Karin O'Connor
Karin O'Connor

Clinical Assistant Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Print Overview

Karin O'Connor is the founder of Perimeter Advisors, an advisory firm that assists owners of promising mid-market companies with planning and execution of value enhancement strategies and is also an active investor in and advisor to early- and growth-stage companies and entrepreneurs.

Since beginning her career at Continental Bank in the 1980's, Karin has invested in and advised entrepreneurs in a variety of industries that includes financial services, business services, software, technology distribution, health care, manufacturing, and consumer services. She has invested at all levels of the capital structure - from senior debt to mezzanine, venture leasing, and equity - and in companies ranging from early stage to mature. She served as an independent director on the boards of several mid-market companies, including Trust Company of Illinois and Laurus Technologies, Inc., and is currently on the advisory boards of Aaron Equipment Company, North Shore Pediatric Therapy, and LumiSource LLC.

From 2011 until 2014, Karin served as Managing Director of Hyde Park Angels, Chicago's largest angel investor network. She invested as an angel in 15 early-stage companies and served as HPA'a representative on the boards of portfolio companies FeeFighters, which was acquired by Groupon, Inc. in 2012, and Moxie Jean, which was acquired by Schoola in 2015. She is currently a Venture Partner at Serra Ventures, an early-stage investment firm headquartered in Champaign, IL, and also serves as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Illinois Research Park, where she provides advice, counsel and training to start-up companies and prospective technology entrepreneurs, including university faculty and students.

Karin received her BA in Finance from the University of Illinois, where she graduated magna cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, where she was an F.C. Austin Scholar and was elected to Beta Gamma Sigma. Karin received a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) charter in 2007.

Print Vita
Master of Business Administration, 1989, Finance and Management Strategy, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
Bachelor of Arts, 1982, Finance, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Academic Positions
Clinical Assistant Professor of Innovation and Entreprenuership, Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2016-present

Other Professional Experience
Entrepreneur in Residence, Research Park at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, 2014-present
Advisory Board Member, Aaron Equipment Company, 2011-present
President, Perimeter Advisors, 2004-present
Advisory Board Member, Cadent Resources, Inc, 2003-present
Director and Investor, Moxie Jean, Inc, 2014-2015
Member and Managing Director, Hyde Park Angels, 2009-2015
Board Member, Neighborhood Capital Institute, 2009-2014
Board Member, FeeFighters, 2010-2012
Director, Laurus Technologies, 2007-2009
Director, Trust Company of Illinois, 2004-2009
Board Member, Anixter Center, 1999-2004
Consultant, BMO Nesbitt Burns Equity Partners (US), 2000-2001
Principal and Co-Founder, SBC Equity Partners, 1997-1999
Vice President and Group Head, ABN AMRO Bank, 1996-1996
Vice President, LINC Capital Management, 1991-1993
Senior Consultant, Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), 1989-1990
Second Vice President, Continental Bank, 1982-1989

Print Research

Print Teaching
Full-Time / Evening & Weekend MBA
Growth Strategy Practicum (KIEI-915-0)
While much media hype continues to focus on ‘launching’ new ventures, real value is created in actually ‘growing’ them. The Growth Strategy Practicum course is targeted at students who wish to develop their business execution skills by working on a real-life project with a growth-stage enterprise, putting their knowledge and skills to work to benefit an existing business. The course will be especially beneficial to students who aspire to: • Join a fast-growing enterprise in a senior management role • Acquire an existing business with a view toward rapid enterprise value growth • Execute growth initiatives in the context of a family-owned business Student teams will be assigned to strategically-important projects with Chicago-area companies and will work with guidance from faculty and selected mentors. Teams will meet with their clients three times (during class sessions) for collaboration, presentation, and feedback. Other class sessions will be devoted to exploration of topics relevant to running a growing business, including strategy, finance, marketing, and team building.

Executive MBA
Growth Strategy Practicum (STRTX-940-0)