Challenges in Middle Market
PE and Early Stage VC Investing:
New Ideas and Strategies

Innovative Approaches to Growth Equity Investing

Carl Thoma
Founder and Managing Partner, Thoma Bravo

Carl Thoma is a managing partner of Thoma Bravo, LLC which manages private equity funds. Thoma Bravo currently is managing $2.5 billion and was one of the early partnerships in private equity launching their first fund in 1980. All recent funds since 2000 have held top quality performance.

Thoma began his career in private equity with the First National Bank of Chicago. In 1980, he founded a private equity firm now known as Thoma Bravo, LLC. His firm has invested more than $4 billion in growing companies over the past 35 years. Thoma has been acknowledged in Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, and Business Week for his investment leadership. He is most noted for his success in Pagenet, where his firm made over 100 times their investment and secured numerous cellular licenses that are now a critical part of AT&T cellular network. Thoma has served as chairman of the National Venture Capital Association and the Illinois Venture Capital Association, on the board of the Copia, the American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, Northwestern Evanston Hospital Board and the Illinois Institution of Technology. He has also served on the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Oklahoma State University School for Entrepreneurship Advisory Boards.

Carl Thoma earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics in 1970 from Oklahoma State University and completed his MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in 1973. He now resides in Chicago and has two adult children. His interests include art, music, wine and investing.

Garrick M. Rice ’99
Managing Director, Sterling Partners

Mr. Rice joined Sterling in 2001 and is a member of the Investment Committee and co-chair of Sterling's healthcare investing practice. As managing director, Mr. Rice works on all aspects of the deal process including identification and due diligence of prospective acquisitions, and management and oversight of the active portfolio. Mr. Rice currently works with the following portfolio companies: Ameritox, Educate, Educate Online, and Optimer Brands. He is a previous board member of Paradigm Outcomes and Pacific Interpreters.

Prior to Sterling, Mr. Rice was an Associate with Bank of America where he worked on leveraged finance deals. He also served as Manager of Corporate Finance with Einstein/Noah Bagel Corp, and as an investment banking Associate with Robert W. Baird. He has also worked as the Director of Business Development for FOB Inc., a start-up enterprise software company.

Mr. Rice received his BBA with distinction from the University of Michigan Business School and MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.

Paul Peterson
Managing Director, Wind Point Partners

Paul joined Wind Point in 2000. Paul serves on the boards of Argotec, Interface Solutions, Petmate and Rupari Foods. Prior to Wind Point, Paul was an analyst with Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin, a middle market investment bank. Paul holds a BBA in finance from the University of Iowa and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Kelly Cornelis
Partner, LaSalle Capital

Kelly joined LaSalle in 2005 and is responsible for sourcing investment opportunities, overseeing due diligence, structuring and negotiating transactions, portfolio management and investor relations. Prior to joining LaSalle, Kelly was a Vice President at SB Partners, a lower middle market private equity firm. Before joining SB Partners, she worked for William Blair & Company in the Corporate and Debt Finance departments. A Moline, Illinois, native, Kelly holds a BBA from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.