Proven Track Record of Growing Businesses
The investment partners of Riviera Capital have a 20+ year history together of successfully operating, growing, and investing in businesses in the lower middle market. Riviera Capital was formed to offer entrepreneurial leaders a true partner that is engaged and highly committed to building great businesses. We believe entrepreneurial talent and operating ability come from a diverse pool across geography, educational background, and work experience. Our team is disciplined in our investment approach and dedicated to helping our partner companies grow and succeed.
Alex is is the co-founder and Managing Partner at Riviera Capital. Prior to co-founding Riviera Capital, Alex was the CEO of Medi-Tech/Phycom Group, a leading healthcare revenue cycle management company and named one of the fastest growing companies by the OC Business Journal in 2013. In that role, Alex grew the company’s size and revenue by 4x before completing its sale to an affiliate of Prudential Capital.
Alex began his career in Search Funds in 2003, when he embarked on a self-funded search where he successfully acquired Resource Directory Group (“RDG”), one of California’s leading healthcare publishing companies. Under his leadership, RDG doubled in size before being acquired by James Publishing and returning 9x his original investment. Alex was also the co-founder and CFO of motoreyes, a venture capital funded automotive software company that was acquired by OnStation Corp. (Cobalt Group) in 2000. Alex served as VP of Corporate Development at OnStation, an enterprise software company backed by investors including Goldman Sachs, Lightspeed Venture and NEA. At OnStation, Alex headed the Client Services group that managed clients including AAA, Mitchell 1, and NAPA.
Alex began his career in the investment banking and private equity industries. Alex has helped advise and invest in various high-tech start-up ventures through his work experience at Intel Capital, AIG Investment Corp., and JP Morgan Chase.
Alex holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business Administration from Boston University where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA where he was a Venture Development Program Fellow.
Alex currently serves on the Board of Directors for 280 Group, Prove Partners, RedCat Systems, Wave Crest Capital Finance, and on the Board of Advisors for Charollais Capital and NWCC. Alex also volunteers as a SCORE/SBA mentor helping to advise entrepreneurs in the Southern California area.
Chris is a General Partner at Riviera Capital. Prior to co-founding Riviera capital, Chris was the Chairman of a southern California based healthcare company, Canaan Health Care. In that role, the business grew from inception to profitability to become one of the leaders in the space and still achieving double digit growth.
Previously, Chris was President/CEO of Group A Autosports, one of the leading automotive aftermarket companies focused on the import car sector. Under his leadership, Group A more than doubled in revenue. Prior to Group A, Chris was part of Time Warner’s / AOL’s restructuring team and was an instrumental member of the Member Services business unit. Under Chris’ leadership, more than $1B of value was created for the enterprise while concurrently serving more than 30MM consumers. Chris was also the co-founder and CEO of motoreyes, a venture capital funded automotive software company that was acquired by OnStation Corp. in 2000. Chris served as VP of Client Services at OnStation, an enterprise software company backed by investors including Goldman Sachs, Lightspeed Venture and NEA.
Chris began his career in the automotive and management consulting industries. Chris was a software engineer at Ford Motor Company and part of the team that developed hybrid electronics (printed circuit boards) and the first anti-lock brake system for Ford. Afterwards, Chris joined Price Waterhouse as a Principal and was part of High Tech Supply Chain practice, helping companies such as IBM, AST, HP, Dell, and others deploy new business units and distribution models.
Chris holds a BS from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA. Chris is married with one daughter and an active tennis player, former professional race car driver, and automotive enthusiast. Chris is also Chairman of the Canaan Cares Foundation and actively involved in research and philanthropic endeavors focused on degenerative neurological disorders.
Rina is the CEO of 280 Group. She began her career at McKinsey & Company as an analyst on the credit portfolio team, offering trading recommendations to hedge against credit and interest rate exposure. She then joined MetLife’s Global Leadership Development Program, focusing on employee recognition programs and removing roadblocks to support intrapreneurship in the Latin America Office of Innovation. At 280 Group, Rina is focused on bringing transformative change to organizations by empowering product managers and product marketers with the knowledge and tools to build products that matter. Her job running the company at the 280 Group is made easy with an amazing team aligned on continuous learning and development and determined to go above and beyond to always delight their clients.
Rina received a Bachelor of Arts with honors in Economics and European Studies from Amherst College, and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
Cayse is Managing Partner at Brockhurst Capital Partners. Prior to founding Brockhurst, Cayse was a venture capital investor at Invest Detroit Ventures, OCA Ventures, and Hyde Park Venture Partners.
Before he began investing in great entrepreneurs and companies, he partipated in 3 investor-backed exits, serving as a software engineer and team lead: the $240 Million IPO of R1 RCM, the $1.8 Billion acquisition of Coyote Logistics by UPS, and the $400 Million acquisition of BSwift by Aetna.
Cayse is also founder and former CEO of CelebTango, a live celebrity video chat company.
On the academic side, Cayse graduated Summa Cum Laude in Computer Engineering at the University of IL in Urbana Champaign, and received his MBA with honors at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Patrick is the CEO of Northwest Construction Control. Previously, Patrick held a range of leadership roles in the technology sector. Immediately beforehand, he led a technology venture in Seattle as the cross-functional General Manager with P&L responsibility. Previously, Patrick worked in Silicon Valley, managing product development and strategic partnerships for Google. His team was originally a startup backed by blue-chip venture investors and was subsequently acquired by Google in 2014.
Earlier in his career, Patrick was honored to serve as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps where he led both intelligence and combat units during deployments to Afghanistan and the Pacific Rim. Beforehand, he also worked for an economic development project with the United Nations and a small aerospace manufacturer in Washington State. Patrick holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Patrick Dunagan grew up in rural Oregon and worked on farms and construction crews along the West Coast to pay his way through college.
Michael Abdella is the founder and managing partner of Mauve Capital Partners. Michael brings over 10 years of sales, marketing, operations, and entrepreneurial experience to the management team. Prior to Mauve, Michael held leadership positions in sales and marketing for Huntington Insurance’s commercial business, where he helped develop and implement a new sales-and-marketing alignment strategy for a greater thought leadership presence.
Prior to Huntington Insurance, Michael also managed channel marketing and sales for Paycor. Additionally, Michael worked for many years in sales and sales training for ADP. During this time, Michael and his team earned numerous sales growth and leadership awards.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
B.A.; Sales & Business Marketing, Management
Alex is the son and grandson of small business owners. Prior to founding Coniston Peak, he worked for over eight years advising companies in finance and strategy. He has helped the world’s largest and smallest companies develop and implement strategic initiatives and advised owners looking to exit their company. In his spare time, he is a very keen cyclist.
He holds a BA from the University of Cambridge and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Michael serves as the Chief Executive Officer of PROVE where he is responsible for the overall direction, strategy, and financial management of PROVE. In addition, Michael is a member of PROVE’s Board of Directors where he plays an active role in shaping the strategic direction of the business.
Prior to his roles at PROVE, Michael was previously the CFO of Currency Capital, a fintech company specializing in small-ticket commercial equipment leasing. Michael initially advised Currency as its investment banker and was later recruited to join the executive management team as the CFO. Michael led Currency through an aggressive growth phase to $200M+ in annual originations and an eventual exit to Lovell Minnick Partners, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm where he and Ben met.
Prior to Currency Capital, Michael spent his career as an investment banker and private equity investor at several prominent West Coast firms, successfully completing mergers & acquisitions and capital raise transactions. Michael received his BS in Finance, Cum Laude, from the University of Southern California.
Ben serves as the Chairman of Prove where he is responsible for leading the Board, and ensuring adherence to good corporate governance practices. Ben works closely with the CEO and management regarding Prove’s strategy and corresponding execution. Ben also plays a key role in Prove’s corporate development as well as the establishment of institutional practices that impact the day-to-day functions of the organization.
Prior to PROVE, Ben was with Lovell Minnick Partners (Los Angeles), a private equity firm focused on financial services business with over $3 billion in AUM. During his tenure with Lovell Minnick, Ben was involved in the acquisition and development of a variety of businesses, including Global Financial Credit, Currency Capital (where he and Michael Stone met), LSQ Funding, and others.
Ben received his MBA and JD degrees from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management and Pritzker School of Law. He currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Law School’s Alumni Club of Los Angeles as well as a national member for Northwestern’s Alumni Leadership Council. Prior to Northwestern, Ben was an Associate at Century Equity Partners, Boston-based private equity firm focused on the financial and healthcare sectors; and prior to that he was a Senior Analyst at Raymond James. Ben, a native Bostonian, also received his BS in Economics and Finance, Magna Cum Laude, from Boston College.
For the last six years, Aaron led the search fund investing efforts of Peterson Partners, a private equity firm based in Salt Lake City. Prior to Peterson Partners, he served as the CEO of BenefitGuard, a Peterson portfolio company that grew from startup to $200MM AUM under his leadership and sold to NASDAQ:HQY in 2017 (CEO 2009-2013; Chairman 2013-2017). Before joining BenefitGuard, Aaron was a Financial Economist at the U.S. Treasury in Washington D.C during the Obama administration.
Aaron is a graduate of Brigham Young University and the Marriott School of Management. He has served on several search fund Board of Directors, as well as the board of the BYU Men’s Soccer Program. Aaron loves to ski, play tennis, and has played soccer in the US, Holland, Italy, Mexico, and Costa Rica in matches against a few legendary players such as Jurgen Klinsmann, Tim Howard, and Cobi Jones. He is (or more accurately…was) a fluent Portuguese speaker after serving two years as a volunteer missionary for his church in Brazil.
Taylor began his career in the beer business working for Anheuser-Busch Inbev, selling kegs and cases door- to-door to retailers, grocery stores, mass merchandisers, and liquor stores. After earning his stripes, he ran a beer and beverage sales distribution business with ~$20 million in annual revenue and ~$4 million in EBITDA in north Los Angeles, leading a team of sales representatives, merchandisers, and truck drivers. He was promoted to the corporate strategy and mergers and acquisitions group at AB Inbev headquarters, where he helped acquire and integrate a $50 million in revenue distributorship in Lima, Ohio.
After business school, he worked in the search fund investing group at Peterson Partners under Joel Peterson, where he helped entrepreneurs and small business owners looking to transition ownership of their businesses, and cemented his goal to become a business owner himself.
Taylor earned an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2017, a JD from Stanford Law School in 2017, and a BA from Harvard University in 2011.
Prior to co-founding Forge Equity Partners, Grant worked in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and in search investing as a Principal at Anacapa Partners, a private equity firm dedicated to the search fund space. At Anacapa, Grant focused on supporting entrepreneurs in identifying, evaluating and financing small business acquisitions. He also supported small business owners as they transitioned into retirement, providing an avenue for owners to protect their business legacies, implement their desired succession plans, partner with and mentor young talent, and participate in the economic rewards of continuing to grow their businesses. Grant brings finance, strategy, and operational experience to Forge.
Grant earned an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2017, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Yale University in 2011, graduating cum laude.
Mike is the Managing Director of Redline Automotive. Mike is a lifelong entrepreneur with extensive experience in the areas of FinTech, InsureTech, HR-Tech, SaaS, telecom and digital media. He has led strategy, business development, sales, marketing, recruiting and business operations for multiple companies from early stage startups to midmarket enterprises. His core skill set is centered on evaluating corporate strategy and messaging while putting systems in place to scale highly effective teams. Mike has helped companies as an in-house operator, an external consultant and as a long term advisor.
Previously, Mike was the founder of GreenShield, an automatic employee savings program that helps employees save money, invest wisely and reach their financial goals. GreenShield was a venture backed startup that would automatically save a few dollars each week for employees and give employers the ability to offer matching contributions to increase the speed at which employees can reach their pre-retirement goals. Earlier, Mike was the Chief Revenue Officer for FastPay, a venture funded digital media FinTech company. FastPay helps digital entrepreneurs manage payment cycles and boost revenues through access to non-dilutive working capital. Prior to FastPay, Mike built the sales & marketing team for BetterWorks – growing the company from 10 employees to over 70 and a nearly $100mm valuation in under a year. Earlier in his career, Mike was CEO of Zoosa (a social enterprise start-up which highlighted socially responsible actions) and he spent 7 years in a sales executive role at Tellabs (a telecommunications equipment manufacturer).
Mike graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and received his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Jeff was born in Santa Monica, California and is a fourth generation Southern Californian. He holds a Masters in Management from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Columbia University.
Jeff most recently served as Lead Case Writer at the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, where he worked with Stanford faculty and some of the world’s preeminent business leaders and entrepreneurs to develop cutting-edge research and coursework for the school’s entrepreneurship classes. Previously, Jeff served as co-founder and CEO of Beam, an industrial safety management software startup for manufacturing companies.
In his free time, Jeff enjoys baseball, basketball, surfing, grilling, and writing. Jeff and his wife Balyn, an assistant professor in UCSF’s Pharmaceutical Chemistry Department and Cardiovascular Research Institute, currently live in San Francisco, California.
Brian was born on a U.S. military base in Tacoma, Washington. A military brat whose father retired as a Master Sergeant after 24 years in the U.S. Air Force, Brian grew up in Washington, Korea, Japan, Texas, and Germany, where he graduated from a U.S. military high school. Brian was the first in his family to attend college, graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Princeton University.
Brian most recently was the head of technology investing at Newbrook Capital Advisors, an investment fund based in New York City. At Newbrook, Brian was responsible for sourcing, researching, and monitoring investments in the software, technology services, semiconductor, and hardware industries.
In his free time, Brian enjoys football, baseball, automobiles, history, and learning about technology. Brian currently lives in Dallas, Texas.
Eddy Zakes is the founder and CEO of Crosswalk Capital and a committed, experienced entrepreneur. With executive experience in a variety of geographies and industries, Eddy has repeatedly demonstrated his ability to build and lead teams and create sustained value. Most recently, Eddy served as the Director of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center at IESE Business School (ranked #1 business school in the world for Executive Education by the Financial Times for five consecutive years), where he led a team providing coaching, support, and mentorship to the school’s 50,000+ alumni in 140+ countries.
Additionally, Eddy earned his MBA from IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, and he has been recognized by the World Economic Forum as an Expert on Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Due to the impact his leadership abilities have generated, Eddy was recognized as a regional 40-under-40 business leader in 2015.
Greg is the CEO at The Skin Center. Previously, Greg worked as the CFO of Soft-Lite, an approximately $80 million window and patio door manufacturer based in Streetsboro, OH. Prior to Soft-Lite, Greg worked in the investment banking department at KeyBanc Capital Markets in Cleveland, OH where he advised Soft-Lite on its sale to Harvey Building Products.
Prior to KeyBanc, Greg completed his MBA at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor, MI. At Michigan, Greg founded and was Co-President of the Private Equity Club, a roughly 100- student organization of primarily undergraduate and graduate business school students.
Prior to business school, Greg worked at the River Cities Deaconess Healthcare Fund, L.P. in Cincinnati, OH. River Cities Deaconess (RCD) was a partnership between River Cities Capital Funds, a healthcare and IT growth equity fund with over $500 million in assets under management, and Deaconess Associations, a healthcare holding company. RCD sought to make control equity investments in lower middle market healthcare services businesses and maintained $100 million of capital under management. Greg primarily worked with a Director in the sourcing, evaluation, and execution of control equity investments. When Greg was not working on efforts related to the partnership, he also assisted in sourcing, evaluating, and executing healthcare and IT growth equity investments as well as portfolio development.
Prior to River Cities, Greg worked in middle market investment banking and was COO of a venture- backed technology business, all located in New York City. Greg completed his undergraduate degree at New York University where he received a BA with honors, cum laude, in Economics. Greg is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA).
Rahul embarked on his search to acquire a business after over seven years of experience in investment banking. After finishing his two year analyst program at Citigroup’s Investment Bank, Rahul pursued an entrepreneurial opportunity in 2009 and joined the former global CEO of UBS’ Investment Bank as the third employee to help build a start-up investment banking advisory firm, Greentech Capital Advisors (GCA), solely focused on the sustainable infrastructure sector. Rahul helped initiate GCA’s New York office and in 2010 transitioned to help lead GCA’s global expansion, and opened the firms European office in Zürich, Switzerland. In 2013, Rahul transitioned to help the firm with its West Coast expansion and relocated to San Francisco, California. Rahul also spearheaded GCA’s entry into Asia during this time. Greentech Capital Advisors announced its sale to Nomura for $93 million in December 2019. Rahul holds a MBA from Columbia Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Finance from Georgetown University.
Sumit is a technology investor/executive with 20 years of experience in the industry. He is passionate about helping high potential software companies achieve market growth, build operational scale and gather world class teams. He is currently the Board Chairman at Netreo, and Board Member at Appsian and Escape Technologies. Sumit’s recent background includes President at Cleo Communications where he co-led a rapid transformation and 5x growth of the business in 5 years.
His prior background includes executive leadership roles at SumTotal Systems; strategic finance including investment banking at GCA Savvian, and venture capital at Visa Ventures; and technical roles including Product Management and Software Engineering at Alvarion, Aperto Networks and Hughes Software Systems.
Sumit holds an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Technology in computer science & engineering from IIT-BHU.
Joel Willett is currently CEO of Sayres & Associates. Prior to the acquisition, he served as an Operating Partner and Principal at Broadtree. He joined Broadtree from Russell Reynolds Associates, where he led consulting engagements to assess and place C-suite executives in the telecommunications, healthcare, and energy industries. Previously, Joel spent 4 years in the U.S. Army and 5 years in the Directorate of Operations at the Central Intelligence Agency. At CIA, he managed complex operations, spanning multiple international geographies. Joel finished government service on the National Security Council in the White House Situation Room, where he provided global situational awareness and crisis reporting to the President and senior advisors.
Joel has an MBA in Finance and Strategic Management from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, an M.A. in National Security Studies from the University of Kentucky, and B.S. in Management from the University of Louisville. He speaks Russian and is based in Washington, D.C.
Jonathan’s career spans international and domestic commercial finance, operations and portfolio management in multinational and regional banks. He has been a key member in a number of start ups ranging from tech to specialty finance including leasing and asset based lending. Prior to joining the board of Wave Crest Capital, Jonathan co-founded Triumph Healthcare Finance growing it to $80 million in outstanding loan assets in four years. The company sold in 2108 to a private equity firm.
In mid-2018, Jonathan joined the board of Wave Crest Capital. As a board member of Wave Crest Jonathan has implemented factoring best practices in underwriting and credit analysis, invoice purchase monitoring, and portfolio management and, along with other board members, has helped create a strong foundation for future growth.
Tariro is a proven leader with experience in leading teams, developing individuals, and improving operational performance in manufacturing, engineering and investing environments. An electrical engineer by training, he worked at ArcelorMittal in various production, engineering and process improvement roles where he made numerous CAPEX and operational improvements that yielded millions in OPEX and CAPEX savings. He went on to do mergers and acquisitions with BP in Johannesburg before heading to business school. Post business school, he worked in private equity investing at CPPIB in Toronto, where he invested in North American and European companies.
Tariro earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and a Masters in Engineering from Wits University in South Africa. He grew up in Southern Africa, where he found his passion for the outdoors. He is dedicated to fitness, has completed several marathons and cycling races, and is currently training for his first triathlon race. He currently resides in Toronto with his wife and their son.
Kevin has been a successful ‘professional entrepreneur’ and investor. He is also an adjunct professor at Chapman University in Orange County where he teaches entrepreneurship. Kevin’s background mostly includes scaling tech startups, where two of them reached $7M ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue) and $31M ARR during his tenure. Kevin sits on the advisory board of numerous startups and his work has been on CNBC, Forbes, HuffPost, NYT, LA Times, Xinhua News, Korea Times and many more. He is also a published author and occasionally writes for media outlets such as Forbes, Inc. Magazine, CNBC, etc.
Prior to becoming a ‘professional entrepreneur’, Kevin worked at Merrill Lynch, E*Trade Financial, and William O’Neil as a stock research analyst and as a stock trader. Kevin earned his B.S. in Business Administration at the University of California, Riverside, before pursuing his MBA at the University of Chicago. During his free time, Kevin enjoys traveling, cooking, and fixing his house.
Nate is the Managing Partner for Reciprocity Capital. Nate began his career in investment banking, most recently in the successful Technology Investment Banking Group of Morgan Stanley located in Menlo Park. He worked on both corporate finance transactions (convertible debt and IPOs) and M&A transactions.
He then began an apprentice program at SPO Partners & Co, a storied investment firm located in Mill Valley outside of San Francisco.Nate received his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in Finance from Villanova University.
Prior to founding Riverbank, Marcela Lopez was CFO at Grupo Arca a private-equity portfolio company specialized in construction materials in Mexico, U.S. and Spain. She has experience in Private Equity and Consulting and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an B.A. in Economics from Boston College.
Jameel is an entrepreneur and former small owner. He has spent the past 12 years working across M&A transactions, managing P&Ls, implementing technology solutions, making hiring & firing decisions, and leading sales, HR, finance and operations in small businesses. Most recently, he worked with KPMG LLP’s Global Strategy team focused on M&A transaction advisory and corporate strategy. While at KPMG, Jameel advised private equity and corporate clients on buy and sell-side transactions valuing $500 million or more, helped corporate clients implement scalable operating models, and managed associates and analysts. Prior to KPMG, Jameel worked at Google Inc. in a strategy operations role where he managed customer support experience while minimizing operational costs. Prior to Google, Jameel spent several years working as a technology consultant helping clients to gain operational efficiencies and reduce IT expenses by leveraging technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing. In addition, Jameel operated an educational services business for 4+ years where he grew the company from one to 12 cities, managed 15+ employees, grew revenue 25% yearly, then later sold the business.
Jameel holds an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. When he’s not busy leading others and spending time with family, Jameel loves to travel and learn new customs.
Richard is the Founder and Managing Partner at Shunga Trails, a search fund formed to acquire and operate a small business in the United States.
Richard most recently worked at Palantir Technologies where he was a Program Manager overseeing work with a variety of clients in the US Government space. Previously, he worked at DaVita where he managed 12 outpatient clinics and led a team of over 150 teammates as part of running a $30M P&L. Prior to that he was an Associate at JP Morgan in their Healthcare Investment Banking Division where he gained experience working across the entire spectrum of corporate financial transactions.
Earlier in his career, Richard served in the US Army for over 8 years, eventually medically retiring as a Captain from wounds sustained overseas. During his service he led a platoon of 45 men in combat operations in Afghanistan and later became the Assistant to the CEO of the military’s largest hospital, Brooke Army Medical Center.
Richard holds a MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Leadership Development from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Peak Tide is operated by a principal entrepreneur, Megan McGee, who plans to acquire a single business, relocate to the headquarters location, and devote her career to leading and growing the company.
Megan’s entrepreneurial drive was sparked around a dinner table education, where she learned from her dad’s experiences building family-owned businesses. This led Megan to launch several small businesses, most notably including an e-commerce business that she founded as a college student and expanded over five years. Subsequently, Megan led a successful turnaround for a regional pest control branch then transitioned into a director for a marketing agency serving Fortune 500 clients.
Megan earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with degrees in Entrepreneurship and Economics from Florida State University and a Master of Business Administration from University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, where she was a Batten Entrepreneurial Scholar and Student Body President.
Orlan is a Managing Partner at Athenaeum Partners, a growth oriented investment fund formed to acquire and operate a single privately-held healthcare services, B2B services, or software business.
Prior to founding Athenaeum, Orlan ran a consulting practice helping companies raise capital, conduct FP&A and implement business intelligence systems. Previously, Orlan led the finance, HR, and accounting teams at United Scope, the world’s largest ecommerce supplier of microscopes. Prior to that, Orlan was an investment professional at ClearLight Partners, a middle market private equity firm. At ClearLight he served on the board/governance teams of United Tactical Systems, Katzkin, and Evriholder. Orlan started his career at Intrepid Investment Bankers, a middle market investment bank.
Orlan graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a dual BA in Economics and Computer Science.
John is a Managing Partner at Athenaeum Partners, a growth oriented investment fund formed to acquire and operate a single privately-held healthcare services, B2B services, or software business.
Prior to founding Athenaeum, John was an Investment Professional at Spanos Barber & Jesse, a private investment firm that manages approximately $300 million of committed capital focused on lower middle-market consumer, business services, and healthcare services companies. John joined SBJ in 2016 and supported all aspects of diligence, deal execution, and portfolio management. At SBJ, he served on the investment teams responsible for overseeing Under Canvas, Troy Lee Designs, and Resolvion. Prior to joining SBJ, John started his career at Intrepid Investment Bankers, a middle market investment bank.
John graduated with a BA from Pitzer College, a member of the Claremont Colleges, where he studied Economics and was a Robert Day Scholar.
David founded Kola Capital Partners to pursue his passion for entrepreneurship through acquiring one business to steward into the future.
Prior to founding Kola, David worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs where he advised clients in the technology, media, telecommunication and financial institution spaces on M&A and other corporate finance transactions. His favorite transaction was advising the co-founders of the Blue Man Group on their sale of the company to Cirque du Soleil. Being a part of the journey to sell a family business and witnessing the emotional toll it can take on owners, David gained a lasting respect and appreciation for founders and entrepreneurs who put much sweat equity into building a lasting business and legacy.
After Goldman, David helped lead business operations and strategy at Airfox, a Boston-based fintech that operates a digital banking platform for the underbanked and unbanked populations in Brazil. By helping to professionalize the company during a high growth period across multiple geographies, David and the team positioned Airfox to be acquired by their Brazilian strategic partner, publicly traded retailer Via Varejo (BVMF: VVAR3).
The son of Nigerian immigrants, David was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California, but is still a die-hard Detroit sports fan. When not busy working and thinking about business, David enjoys learning about the body and mind. In addition to weight training, David has gained a deep interest in meditation and plans to study to become a teacher.
Charles F. Wesley is the Founder and Managing Partner of Vinchess Investors, LLC. Prior to Vinchess, Mr. Wesley worked in healthcare investment banking at Houlihan Lokey, advising clients on sell-side and leveraged buyouts of private equity (“PE”) backed middle-market healthcare services companies. His deal experience includes multi-site/retail, healthcare distribution, and behavioral health.
Prior to working in investment banking, Mr. Wesley spent eight years at ExxonMobil in various roles in operations and finance. He was most recently a manager of a $30mm P&L in downstream at a large oil refinery in the US Gulf Coast region, where he executed a complex operational turnaround. Prior to that role, he was the lead financial analyst on two operational turnarounds, including the successful turnaround of a specialty manufacturing and distribution business unit. He began his career at ExxonMobil as an operations support engineer.
Mr. Wesley holds an MBA in Finance Honors from the Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business, where he was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma. In addition, he holds both an M.S. and B.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon with a minor in Physics.
As the Managing Partner of Skyharbor Capital, John has 23 years of experience in sourcing, evaluating, transacting, advising, and operating various sizes of privately held companies. John has wide-ranging transactional and operating experience across a variety of industries and corporate functions (finance, sales, marketing strategic planning, technology, and operations). Mr. Shoaf has 10 years of M&A experience and 13 years of operating experience.
John was raised in Salt Lake City and has lived in Texas, Shanghai, and New York. He currently resides in the Portland Oregon area with his wife Linda, a fellow Columbia MBA.
Isaac is the Managing Partner for New Horizon, a search fund based in Austin, Texas. Prior to launching New Horizon, he spent 13 years working in financial services. Most recently, he spent 7 years at Bank of America Merrill Lynch where he was a Managing Director advising large Consumer & Retail companies. There he demonstrated the ability to develop and strengthen relationships with senior leaders at Fortune 500 companies. Prior to that, he also held a variety of senior roles at JPMorgan and Ally Financial. Over the course of his career he has been particularly passionate about creatively solving client challenges and successfully recruiting, training, and leading sales teams.
Isaac was born and raised in Detroit, MI. As a kid he spent summers working in his father’s real estate company, which sparked his interest in business. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School of Business where he studied finance and marketing.
Kasra has over 17 years of experience in M&A and private equity. Prior to founding Emerson, he served as a Business Development Director for H.I.G. Capital, a middle market private equity fund, which along with its credit affiliates manage over $27 billion in assets. In his almost seven years with the firm he originated over 1,000 investment opportunities, leading to multiple platform company acquisitions, add-on transactions, and joint venture relationships.
Prior to H.I.G. he served as a Vice President of Alpha Omega Capital Partners, a mid-Atlantic based middle market investment bank. In his six years with the firm he served as lead advisor on over 75 client engagements across a variety of industries, representing companies with collectively more than $600 million in revenues and over $240 million in completed transactions and assignments.
Kasra began his career in corporate finance as a summer Associate with Matrix Capital Markets Group in Richmond, Virginia. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Mark is a Co-founder of the search fund Kindly Light. He has over 15 years of experience building growth-oriented companies and enhancing operations to adapt to changing business climates.
Prior to launching Kindly Light, he worked at Alvarez & Marsal Private Equity Services, where he took on advisory and interim management roles at mid-sized companies as a subject matter expert on operations strategy and margin improvement. Prior to Alvarez & Marsal and business school, he led finance & operations at a boutique international metals recycling and trading company. He started his career in financial services and tech at JPMorgan Chase and ADVISORport.
Mark holds an MBA from Georgetown University and a BBA from Temple University. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, Lily, and rambunctious children, Elliot and Emma.
Benedikt is a Co-founder of the search fund Kindly Light. He has 20 years of experience in accelerating top-line growth of small and mid-sized companies in the US and Europe.
Benedikt was formerly a partner at Rosemark Capital, a boutique investment firm focused on early stage companies in the Health IT sector. He also spent 7 years working as a consultant and interim manager supporting privately-owned mid-sized companies to improve their sales and business development functions. Prior to consulting, Benedikt served as right-hand to the CEO of Maserati and managed multiple growth initiatives, including enhancing the company’s sales force effectiveness and optimizing marketing spend. Before joining Maserati, he worked at Ducati as a sales manager where he propelled the company into new markets by expanding the company’s products portfolio. Benedikt started his career at Bain & Co.
Benedikt holds a degree in naval engineering and a master in business administration. He currently lives in Princeton NJ and enjoys outdoor activities with his two boys Teddy and Leone.
Alex is the Founder and Managing Partner of Camac Management. Prior to launching Camac Management, Alex’s background included working in B2B marketing with a Fortune 50 company where he launched new products and managed demand creation. He earned his MBA from the University of Virginia – Darden School of Business. Before his MBA Alex’s background included working in the talent management industry where he focused on executive search, talent pipeline development and leadership assessments for executives in PE-backed and Fortune 100 companies.
Peter Badal is a former national security practitioner. He served in the U.S. Navy and then as a Human Intelligence Officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He is experienced in operational planning and execution.
After graduate school at Georgetown University, Peter worked in investment banking and capital markets at Wells Fargo, Credit Suisse, and Chartwell Financial Advisory.
He is an excited father, grateful husband, and proud American, and is looking to lead a small business and its employees to the next level.
Tom was the former head of PIMCO’s institutional client management group in the Americas. In addition to his institutional responsibilities, he served on the firm’s Executive Committee and New Product Business Review Committee. He joined PIMCO in 1994 and managed the firm’s New York City office between 2000 and 2006 before returning to Newport Beach to oversee the institutional servicing team.
Tom has 31 years of investment experience and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and undergraduate degrees in math and economics from Carnegie Mellon University.
Kent Weaver is the founder, CEO and Managing Member of Granite Point. Kent has invested in over 75 middle-market companies as an individual investor and with Granite Point. Kent has partnered with entrepreneurs to build successful businesses such as VRI (remote patient monitoring), Discover Outsourcing (HR outsourcing), Fieldedge (field technician software), mTab (database tool), Neuro International (brain trauma residential), Integra (health provider network), and CALO (teen mental health), among many investments.
In addition to Granite Point, Kent is currently Executive Chairman and former CEO at a Northern California-based home health care company acquired using a self-funded search fund model. Previously, Mr. Weaver held executive positions in marketing and product management for a VC-backed marketing automation startup, as a regional CFO and business analyst in Pepsico’s Pizza Hut Division, and as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
Kent received his MBA at the University of California, Los Angeles and BS in finance from the University of Southern California.
Mark is the co-founder of ETA Equity, a private investment firm solely focused on investing in and supporting the success of Search Funds. Shortly after graduating Wharton’s MBA program, Mark embarked on a quest to acquire, operate and grow a company; and in July 2008 after researching the PEO (HR outsourcing) industry, he acquired Staff One HR. Mark led Staff One HR through a period of substantial growth highlighted by achieving the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies for four years in a row, and culminating in Staff One HR’s sale to its largest privately-held competitor, Oasis Outsourcing, in December 2017. Mark assumed an executive role with Oasis Outsourcing until its sale to Paychex for $1.3bn in December 2018. Prior to Wharton, Mark worked as a consultant and investment banker.
Actively involved in his community and industry, Mark has served as a Board director for four trade associations and non-profit organizations, and he is an active member of Young Presidents’ Association.
Mark is an MBA graduate of the Wharton School of Business, and holds a BA in Economics from Fordham University. He is a Certified Predictive Index analyst and is a graduate of the Stagen Integral Leadership Academy.
Jerry is the CEO and founder of Spotlight Cinema Network and Arthouse Marketing Group. Jerry brings more than 25 years of broad based industry experience to the marketing industry. This has included overseas assignments in Asia where he supported the global marketing efforts of Toyota Motor Corporation, and later, managed a Liaison office for Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising in Tokyo. Upon returning to the US, his focus turned to growing enterprises, from an Internet based start-up in 2000, acquiring Arthouse Marketing Group in 2007, to the formation of Spotlight Cinema Networks in 2010. Spotlight Cinema is owned by Mark Cuban, Todd Wagner and Arthouse Marketing.
Jerry graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in International Marketing.
George is a four-time entrepreneur who grew NutriSystem, Inc., as its president, to more than $600 million in revenues from only $27 million, its profits to $100+ million from virtually nothing, and its market capitalization more than 100x to $2.5 billion from $18 million. He was also one of the earliest Internet entrepreneurs with his first start-up, RF Globalnet, being one of the most successful B2B websites in the mid-to-late 1990s and an executive at VerticalNet which had one of the top ten IPOs of all time in 1999. His second start-up was funded by Softbank Venture Capital. George loves helping entrepreneurs and is now focused on investing in search funds.
Nick founded Mooring Hitch Special Investments in 2017, after several years running Mooring Hitch- a respected financial consultancy focused on deal valuations, merger analysis, and sales/operations. Currently, Nick sits on the Board of Directors for Precision Concrete Cutting, Asensei, SellersFunding, 280 Group, and D2C Brands.
Previously, Nick played a critical role in growing both TinyRx, a prescription delivery startup that then received a significant investment from Google Ventures, and SpotOn, a digital loyalty company which entered over 7,000 stores. Before operational roles at those two technology start-ups, Nick helped the ownership of the San Francisco 49ers make the new $1.2billion stadium in Santa Clara possible by spearheading suite sales for high profile corporate partners. Prior to joining the 49ers, Nick was CEO of Celebrity Kids Portrait Studios, a chain of upscale professional photography studios which he nearly doubled in size before exiting in 2010. In addition, he worked for several years in Investment Banking for both Thomas Weisel Partners and Bear Stearns.
Nick graduated from Duke University, where he played varsity football, with a BA in Economics and Public Policy, and Stanford University with a MBA.
Alex is a co-founder of Vision33 and currently runs all aspects of the companies US Operations and is a 25+ year industry veteran. With Alex’s leadership contribution, Vision33 has grown to more than $100m annual revenue, become a premier global partner with SAP, and is developing best of breed cloud integration solutions for Fortune1000 clients. Alex currently sits on the prestigious Global Partner Executive Council (GPEC) for SAP. Alex has a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a MS in Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.
Dr. Allen is Co-Founder and CEO of Elevian, a preclinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing therapeutics that target aging. Dr. Allen is a serial entrepreneur and executive, with experience leading organizations from inception to profitable growth to successful exit. Most recently, Dr. Allen was the Founder & CEO of Corticon, sold to Progress (NASD: PRGS), a leading rules engine powering automated decision-making in healthcare, retail, government and financial services. A member of YPO since 2009, Dr. Allen has a BS in Applied Physics from Columbia University and an MD from UCLA.