NewsDEBORAH L. DEVEDJIAN
Deborah Devedjian launched Copernicus Learning Fund, L.P. in July 2001 to invest in Education & Training (E&T) companies and address the private equity needs of this underserved $2 trillion global sector. The sector is ripe for investment as it is undergoing four fundamental changes: demand for accountability, advances in science and technology, structural changes, and growth of the knowledge industry.
Ms. Devedjian had joined Warburg Pincus, one of the world's largest global private equity firms, with $14 billion under management, in January 2000 where she created and led the firm's Education & Training Investment Group. She established Warburg Pincus as the world's leading investor in the field. The 12 companies now in the portfolio represent $250 million in investments in K-12, higher education, and corporate training and information. She also advised E&T portfolio company CEOs and boards on corporate strategy, M&A, and operations.
Within three months, Ms. Devedjian quintupled deal flow from 10 deals per month in January 2000 to 50 deals per month. During her 18-month tenure with Warburg Pincus, she evaluated more than 650 business plans in K-12, higher education, and corporate training, including 80% technology or web-based deals and 20% schools and products and met with more than 230 companies seeking financing. She had developed a proprietary deal flow such that more than 70% of proposals came directly from companies and 20% came from investment bankers and brokers.
She established strategy, marketing, and deal flow generation and initiated and organized one of the most successful conferences of industry leaders. She frequently delivered addresses at industry meetings and established working relationships with Wall Street bankers and analysts.
In 1994, Ms. Devedjian, Managing Director, founded RoundTable Partners, Inc., in Berlin and Philadelphia in response to the growing need for a global and multi-disciplinary approach toward business. RoundTable Partners is an international venture finance and advisory boutique that incubates high tech ventures and turns around middle market companies. She also co-founded and chaired the board of a plant biotechnology company that sold the first commercial genetically-engineered plants for non-agricultural applications with repeat clients including DuPont, IT Corp., and the U.S. Army.
In 1990, Ms. Devedjian was the first American selected for the 10-member Transitional Team to write the business plan and launch operations of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development--a $13 billion merchant bank founded by 55 countries to finance private sector ventures in Eastern Europe and the former USSR. Based in London, the Bank provides market-based debt and equity. With operations underway, Ms. Devedjian headed the Bank's Real Estate Group, generating $800 million in project finance transactions in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Prague, Warsaw, and Budapest, cultivated $150 million in industrial transactions for Polish companies undergoing privatization and restructuring, and advised the Republic of Poland on its Mass Privatization Program. She was also instrumental in introducing and securing a $57 million loan for a power project in Armenia. She designed and rolled out the group's strategy, established financing criteria and protocols, and reviewed 400+ business plans.
Previously for four years, she formulated corporate strategies for The Boston Consulting Group, co-launching the Consumer Products, Distribution, and Services Group.
She has also held posts with the Holocaust Memorial Council in Washington, D.C., Gruppo GFT in Turin, The University of Pennsylvania Museum, and Sotheby's. She also authored An Economic Impact Study of the Not-for-Profit Arts on New Haven.
Committed to bringing the best business practices into public education, Ms. Devedjian was elected to the Marple Newtown Board of Education in PA, serving from 1995-1999. As Board president, Ms. Devedjian entirely overhauled the district. She spearheaded massive educational and fiscal reforms, resulting in substantial improvements in national test scores, three no millage-increase budgets, unifying a once-fractious community, and a nationwide award.
She is a Member of the Board of Directors of the David T. Kearns Program for Business, Government, and Education at Harvard's Kennedy School, Elwyn, Inc. (a $150 million organization serving people with mental and physical challenges), the Pennsylvania-Russia Business Council, was Board President-Elect of Community Capital Works (micro-lending to inner-city entrepreneurs), and Vice President of the Board of the Entrepreneurs' Forum of Greater Philadelphia. She serves on the New York City Investment Fund's Education & Information Services Committee. Ms. Devedjian also served as her Yale Class Treasurer (1995-2000) and received the Yale Alumni Service Award in 1999. She is a 2001 Fellow of the Young Leaders Program of the French-American Foundation.
She has delivered or written more than 100 speeches and articles on venture capital, education reform, and international business.
A native of Philadelphia, Ms. Devedjian holds a B.A. cum laude in Economics and in Art History from Yale University (1984) and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School (1988).