An Independent Alternative Investment Firm Supporting Vermont’s Job & Economic Development

Vermont Works Management Co., LLC

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.

Robert Zulkoski

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

Click here to read Robert’s full bio

Frank Koster

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

Click here to read Frank’s full bio

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.

 

Our Directors

Terry Mollner

Benefit Director

Send an email Visit on Linkedin  

Terry is one of the global pioneers of socially responsible business and investing. Terry was one of the founders of the first family of socially responsible mutual funds, the Calvert Social Funds, and took the lead to create the Calvert Foundation that has raised and loaned billions of dollars around the world to reduce poverty. In 2000, he was instrumental in saving one of Vermont’s most iconic companies – Ben & Jerry’s. With the Ben & Jerry’s board, he negotiated a contract that obligates Unilever to allow Ben & Jerry’s to maintain Ben & Jerry’s social activism – which Unilever has now adopted worldwide.

Click here to read Terry’s full bio

Rob Miller

Vermont Community Director

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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.

Click here to read Rob’s full bio

Liz Robert

Vermont Entrepreneurship Director

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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.

Click here to read Liz’s full bio

 

Dana Bolton

Risk Management & Compliance Director

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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.

Click here to read Dana’s full bio

 

Newsroom

Investors hope to raise $50M for Vermont growth companies

By dan D’Ambrosio

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Sustainable Business: a catalyst of innovation and investment returns

By Robert Zulkoski

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It’s better to light a single candle than curse the darkness

By Robert Zulkoski

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Press Release – VSECU Teams Up with Vermont Works to Support New Investment in Vermont

By Robert Zulkoski

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Helping Innovation Become A “Common Place”​

By Robert Zulkoski

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Press Release – Mayor Miro Weinberger and BTV Ignite Announce New Executive Director

By Robert Zulkoski

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The Case for Collaboration…and the Dangers of Parochialism

By Robert Zulkoski

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Vermont Works Management Company LLC Announces Executive Director for Vermont Innovation Commons, and a New Board Member

By Robert Zulkoski

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Press Release – Vermont Works and The University of Vermont Business School Announce New Career Development System to Aid Students

By Robert Zulkoski

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Why Invest in Vermont

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.

Investments

Our Strategy

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 Living

  • 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

During our rigorous investment process, we examine company management, governance ownership, risks, and ESG disclosures. Each company must be approved by the investment committee before an investment is made.