Bridges hires third partner for US team

Miller will focus on the operational side for the firm in the US.

Impact investor Bridges Ventures has hired a third partner for its US team, Private Equity International can reveal.

Don Miller will join Brian Telstad and John Rogers as a partner in the firm’s New York office, bringing the full-time US team to five.

Miller was most recently a leader of PwC’s PE Value Creation team in the US and previously spent eight years at San Francisco-based Gryphon Investors. Most of the latter spell was spent working alongside John Rogers, who was hired by Bridges before the summer, with the pair working closely on a number of deals.

Miller will focus on the operational side, working to help management teams to develop their value proposition, maximise their impact and scale up any necessary infrastructure.

“Some people think that social impact is not consistent with commercial success. But the two are not mutually exclusive; in fact they can be complementary. We think that by focusing on the former, you do better at the latter,” Miller said, noting that as Bridges Ventures US Sustainable Growth Fund is a small fund “we all wear many hats.”

Rogers focuses on deals, Telstad focuses on impact and Miller will look after operations.

The US fund launched in June 2014 targeting $100m, and as of July 2015, it had raised almost $46m. The US team is also quite close to hiring another deal specialist to complete the team.

“We expect to add one more deal VP to the team as we invest this fund, which will bring our US team, including our executives in residence, to ten,” Miller said.

So far the fund has made just one US investment in Massachusetts low-cost educational group Springboard. A couple more deals are believed to be relatively close however.

“In the past year we looked at close to 500 companies. We selected about 100 for further assessment – and wrote preliminary investment documents for about 20 percent of those,” he said.

Rogers told PEI: “We think companies that are helping to solve big societal challenges in areas like education and healthcare have a huge growth opportunity. With Don's input, we can help them to maximise their potential.”

Miller added: “Our aim is to leverage our worldwide experience as proven operators and investors to help our companies succeed commercially and have more social impact. We’re finding that this message really resonates with mission-driven entrepreneurs who are looking for aligned capital from a credible investor.”

The firm closed its third UK-focused fund, Bridges Community Ventures Fund III at £125 million in October 2013.