Vermont Works believes that growth-stage capital and leading-edge, forward-leaning business mentorship are Vermont’s missing links to a more vibrant business and entrepreneurial environment.
Chairman & Managing Partner
- $5 billion of private equity invested in both domestic and international markets
- Investment experience in venture capital, growth capital, real estate and distressed debt
- Established and managed several award-winning managers of fiduciary capital
- Lead role in several domestic and global social impact investments
- Member of Board of Advisory, UVM Sustainable Entrepreneur MBA Program; Board of Directors, BTV Ignite
Chief Executive Officer
- Chief Investment Officer and senior fixed income executive with 35 years of comprehensive investment industry experience
- Recent positions, including CIO of Dwight Asset Management in Vermont, focused on team building and process transformation while improving accountability and investment performance
- Responsible for $90 billion AUM
- Successful track record as fiduciary to tens of billions of dollars of institutional capital in the form of retirement assets, mutual funds, and asset allocation strategies
- Founder & Managing Partner at Linea Capital
- Portfolio Manager at Värde Partners
- President at Cornerstone Resources
- Board Member at Weather Modification
- Entrepeneur-in-Residence at Cargill Ventures
- Founder of Cargill agriculture finance business line
- Co-Founder of Piper Jaffray Asset Securization business line
- Vice President at AIRFUND Corporation
- Manager of Credit and Debt Placement at AFG
The Kaufman Index of Entrepreneurship (“KIE”) is an annual report that measures entrepreneurship across the U.S. According to the most recent KIE, Vermont is Ranked #5 in the nation for Startup Activity, but only #49 for business Scale-ups.
The capital managed by Vermont Works will help tackle two major restraints holding back successful startups from becoming medium or large-sized businesses in their first ten years of operations:
- The absence of growth-stage equity capital; and
- New business acceleration through advice, guidance, and structured mentorship.
In addition to raising a $50 million social impact fund, Vermont Works will play a lead role in the development of an innovation hub that will leverage Vermont’s human capital, alongside educators and innovators from around the world, to foster a nurturing environment for startup and growth firms, with the goal of creating living-wage jobs and attracting or retaining youth and innovation to the State.
We also believe that Vermont can be a welcoming new home for existing businesses currently located out-of-state. As such, we will actively support “relocation-preneurs” with both funding and technical assistance.
By engaging in these activities, Vermont Works believes that it can help bend the State’s current demographic curve (declining and aging population) in a more promising direction.
Robert Miller is President and Chief Executive Officer of VSECU, a member-owned, not-for-profit, and democratically-controlled financial cooperative for anyone who lives or works in Vermont. Serves more than 60,000 member-owners through nine branch locations and employs over 170 employees. With cooperation at its core, VSECU strives to bring people together in diversified ways to create greater prosperity for society.
Business start-up, “going-private”, “turn-around”, real estate developer, and “relocation-preneur”, there are very few Vermont business challenges Liz has not taken on and succeeded to overcome. A graduate of both UVM Grossman School of Business and Middlebury College, Liz is a singularity within the Vermont Business Community; uniquely positioned to help create value within our portfolio of companies.
Dana is a seasoned corporate lawyer and risk manager. From 1995 to 2012, Dana was at Marsh & McLennan Companies, a global professional services firm. At MMC, Dana was General Counsel and Chief Risk Officer of Oliver Wyman Group, the global management and economic consulting businesses of MMC. Dana was the lead lawyer on 20 acquisitions and numerous strategic hires that helped grow the Oliver Wyman business from $300 million to $1.5 billion in annual revenues.
Churchill has 41 years of professional investment management experience. He’s the co-founder and is currently Chief Executive Officer of Acadian Asset Management (http://www.acadian-asset.com ), a $70 billion institutional asset manager based in Boston. Acadian specializes in active global and international equity strategies, and employs over 200 employees comprising a number of functional teams including portfolio management, research, trading, marketing and client service, investment operations, IT, and legal and compliance. A graduate of Middlebury College, Churchill is a member of the investment committee for the College’s $1 billion+ endowment, and was board chair from 2000 to 2004. He also serves on the investment committee of the Whitehead Institutes $470 million endowment.
Meg is the Director of The Vermont Women’s Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation (http://www.vermontcf.org), which supports women and girls in Vermont through collective philanthropic giving. With the support of many donors, the Women’s Fund has granted more than $2 million to organizations throughout Vermont. Today, the Fund focuses its grant-making on Vermont women and girls ages 12-25, with a strategic emphasis on programs that offer financial literacy and job and life-skill training. The Vermont Community Foundation, a $250 million foundation, is committed to building resources that will sustain healthy and vital Vermont communities now and into the future.
Our Vision for Vermont
The Vermont Works investment strategy will transfer forward-looking values that focus on job growth and the community. Vermont Works anticipates that its investment practices in Vermont will make a positive difference on building stable, long-lived, socially and environmentally responsible companies in the State of Vermont. The ultimate desired impact is to create sustainable jobs in Vermont which will help increase the retention rate of students and ultimately reverse the trend of a shrinking population between the ages of 25 and 44. By increasing the number of successful companies within Vermont, we can increase the employment opportunities available for individuals after college level education.
Supporting Business Growth in Vermont
We will invest primarily in expansion-stage businesses, characterized by strong customer validation, proven business models and robust forward business momentum. Up to 15% of our funds may also be invested in early-stage companies and the supporting infrastructure for these companies, such as accelerators, incubators, and maker spaces. While revenue is not a perfect indicator of customer and business model validation, it can be a good proxy for stage of development. Vermont Works anticipates that most of its portfolio companies will have annualized revenue of between $1.5 million and $5 million at the time of its investment.
Environmental, social, and governance issues are very important to Vermont Works. Our approach is highlighted below
Employment and Economic Development
- Build strong companies which expand economic opportunity, create good jobs, attract youth and innovation, promote ownership, and catalyze long-term growth
- Back companies that support policies that ensure a “living wage”
- Sustainable products and/or operations that minimize environmental impact
- Products or services that promote ecological and beneficial water, energy, and agricultural practices through efficiency gains and sustainable alternatives
Health and Wellness
- Improve health outcomes through food access and quality products and services
- Promote healthy lifestyles, access to healthcare, better education, training and human development