A Day in the Life of an Associate: Mark Millard Provides the Inside Scoop on Being Part of the Frontier Team
Frontier Capital Associate, Mark Millard, shares his view on why he took the job at Frontier, his day-to-day responsibilities, and what he enjoys about his current role.
Frontier’s Associate program is a two to three-year pre-MBA program, where associates assist Frontier’s investment professionals with screening, diligence, and monitoring of investment opportunities, as well as management of existing portfolio company investments.
Please introduce yourself and share your career highlights.
Hey everyone, my name is Mark. I am a Senior Associate at Frontier Capital, a washed-up soccer player, and an unabashed (iPhone) food photographer. Before Frontier, I was an investment banking analyst at BlackArch Partners, and a graduate of Davidson College.
During my time at Frontier, I have been involved with 3 platform investments, 1 add on, and 5 exits; I joined (and was subsequently released from) the Frontier band (seriously); and, perhaps most impressively, scored 0 points in our intramural basketball season (0 for 12 from the field across 5 games).
What interested you in the opportunity at Frontier Capital?
As an outsider, Frontier seemed like a really special combination of people, sector focus, and lifestyle—that’s a stuffy way of saying, “the people seemed cool; tech seemed cool; and traveling places, meeting people, and investing in companies seemed cool.” I had high hopes for my time here, and Frontier more than delivered. And they pay me (which people always conveniently leave out when they answer this type of question)!
What does a “typical” day look like for you? What are your primary roles and responsibilities?
The website description is helpful because it says a lot concisely—I’m responsible for “researching in-market companies to identify potential targets, screening and analyzing opportunities, and executing investments.”
What that means is: somedays I’m in the office reviewing CIMs, having calls with CEOs of companies, or underwater during a 30-day timeline to close a new investment; and other days, I’m on the road having meetings with management teams, attending Board meetings with portfolio companies, or occasionally celebrating a milestone achievement (closed deal, exit, or the occasional Frontier-outing).
What has been the most fulfilling project you have worked on?
Within 5 months of joining Frontier, I closed my first deal, HealthiestYou. Without going into too much detail, we partnered with the HealthiestYou management team and through our numerous discussions everyone involved believed that someday the company was destined to have a strategic exit to the largest and most comparable company, Teladoc. Within 7 months of us partnering with HealthiestYou, Teladoc acquired the business. It was fulfilling to have a thesis and see it come to fruition almost exactly how we imagined—although no one predicted the timeframe(!).
What have you found challenging about your position and how did you work through those challenges to reach a resolution?
Stating the obvious, investing is greatly complicated by the unknown—the unknown outcome, the time horizon associated with that outcome, and the overall opportunity cost of everything else you could be doing instead. We mitigate this challenge by knowing wholeheartedly what we’re looking for and why (defined, dedicated, and proven strategy), by picking situations that we can positively impact (adding value—not selecting companies out of a stack and wishing them to success), and by partnering with good people. We know that when we get those three things right, the unknown often takes care of itself.
Why do you enjoy working at the firm? Are you involved with the Frontier Capital Foundation activities?
I enjoy working at Frontier because it is a full-time experience. We work together; we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together (not always, relax); we run around at Frontier Capital Foundation activities; and on less productive weekends, we mosey to a restaurant or brewery. There is always something to do and a built-in crowd to do it with.
For a future Frontier employee, can you describe what makes you excited to come to work every day?
Imagine finding someone that is as passionate, competitive, and quirky as you. Now imagine there are 25 of those people and they all hangout 7 minutes from your apartment!