Scaling up

Millennium Technology Ventures brings on a new CFO as part of a dramatic expansion plan

New York firm Millennium Technology Ventures has hired a new chief financial officer: Jonathan Glass, formerly vice president of finance and controller of Venrock Associates. Glass joined the firm in early May, replacing outgoing CFO Michael Minars.

Prior to Venrock, Glass was at Greenbriar Equity Group, and before that, served as a tax manager at Deloitte & Touche working with private equity and other financial institutions.

“I was interested in Millennium for several reasons,” he told PEI Manager. “One was the chance to join a small, entrepreneurial team. Whenever you go from a big firm to a smaller firm, you have the chance to get involved in a lot of business decisions. The track record of Millennium was also very impressive. And I think it was a great opportunity given the climate in the market, in confluence with Millennium's strategy.”

In addition to its venture fund, Millennium has a “value fund” that provides liquidity for individual investors and institutions, the latter including Goldman Sachs, Dell and UBS. In mid-2007, Millennium began noticing a growing need for liquidity among venture-backed companies, says managing partner and co-founder Sam Schwerin. That growing need has accelerated to a crisis point, Schwerin says, a view that is shared by the National Venture Capital Association.

“The average venture-backed business takes 8.5 years to exit via IPO, and those are companies that are successful,” Schwerin says. “Those that are not successful take 10 years or more. And we're finding the average in the last three or four years has been about nine years old. So what you find is a very acute need for liquidity in venture-backed businesses, across the board but particularly in today's time period.”

As a result, around June of last year Millennium began drawing up an expansion plan in order to better equip the firm to fill this liquidity gap. In addition to Glass, Millennium will add seven more senior and associate level employees by the first half of 2009, doubling the firm's staff. The firm has also just completed a move to a new location on Third Avenue in Manhattan, tripling its office space.

Making sure Millennium's operations and infrastructure evolve to handle the expansion is a key part of Glass's role. Schwerin and co-founder Dan Burstein both came out of The Blackstone Group, and Schwerin says Millennium inherited the Blackstone philosophy of “doing everything right and doing it once.”

“Coming from Venrock and having as strong a background as Jon does, he really allows us to expand the best of breed practice that we use every day in our investment activities, into the infrastructure and aggressive scaling of the Millennium franchise not only to that next level, but also really driving growth over the next 10 to 15 years,” Schwerin says.

NAPF explains PE to UK pensions
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Blackstone: Blame FAS 157
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FPL study shows ‘somber’ real estate market
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