IVCA Feature: New Member Profile of JM Search

IVCA Feature: New Member Profile of JM Search


The membership rolls of the Illinois Venture Capital Association continue to grow, along with new opportunities for the association – which encompasses Venture Capital, Private Equity and supporting industries/firms – to network, exchange ideas and learn about relevant issues. The newest member of the IVCA is JM Search, who partners with VC, PE and select corporate clients to recruit transformational leaders.

The following is a Q&A profile with JM Search – with offices in Chicago, as well as Philadelphia, New York City, Seattle and Los Angeles – which explores the firm’s background and their expectations for interacting with the IVCA.

New Member: JM Search

Representative: Gil Stenholm, Partner

IVCA: What is a brief history and background of the JM Search?

JM Search: JM Search was founded in 1981 and currently is the 17th largest search firm in the U.S., with offices in Chicago, Philadelphia, NYC, Seattle and Los Angeles. 80% of our clients are PE firms and their portfolio companies., and our range of work involves CEOs, Board Directors, and every functional officer role for consumer, industrial, technology, healthcare and financial services clients. We started the Chicago office in September of 2015, and now it includes seven colleagues.

IVCA: Why did the firm decide to join the Illinois Venture Capital Association?

JM Search: JM Search Partner Gil Stenholm was formerly with the Spencer Stuart firm, where he led the relationship with the IVCA, and joined when he realized the importance and message of the association... which led to the member recommendation for JM Search as well.

IVCA: You directly do executive search for both the Private Equity and Venture Capital industries. What overall needs in personnel have been trending for these particular firms?

JM Search: Since we conduct about 170 searches for PE and VC firms, we see significant needs for CEO, CFO, Operating Partner and Operations talent. Our clients are continually seeking product and industry expertise, as well as significant understanding of how to succeed as a CEO or officer within the uniquely challenging and rewarding PE/VC world.

IVCA: Vetting is an easier pursuit in the information age, but what background elements of an individual can you still find out about that is beyond a Google search?

JM Search: The key is to truly assess where an individual will best fit and match within the business strategy, culture, and operational needs, and make sure that professional and personal chemistry is compatible with the PE, VC or professional firm. The ‘Google search’ will generally surface most job seekers and people ‘on the bench.’ We identify and attract leaders who are not on the market and convince them to consider our clients, plus we conduct clandestine and open references to fully vet talent.

IVCA: What tips would you give to a potential VC/PE candidate to prepare in their pursuit of working within the industries?

JM Search: The candidate must have the ‘DNA’ to fit within the unique environment of an investor-backed business. It is much different than the public corporate world and most are not able to adapt well to this environment. The talent must understand that the owners/board have more control and influence than in the public corporate world.

IVCA: What does JM Search hope to achieve in their interaction with the VC/PC community within the IVCA?

JM Search: First, networking, and second, providing appropriate benchmarking studies and value-added insights about compensation, best places for talents and more. We also want to participate in seminars, and other brainstorming sessions as appropriate.

For more information on the JM Search, go to www.jmsearch.com