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PHELAN – Entrepreneurship Runs in the Family

Mike Phelan was CEO of SevOne from 2006 until 2012.  After he stepped down as CEO, we at Osage Venture Partners were lucky enough to have him join us as a venture partner.  Mike has proven so valuable for us in assessing infrastructure investments and in connecting with entrepreneurs, though that comes as no surprise – he is one of the best.

Last week, my wife Suzanne and I had the opportunity to go to New York and to experience what one of the next generation of Phelans is doing.  We were privileged to be invited as Mike’s daughter Amanda Phelan launched her new fashion line in what Vogue described as a bang.

“Get ready to hear a lot more about Phelan: The new label by former Alexander Wang knitwear designer Amanda Phelan launched this afternoon with a bang. The show, seated theater style, was led off by an extraordinary four-woman performance choreographed by Vim Vigor Dance Company founder Shannon Gillen, and it concluded with the assembly, onstage, of models clad in some of the most innovative looks to come from a young New York designer in quite some time. The rapturous applause was earned.”

Mike is the behind the scenes advisor and is leveraging some former SevOne finance talent to support the enterprise, but the leadership, vision, and drive is all Amanda.  Seeing her come out on stage after the show, seeing her working the crowd of critics and buyers, and, even to this untrained eye, seeing what she produced and the way the show was confidently staged, I was reminded of what it was like back in the board room at SevOne when Mike hold the reins, loosely but in control. 

I remain ever in awe of talented entrepreneurs and Amanda is going to be a great one.  While we at OVP don’t invest in fashion and only in b2b software, after the Phelan show, I wished it wasn’t the case.  I guess someone in the Lentz family is just going to have to invest in the product versus the business.  Clearly an opportunity missed.

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