transformation of energy systems.
Conceptualized and implemented “Hawaii Innovation Initiative”, 2006, recognized by the National Governors Association and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Established the Creative Industries Division, with strategic focus on developing Hawaii’s creative and artistic assets in film, digital media, music, writing and publishing, arts and performing arts. Obtained the inaugural GRAMMY™ Hawaiian Music Category. Launched the Music Enterprise Learning Experience (MELE) in collaboration with Mike Curb Business School, Belmont University in Nashville.
Obtained approval for official Hawaii Representative Office in Beijing, China.
Oversaw restructuring of public housing agency under a HUD “Corrective Action Order” in 2003 into the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation, producing approximately 5,000 affordable units during tenure and 4,000 more units under development.
Chaired 15 boards and commissions, in economic development, high technology development, technology incubators and water-front land development.
Prior to PacifiCap, Mr. Liu was a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. and also served as the Chief Operating Officer of Asia Investment Banking Department and Head of Morgan Stanley’s China, Hong Kong and Taiwan investment banking businesses. During his tenure, Mr. Liu's department raised over $6 billion of capital for clients; led over $3 billion in M&A transactions; oversight of $30 million buy-out fund. Mr. Liu also established Morgan Stanley’s Shanghai and Beijing Representative Offices and Shanghai Stock Exchange trading seat. As Chief Operating Officer for Asia, Mr. Liu managed 127 professionals in 9 offices; responsible for management, planning, budgeting and managing P&L.
While at Morgan Stanley, Mr. Liu was the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of China International Capital Corporation "CICC" (on secondment from Morgan Stanley). Mr. Liu participated in conceptualization, negotiation and execution of China International Capital Corporation (CICC), China’s first joint venture investment bank with partners China Construction Bank, China National Guaranty Corporation and Government Investment Corporation of Singapore. Mr. Liu guided obtaining regulatory approvals and start-up as Deputy C.E.O and co-headed the Investment Banking Division.
Prior to Morgan Stanley, Mr. Liu established and headed Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom's China Practice Group. At Skadden, Mr. Liu lead a wide range of general corporate advisory, M&A and banking transactions and provided legal and transactional advice to multinational and Asian clients on cross border financing and acquisitions. Mr. Liu established and headed the firm’s Hong Kong Office in 1999 and Beijing Office in 2001.
Mr. Liu started his career as an associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York. Mr. Liu's developed a keen interest in China since being a member of the founding staff of China Daily in 1980, China's first english language newspaper.
Mr. Liu seats on number of for profit and non-profit boards including but not limited to Referentia, LiveAction, Aloha Urgent Care, GVS Accelerator, Honua Studios, University of Nations and etc.
Mr. Liu graduated with J.D. from New York University Law School and B.A. from University of Michigan.