Dr. Karen Meidlinger is a Founder and Managing Principal of Meidlinger Partners, LLC. Based on her advanced scientific training, along with her ten years of experience sourcing deals, assessing technology and advising high growth companies, Dr. Meidlinger brings a strong and diverse skill set to Meidlinger Partners. She will share responsibility for all major functional operations of the firm, which include transaction sourcing, structuring, negotiating and divesting, working with Portfolio Companies and handling relationships with Limited Partners. Her deep innovation management and business development experience, combined with her passion for the development and protection of the planet's limited resources, brings a strong sustainable investment focus to Meidlinger Partners.
A trained scientist, Dr. Meidlinger earned her B.Sc. in marine biology in 1993 from the University of Liverpool, where she was a two-sport varsity athlete (swimming and water polo). She then completed her Ph.D. in marine ecology in 1997 from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. As part of her fieldwork, she was fortunate to complete a four-month tour to Signy Island, Antarctica that included direct data collection through cold-water SCUBA diving. After completing her Ph.D., she worked briefly as a research scientist on a project in Mozambique run by the Society for Environmental Exploration. While she enjoyed research, she realized that she could have more impact by managing larger environmental projects. Thus, she decided to pursue an MBA at the University of Cape Town to facilitate this transition. However, during the MBA program, she developed a strong interest in entrepreneurship and enjoyed applying her ecological systems training to develop business strategies for start-up companies.
After completing her MBA in 1998, Dr. Meidlinger decided to pursue her interest in entrepreneurship by accepting a visiting fellowship in entrepreneurship at the Wharton School. Dr. Meidlinger came to Wharton in January 1999 and studied under the Entrepreneurship Department Chair, Professor Ian C. MacMillan, an expert in entrepreneurship and innovation management. In the spring of 1999, she became the associate director of the Wharton Small Business Development Center, where she managed a team of consultants as well as her own portfolio of small business clients. By the summer of 1999, Dr. Meidlinger was a project director at Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs, where she ran the 1999-2000 Wharton Business Plan Competition, a program that attracted more than 420 students from across the University of Pennsylvania.
In 2000, Dr Meidlinger joined the University City Science Center, a research park next to University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Over the next five years at the Science Center, she was responsible for finding high-growth, technology-based life science companies and then negotiating space, service and equity agreements with these companies. She also spent considerable time advising these companies on strategy and helping them reach their business milestones. In 2005, Dr. Meidlinger joined Johnson & Johnson where she spent 4 years leading various innovation management projects, identifying new technologies that would drive future business growth for the corporation.
Dr. Meidlinger has also demonstrated strong involvement in local green initiatives. In 2004, she directed a Philadelphia area triple bottom line business plan competition called New Profiteer, which attracted 90 companies and start-ups. Many of these companies have since received funding from the Mid Atlantic venture capital community. Since then she has been an active board member with Green Village Philadelphia, a non-profit organization that is building an “eco-village” to incubate and nurture green businesses.