TPG Inc.'s Jim Coulter has a message for Wall Street: "Definitively, this is not an industry that we're trying to play catch up in."
Mr. Coulter is hoping to entice a new crowd of investors for the buyout firm he founded as Texas Pacific Group in 1992 alongside David Bonderman. It began trading Thursday on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol TPG after raising $1 billion in its U.S. initial public offering.
The shares, which sold for $29.50 in the IPO, opened at $33 and closed at $34, a 15% bump from the offer price, giving the company a market value of about $10 billion.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based firm comes to the public markets with a 30-year track record that includes early investments in Uber Technologies Inc. and Spotify Technology SA as well as a recent spinoff of its credit-investing arm. The focus now turns to the future for the company and shareholders looking to benefit from its access to startups and early stage businesses.
"For us, it's been how do we build TPG as a differentiated platform to grow for our investors over the next 30 years as we've grown over the last 30 years," Mr. Coulter said in an interview.
Peers including Blackstone Inc. KKR & Co., Carlyle Group, and Ares Management Corp. went public years ago. But timing is everything, Mr. Coulter said, and now more than ever "the market understands private equity better."
During the time its competitors have gone public, TPG examined what worked and what didn't and utilized that period to diversify the business, he said. That includes building a real estate platform and division targeting environmentally friendly businesses. Today the firm manages $109 billion in assets and has interests in more than 280 companies in 30 countries, according to its filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Its largest and oldest business is its traditional private equity arm, which has invested $79 billion since the early 1990s and generated a gross internal rate of return of 23%.
Jon Winkelried, the firm's chief executive officer, views the timing of the IPO as a "sweet spot." Going public doesn't necessarily alter the company's risk appetite or the formula that's worked for decades, he said.
"We're familiar with how to take a company public and how to think about it," said Mr. Winkelried, highlighting the firm's more than 50 portfolio assets that went public in the previous 10 years. "And what we've learned in that process is it's really about doing what you do and do it well, and that going public doesn't change what you do. It just welcomes in a new set of shareholders for the journey."
In the IPO, TPG and an existing strategic investor, China Life Insurance Group Co., sold almost 34 million shares Wednesday at the midpoint of the $28 to $31 range.
Mr. Coulter owns almost 3.5 million Class A shares, with Mr. Bonderman owning about 780,000. Together with Mr. Winkelried, they own all of the company's nearly 230 million Class B shares. At the current price, that block is worth about $7.6 billion and will also give them more than 97% of the shareholder voting power in the company, according to the filings.
Mr. Coulter said the firm is ready to welcome new, public shareholders into the fold. After all, listening to financial backers has been key to its success, he added.
"It's always been culturally important to us that investors do well with us," he said.