In the late 1990s, Frank Quattrone was the embodiment of investment banking star power. Not only did the grinning, mustachioed Credit Suisse First Boston deal maker know everyone in Silicon Valley, but he had taken a goodly share of their erstwhile start-ups public. But when the tech bubble brutally burst in 2001, regulatory agencies began probing the banks that had brought all those exotic companies to market — and Quattrone was a high-profile target. After several years he was exonerated of any wrongdoing.
Quattrone, 54, set up his own advisory firm, Qatalyst Partners, in San Francisco in 2008, and last month it advised its first IPO client: Internet marketing company QuinStreet, which went public on Febuary 11. Qatalyst earned $2.1 million in fees on the deal — a microchip compared with the $150 million he hauled in annually during his heyday as a tech banker.