Millennium hires chief financial officer, triples Manhattan footprint

Millennium Technology Ventures, a Blackstone spin-out, has hired a new CFO from Venrock Associates -- just one part of a dramatic expansion plan.

New York firm Millennium Technology Ventures has hired Jonathan Glass as its chief financial officer.
Glass, formerly vice president of finance and controller of Venrock Associates, 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 sister publication 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.”

That strategy is one of aggressive expansion in order to take advantage of what Millennium sees as an opportunity in the current market, says managing partner and co-founder Sam Schwerin. 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. 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 eight-and-a-half years to exit via IPO, and those are companies that are successful,” Schwerin says. “Those that are not successfully 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, the firm has hired a new associate, Brian Waterhouse, formerly an analyst at Longbow Holdings, and expects to double its staff by mid-2009.

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.

Millennium was founded by Schwerin and Dan Burstein in 2000 after spinning out from The Blackstone Group.