CircleUp Hires GMO Partner as First CIO in Quant Push

The San Francisco firm is bringing quantitative investing to private markets.

Neil Constable (photo via LinkedIn)

Neil Constable

(photo via LinkedIn)

Neil Constable has left GMO to become CircleUp’s first chief investment officer as the San Francisco firm pushes into systematic investing in private markets.

CircleUp, which invests in consumer companies, said Thursday that Constable joined the firm last month to oversee its expansion in systematic equity in private markets, discretionary equity, and credit. He had worked at Boston-based GMO since 2006, filling such roles as partner, head of global equity, and head of quantitative research.

Constable was primarily responsible for developing GMO’s quantitative security selection models and equity derivatives research, according to the statement. CircleUp is taking a quantitative approach to investing in entrepreneurs in the consumer sector, using proprietary technology that evaluates 1.4 million businesses.

“The private markets are one of the few areas that have remained untouched by the advent of data driven investing — until now,” Constable said in the statement. “The opportunity feels a lot like the early days of quant in the public markets from several decades ago.”

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CircleUp’s chief executive officer Ryan Caldbeck co-founded the investment firm in 2012. Late last year, he told Institutional Investor that CircleUp was planning to raise a systematic fund whose quantitative methods would give it an “information advantage” over traditional private market strategies.

At the time, his efforts drew both interest and skepticism that quantitative investing could be cracked within private equity.

“Neil brings deep quant expertise and a genuine intellectual curiosity for investing in innovation and the mission to help entrepreneurs thrive,” Caldbeck said in Thursday’s statement.