SAN FRANCISCO – Pequot Capital Management Inc. in early September hired Karen White, a former senior vice president of worldwide business development at Oracle Corp., as a general partner in the firm’s private equity group. White, who also became a principal of the firm, will lead Pequot Private Equity Group’s West Coast e-business private equity and venture capital investing practice.
Pequot’s private equity group, which backs both early- to expansion-stage technology, telecommunications and health-care companies, was looking to add a partner who possessed a strong background in operations, said Larry Lenihan, Jr., a managing director at the firm. “We really look to work with and build our portfolio companies,” he said, noting “we’re looking for people who have a deal making background and Karen’s background in business development is great – it’s exactly what we wanted.”
White left Oracle in June and spent the summer traveling with her daughter in Europe and thinking about what she wanted to do next. After receiving a variety of offers from several venture firms, as well as opportunities to become chief executive officer at a number of different companies, White decided to join Pequot. “I met Larry and the rest of the partners and liked the team very much – I just kept coming back for more meetings,” she said.
Before Joining Pequot, White worked at Oracle in a number of executive positions from 1993 to 2000. She was initially hired to run the company’s new media market development efforts. During her last three years at the company she directed Oracle’s worldwide business development efforts by trying to identify new market opportunities, potential business partners and customers. Prior to her time at Oracle, White was CEO of Egis Corp., an international high-technology consulting company specializing in emerging markets.
Lenihan said that White would have the same responsibilities as any partner at a VC firm. “She will be sourcing deals, processing deals and voting on each investment,” he said. “This is really a question of scale; the hard work is really what happens after an investment is made,” White added. “Our idea is to have a capable team in place, which can help companies grow. We wanted more bandwidth to deal with all the opportunities we see.”
Initially White will work out of Pequot’s San Francisco office. However, the firm is planning to open an office on the fabled Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley within the next year, at which point White will divide her time between the two offices, Lenihan added.
Pequot’s private equity group has raised five funds to date and currently invests out of two vehicles. Pequot Venture Partners LP, which backs seed- to early-stage companies, and Pequot Private Equity Partners Fund LP, which backs expansion-stage and some public companies. Pequot is currently in the process of raising a new expansion-stage vehicle, Lenihan said, but he declined to answer any additional questions about the fund. Pequot’s most recent early-stage fund, a $180 million vehicle, is currently 40% invested and should be completely committed by June or July 2001, Lenihan added.