Thoma Cressey Bravo

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Thoma Bravo
Private Ownership, Limited liability company
Industry Private Equity
Founded 1998; 19 years ago (1998)
Founder Carl Thoma, Bryan Cressey
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois, United States
San Francisco, California, United States
Products Investments, private equity funds
Total assets $1.5 billion
Number of employees
Thoma Cressey Equity Partners logo in use prior to 2007 when the firm changed its name

Thoma Bravo, formerly Thoma Cressey Bravo and Thoma Cressey Equity Partners, is an American private equity and growth capital firm based in Chicago and San Francisco. As of 2008, the firm has raised more than $1.5 billion in investor commitments.

The firm principally invests in high-growth industries, including health care and software.

Thoma Bravo invests through a series of private limited partnerships and its investors include a variety of pension funds, endowments and other institutional investors. Following its separation from GTCR (discussed below), Thoma Cressey raised three private equity funds:

  • 1998 — Fund VI, ($450 million)
  • 2001 — Fund VII ($555 million)
  • 2006 — Fund VIII ($765 million)
  • 2016 - Fund XII ($7.6 billion)[1]


Thoma Cressey Equity Partners, which was renamed Thoma Cressey Bravo to reflect the growing role of partner Orlando Bravo, was founded in 1998 following the separation of Golder Thoma Cressey Rauner (GTCR), a large Chicago-based private equity firm.

The firm's earliest predecessor Golder Thoma & Co. was founded in 1980 by Stanley Golder and Carl Thoma. In the 1970s, Golder built the private equity program at First Chicago Corp.[2] where he is noted primarily for backing Federal Express and for efforts as chairman of the National Venture Capital Association and the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies to change federal laws allowing pensions to invest in private equity.[3] Golder Thoma received much of its initial funding from William M. Blair and upon leaving First Chicago, Golder was replaced by John Canning, Jr. who would go on to found rival Chicago private equity firm Madison Dearborn.

In 1984, after recruiting Bryan Cressey to join the firm from First Chicago, the firm's name was changed to Golder Thoma Cressey and with the promotion of Bruce Rauner to partner the firm would come to be known as Golder, Thoma, Cressey, Rauner, Inc. (GTCR), although it would still often be referred to as Golder Thoma.[4]

In 1998, disagreements between the senior partners led Golder, Thoma, Cressey, Rauner, Inc. split into two private equity firms. Both firms continue to invest primarily through consolidations of specific industries, referred to as roll-ups:

  • Thoma Cressey Equity Partners, (Carl Thoma and Bryan Cressey) based in Chicago and San Francisco. Thoma Cressey would be renamed Thoma Chressey Bravo to reflect the growing role of partner Orlando Bravo.
  • GTCR Golder Rauner, (Stanley Golder and Bruce Rauner), the $8 billion private equity firm, based in Chicago, commonly referred to as GTCR. GTCR founder Stanley Golder died in 2000 and today the firm is led by Bruce Rauner along with several partners (David Donnini, Ned Jannotta, et al.).

In 2008, Bryan Cressey left Thoma Cressey Bravo with several investment professionals to form Cressey & Co. a small healthcare focused private equity firm.[5][6]

Thoma Cressey Bravo became Thoma Bravo after Cressey’s departure, led by managing partners Carl Thoma, Orlando Bravo, Lee Mitchell and Scott Crabill. The firm closed its 9th fund in March 2009 with $822.5 million.[7]

External links[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Today part of JPMorgan Chase through its acquisition of BankOne
  3. ^ Private Equity Pioneer Golder Dies. Buyouts, January 24, 2000. A cached version of the article can be found here.
  4. ^ Stanley C. Golder, a donor profile at the UIUC website
  5. ^ "Dealmakers' boot camp; Golder Thoma: A buyout industry proving ground", Crain's Chicago Business, September, 2004 by Steve Daniels
  6. ^ "Personality Profile: Cressey Takes Specialization To The Next Level." Buyouts, June 23, 2008
  7. ^ "Thoma Bravo Completes Fundraising" Bloomberg, March 16, 2009