Friday, December 19, 2008

Karen Gordon Mills: Who???

So Obama apparently is about to name Karen Gordon Mills to run the Small Business Administration. Mills is apparently a venture capitalist who splits her time between Maine and Manhattan.

Check out the hyper-informative Web sites of her two firms, Solera Capital and MMP Group.

Doesn't this woman know the Obama administration is all about transparency?

Solera, according to some quick Google searches, owns the mac-and-cheese company Annie's Homegrown and has also invested in a chain called Calypso Christiane Celle, which sells women's apparel and accessories.

According to this piece from the Harvard Business School alumni newsletter, she worked for McKinsey & Co. and the leveraged buyout firm E.S. Jacobs & Co.

From that piece:

    Solera, which Mills cofounded in 2000 with a group of other investment professionals, has $250 million under management and specializes in later-stage invest-ments in companies that could use a boost in capital to grow substantially. “Our operating philosophy is to invest about $15–20 million in each deal and take a controlling interest,” notes Mills. “We like to be the capital that comes in to grow the business to the next level — build the next plant, make an acquisition, or expand the brand.”

    What makes Solera unique, she adds, is its research-intensive focus and the fact that its four managing partners are women. “But we're not a firm that invests only in women-owned companies,” says Mills. “What we've done is build a network — beyond our usual network — of powerful women executives, including HBS classmates Orit Gadiesh and Ann Fudge, who help us in deals with knowledge and access.”

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Anonymous John Stack said...

I think its refreshing to see someone who formed a small business and took it to the next level. Who???? might be ok (for once.)
The SBA needs some new energy and a significant push in this economic climate - in fact, I wish Venture firms would get more involved with the SBA and break it out of its current staid, almost moldy type of thinking.
Additionally, if they were to adopt a WPA- oriented format (considering the times), I believe there are more than a few folks out there that could breathe new life into existing firms if the appropriate programs were established.
I'll be waiting to see if/how politics stymies their offerings or if they can break out and do some truly innovative things that would help our economy. Every company you can think of was small to begin with…

December 20, 2008 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Roger Hopkins said...

That she was recommended by Sen. Olympia Snowe, ranking R on the Senate Entrepreneurship and Small Business Committee, and served on Hillary Clinton's campaign (above comes from second-hand Web-based info) says much about PEOTUS Obama's desire to build a team, not just with talent but with possibly divergent views and opinions. These are facinating and exciting times for idealists and long-suffering SBA employees such as me; I hope our trust in Mr. Obama to rebuild the SBA has been well placed.

December 21, 2008 5:38 PM  

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