An investment firm that was once part of Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen’s family office is targeting private credit as it looks to expand globally.

Cercano Management sees direct lending as its biggest growth area this year and plans to hire three people to help in the effort, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The firm, formerly known as Vulcan Capital, was spun out of the late billionaire's family office in late 2021 as a standalone business catering to the world’s super-rich.

Cercano still oversees investment assets for the estate and family foundation of Allen, who died in 2018. It’s led by former Vulcan Capital Chief Investment Officer Chris Orndorff and manages about $10 billion on behalf of ultra-high-net worth individuals in areas including public markets, private equity and fixed income, regulatory filings show.

A representative for Bellevue, Washington-based Cercano declined to comment.

Cercano joins a growing number of firms targeting a burgeoning corner of the credit market after rate hikes and economic uncertainty stymied traditional debt options for borrowers last year. Private lending is prospering amid a retreat by investment banks, which are struggling to shift tens of billions of dollars of debt off their balance sheets.

Cercano is also looking to hire people in Singapore to ramp up investments in Southeast Asia, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the details are private. Led by former private equity executive Tommy Teo, Vulcan Capital’s Singapore team has also become part of Cercano.

Allen started Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975 and left eight years later. Over the next three decades, he turned his stake into a $26 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Through Vulcan, Allen acquired the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League and the National Basketball Association’s Portland Trail Blazers, helping to make his investment firm one of the world’s biggest family offices.

Allen had no spouse or children to inherit his empire. His sister Jody is chair of Vulcan Inc., which helps oversee a real estate business with extensive holdings in Seattle as well as the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. 

Clients typically need at least $100 million to establish an account with Cercano, filings show, and can include foundations tied to wealthy families. 

Cercano surfaced as an investor this year in US health-care startups SwipeRx and Ferrum Health. It also disclosed this month it had $2.5 billion is US stocks at year-end, including a $408.9 million stake in Microsoft.      

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.