Alexa Willson, formerly senior vice president at Kidder Peabody & Co., is starting an investment banking firm, Mille Capital Corp., based in New York.
The company's focus will be private equity placements and merger and acquisition advisory services for later-stage growth companies.
The firm opened March 1, and Ms. Willson said she has had "a couple dozen very good meetings."
Mille Capital has already signed up one unidentified client, a multimedia company, for a $2.5 million equity placement.
Ms. Willson also says she expects to be retained shortly by a specialty retailer in the entertainment area.
She is searching for analytic staff and also expects to expand at the senior level by hiring other investment bankers by year-end.
Ms. Willson previously was the senior coverage officer in Kidder's investment bank, where she provided advisory services and debt and equity issuance for corporations and leveraged buy-out sponsors.
Mille Capital's primary investor base will be leveraged buy-out firms and private equity funds, but Ms. Willson said she would consider starting a private equity fund once her business has matured.
Ms. Willson said she is looking overseas for some investment opportunities that could be of interest for sponsors.
"I'm working on developing a lead in the emerging markets area in Asia. If that develops into something, I think several of the largest pension funds would be interested," she said.