Laura Pearl has over twenty years of private equity investing experience. She joined Chicago-based Frontenac Company in early 1985, after spending four years at the National and Chicago offices of Ernst & Young. She was promoted to partner in 1987, coincident with the closing of Frontenac Venture V Limited Partnership, a $100 million fund. She and her partners raised Frontenac VI in 1993 ($220 million), Frontenac VII in 1997 ($300 million) and Frontenac VIII ($560 million) in 2000. She has participated in a number of investments in a wide range of industries including healthcare services, financial services, retail, manufacturing and industrial distribution.
Ms. Pearl has served on the board of directors of a number of companies, including Levy Restaurants, Platinum Entertainment, Whitehall Jewellers, Homex Healthcare Corporation, Genderm Corporation, O.N.E., Inc., and Apex Specialty Materials. In addition, she has served on the Entrepreneurial Advisory Board of the University of Chicago and is on the Board of the Illinois Venture Capital Association, where she serves as co-chairman of the Institutional Investors Committee.
Ms. Pearl evaluates business plans and coaches entrepreneurs in a variety of programs, including serving as a selection judge at the 2005 Midwest Venture Summit and the 2003 and 2005 Springboard Forums. She has served on the judging panel for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Program for the Chicago/NW Indiana Region for 10 years and has been chairperson for the last six years. She has also served as a judge for the National Program as well.
Ms. Pearl regularly lectures on private equity and entrepreneurial finance at the University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business and Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. She has been a keynote speaker for the MBA program orientation at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and served on their “Women in Business” Alumni Profile Panel.
Ms. Pearl graduated summa cum laude from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in Accountancy (’81). She received an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1988. She was the Bronze Medalist on the Uniform C.P.A. Examination in the State of Illinois as well as a recipient of the Elijah Watt Sells award.