Michael F. O’Connell is the Senior Managing Director at
M2O, Inc. He oversees the assessment of investment opportunities and reviews the
ongoing performance of portfolio companies. For most of his career, Michael was President and
Managing Director of Anhalt, O’Connell & Steffanci Inc., a Los Angeles-based investment
management firm with almost $1 billion under management.
In 1992, Michael purchased the National Lines Bureau, a ship mooring company operating at the
Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors, the largest (combined) commercial port in America. This
initial, successful investment prompted many more and Michael soon shifted his focus from
investment management to venture capital. Today, he leads M2O with a portfolio of more than 40
Michael also sits on the board of American Biosurgical Inc., Veri-Tax, and Yates & Associates
Insurance. Michael holds a B.A., with high honors, from Harvard College and an MBA from
Harvard Business School.
Aaron is a Vice President at Peterson Search Partners.
Prior to joining Peterson Search Partners, Aaron was the CEO of BenefitGuard, a 401(k)
administrator. Prior to joining BenefitGuard, Aaron was a financial economist at the U.S.
Treasury in Washington DC. Aaron received an MBA and B.S. from Brigham Young University, and
serves on the board of the BYU Men’s Soccer Program.
Brandon Cope is a Partner at Peterson Partners. Prior to
joining Peterson Partners, Brandon was an Engagement Manager for McKinsey and Company. Brandon
received an MBA from The Kellogg School of Management and M.S. and B.S. degrees in Accounting
from Brigham Young University. Board Directorships: InMoment (f.k.a. Mindshare), CLEO, Integra
Partners, Veri-Tax, DCI, Angoss.
Michael-Kevin (M-K) O’Connell joined M2O, Inc. as a Managing Director in 2009. He is responsible for sourcing and reviewing new investment opportunities as well as monitoring the performance of portfolio companies.
Prior to joining M2O, M-K was a Manager with L.E.K. Consulting. During his tenure there, M-K led project teams across a diverse range of industries and business issues. His projects included the strategic due diligence of a $1 billion building materials company, the development of a customer contact and support strategy for a legacy airline, the strategic realignment and long-term plan for a major Los Angeles attraction, and the strategic due diligence of a leading equipment supplier to solar cell manufacturers.
Before L.E.K., M-K worked in commercial real estate as the Director of Research for CB Richard Ellis in New England. M-K also sits on the board at Origo Commodities Management and is an advisor to Veri-Tax and Yates & Associates Insurance.
M-K received his B.S, magna cum laude, from Boston College and his MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania where he was the recipient of the Thomas P. Gerrity Leadership Award for achieving “excellence in both academic and co-curricular pursuits.”
David Carver is a co-founder of Search Fund Partners. He and his partner, Rich Kelley, have spent the last nine years developing and managing the SFP portfolio. He is on the board of iNet Interactive, FastSpring, Great Bay Software, Advanced Network Solutions, UnitedLayer, DataFusion, StaffOne, WebEquity, Raptor Technologies and VRI.
David spent thirty years as an executive in the high tech industry, and has extensive experience in all phases of business, including M&A, fund-raising, corporate strategy and operations. He was CEO of HiFive!, an application service provider; CEO of Hipbone Networks, an online collaboration company; EVP and GM at Network Associates; COO of Network General; an EIR at Institutional Venture Partners; and an executive at Hewlett-Packard, including ten years in the professional service/software divisions of HP.
Dave has an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Arkansas. Dave and his wife Julia have two boys, RJ and Sam. He is active in community and non-profit organizations, having founded the Redwood Chapter of National Junior Basketball serving 650 children.
Rich Kelley co-founded Search Fund Partners in 2004. He currently serves on the boards of Discovia, HemaSource, Verengo, Avadyne, RIA in a Box, ISC, and Medical Positioning, Inc.
Rich Kelley has been involved in numerous small businesses and start-up companies as an operator, owner, and investor. His varied experience includes: CFO of Score Learning Centers, CEO of San Jose Giants, General Partner of the Stanford Terrace Inn, developer of houses and subdivisions, owner of office buildings and hotels, investor in successful tech start-ups (Coinstar, PLX Technology, Corcept Therapeutics). He has also invested in many limited partnerships, including venture funds, and has been involved as a search fund investor since 1994.
Rich has an MBA from Stanford and a BA from Stanford. Rich and his wife Gina have two children, Riley and Sam. He has served as an elected school board trustee and is active with the Positive Coaching Alliance and Sustainable Conservation as an advisor.
Jim Edmunds joined Search Fund Partners in 2008 after running a company sourced through the search fund model. Jim and his partner found and acquired Celebrity Kids Portrait Studios, a leading provider of upscale children's photography in 2005. Jim served as President and CFO of the company. He currently participates on the boards of Microdea, Neuro International, Consumeraffairs.com, Gogotech, and UCIT Online.
Before launching a search fund, Jim was an Associate at McKinsey & Company in Palo Alto. Prior to attending business school, Jim conducted business development for PetSmart.com, managed a successful political campaign in Texas, and worked in Investment Banking and Equity Capital Markets at Bear Stearns.
Jim holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was named a Siebel Scholar, and an A.B. in History from Harvard University. He is the treasurer of Building Futures Now, a non-profit dedicated to helping high potential students in East Palo Alto. He lives in Menlo Park with his wife Christine, daughter Emiko, and son Koji.
Bill is a founder and General Partner of Alta Communications and Marion Equity Partners, Massachusetts-based venture capital firms. He founded Alta's predecessor firm, Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co. in 1979, and has identified and backed several of America's leading growth companies in the information technology, life sciences, and communications industries. Prior to founding Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co., Bill was a Partner at TA Associates. He began his career as a Manager of Venture Capital for New England Enterprise Capital Corporation.
He is past President and Chairman of the National Venture Capital Association, a Trustee of Fairfield University, a Member of the Board of Overseers of The Wharton School and a Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Board of CRH plc, and a number of privately held companies.
Bill received a degree in Economics from Fairfield University and an MBA from the Wharton School.
Craig Burr has devoted his career almost exclusively to venture capital and private equity activities, having founded Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co., a private investment firm. Previously, Mr. Burr was a partner at TA Associates. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the New England Venture Capital Association and serves on the Boards of Directors of several private companies. Mr. Burr received his BA, cum laude, from Harvard College and his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Matthew Burr is a general partner at Matland Capital, where he is responsible for a hedge fund portfolio and is also active in making private investments. He previously worked at Cambridge Associates, where he was a hedge fund analyst and also assisted universities, foundations, and high net worth families with asset allocation, investment manager selection, and market research. Mr. Burr received his BA, cum laude, from Harvard University, and has a master's degree from Duke University in Environmental Management.
Sandro Mina is the co-founder & Managing Director of Relay Investments and is based in the Boston office. In early 1993, Sandro, along with Gunnar Bjorklund, Martin Steber and Nick Babchuck, co-founded Sverica International, where Sandro spent 20 years as a co-founding Partner. He currently serves on several company boards including Ackerman Security Systems and Oasis. Mr. Mina also serves on the board of the Swedish School of Boston. During Sverica’s early days, Sandro served as President and CEO of Cameraworld.com, one of Sverica’s pre-fund portfolio companies.
In earlier careers, Mr. Mina worked in the public and private sectors in a number of industries, including technology (United Nations Computing Centre and Storage Technology), banking (Citibank, Goldman Sachs & Co. and VISA) and telecommunications (consultant for a large European company).
Mr. Mina earned his BSc degree in Computer Engineering from Imperial College at the University of London and his MBA degree at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.
Martin Steber is the co-founder & Managing Director of Relay Investments and is based in the Montreal office. In early 1993, Martin, along with Gunnar Bjorklund, Sandro Mina and Nick Babchuk, co-founded Sverica International. During his early tenure, Mr. Steber was CEO of two pre-fund investments in Birmingham, Alabama, Automatic Detection Systems Inc, an electronic security company, and AccuDocs LLC, a billing services company. Both of these entities were eventually sold to larger industry leaders. Later, Mr. Steber was actively involved in raising Sverica’s first and second private equity funds. Mr. Steber retired from Sverica in late 2007 to relocate to Europe. He continues to serve on the board of Ackerman Security Systems, as well as OASIS. Mr. Steber is a Limited Partner in or co-invests with each of Sverica’s funds and serves on the board of directors of several other privately held companies including several companies acquired by search funds.
Mr. Steber completed his BSc in Computer Engineering from Imperial College at the University of London and his MBA degree at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.
Scott Asen is currently a private investor managing a portfolio of equity and real estate investments for his personal account. Mr. Asen joined the brokerage firm of Mitchell, Hutchins & Co. in 1967, where he worked in the investment advisory department with responsibility for research on small technology stocks. Between 1969 and 1974, Mr. Asen was a portfolio manager with Research and Science Investors, a New York based venture capital and money management firm. From 1974 until 1977, Mr. Asen was self-employed as a journalist specializing in reporting on municipal finance issues. In 1977, Mr. Asen became a general partner of Pioneer Ventures, a group of investment entities funded originally by a wealthy New Yorker. Throughout the following two decades, Mr. Asen had primary responsibility for managing the various Pioneer Ventures entities, which were successfully liquidated over a number of years through 2002. Mr. Asen currently sits on the boards of three privately held companies, is a Trustee of Groton School and The Paris Review, and is a board member of the Island Foundation. Mr. Asen graduated from Harvard College in 1966.
Tushar Shah is a Managing Director of Kinderhook Partners. Prior to Kinderhook Partners, LLC, Tushar was a Principal at Geocapital Partners, a leading venture capital firm. Before Geocapital, Tushar was a strategy consultant with the Monitor Group, where he led a range of projects in New York, London and Tel Aviv. Tushar was also a WorldTeach volunteer in Ecuador. Tushar is a CFA charterholder and received a B.A. in Economics from Williams College.
Mr. Whitelaw founded Graue Mill Partners, LLC ("GMP") in December 2000 and has played an active role in its development and oversight of the firm's investments. Previously, Mr. Whitelaw spent over twenty-five years as an investment banker to corporations of various sizes both domestically and abroad, advising in all areas of capital raising, corporate finance and mergers/acquisitions. Just prior to forming GMP, Mr. Whitelaw was Managing Director and Head of the Chicago corporate finance office for PaineWebber Group, where he re-established the firm's investment banking presence in the Midwest to leverage the middle-market, equity research driven focus of the firm.
Previous to this, Mr. Whitelaw served in various, increasingly senior roles at Merrill Lynch & Co. over nearly twenty years, both in New York and Chicago, most recently as Managing Director and Head of the Midwest Financial Institutions and Global Insurance Groups. As a strategic advisor, he was responsible for a variety of industry shaping transactions, capital raising transactions and defensive assignments for clients including BancOne, First Illinois Corporation, National City Corporation, Firstbank Illinois, US Bancorp and The Northern Trust Company.
GMP's largest portfolio investment to date was lead by Mr. Whitelaw, as he engineered a partnership with Axxon Groupe to aquire Vetbrands International, Inc., a Brazilian based manufacturer of animal pharmacueticals. GMP's ownership in Vetbrands provided exceptional returns to the firm and its investors with its sale to Ceva Sante Animale in 2007.
More recently, Mr. Whitelaw has lead GMP's efforts to refine its origination and investment focus in the Search Fund asset class, as the firm has successfully positioned itself as an active partner and unique resource to Search Fund Entrepreneurs in this very attractive alternative investment category. In 2013, these efforts culminated in an exclusive partnership with RMB Capital, a $4 billion asset management firm, which now serves as GMP's instituional capital partner in its rapidly expanding portfolio of Search Fund investments. In this connection, Mr. Whitelaw now sits on the Board of Directors of GMP's most recent Search Fund acquired operating company, Lund Van Dyke, LLC, a provider of pediatric therapy services.
Mr. Whitelaw is an honors graduate of Vanderbilt University and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He is a past Chair of the Wellness House Foundation Board of Directors, a former President and Board Member of the Hinsdale Golf Club and is currently a Director of the Western Golf Association/Evans Scholars Foundation.
Mr. Bruder has been managing private equity investments and partnerships for nearly 15 years. Prior to joining Graue Mill Partners in 2003, he was most focused on creating long term capital appreciation through participatory ownership with management. This overall theme of creating business environments that would motivate entrepreneurial executives, partners, and staff, laid the foundation for Mr. Bruder's work at GMP.
Beginning in 1980, Mr. Bruder spent 20 years as a member of the Chicago Board Options Exchange and 18 years as a member of the Chicago Board of Trade. At the CBOE, Mr. Bruder was a long-standing member of the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, and numerous standing committees. He also served on the Board of Trustees of the Cincinnati Stock Exchange. He continues to serve as a public member of the Business Conduct Committee of the CBOE.
Mr. Bruder currently serves on the Board of Directors of Out of Home Holdings Corporation, the parent of OOHA Wilkins Media, a leading global provider of independent out-of-home advertising services and a GMP search fund portfolio company. He is a Director of Hinsdale Bank & Trust, a $1.8 billion community bank and a subsidiary of the $18 billion financial services holding company, Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC), and sits on the Board of another Wintrust subsidiary, Tricom Funding, Inc., a premier provider of payroll, administrative and funding services.
Mr. Bruder is a past Chairman of the Board and CEO of the USO of Illinois, and continues to serve on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Ride 2 Recovery, and has been a member of the Board of Directors of numerous other philanthropic organizations.
Mr. Bruder received a BA with honors from the University of Southern California. He also attended a Doctoral Studies program at the University of Delaware.
Mr. Rothschild has been involved as an Advisory Board member of Graue Mill Partners for a number of years and now has recently joined GMP as a Partner. He continues to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of Iron Partners LLC, a Chicago-based multi-strategy, multi-manager fund of hedge funds. He led a group of investors that acquired controlling interest in Iron in July, 2007.
Prior to Iron Partners Mr. Rothschild was the Managing Partner of Sage Equity Partners LLC which provided strategic and financial advisory services to corporate clients, including: JD Edwards , Applied Films Corporation, Ball Aerospace Systems Engineering Group, Quicklink, IDES, C-COM and Webb Interactive Services. He served on the Board of Directors of eTrinsic, C-COM and Webb Interactive Services.
In 1996, Mr. Rothschild was named Co-Chief Executive Officer of International Language Engineering Corporation (“ILE”), a Boulder, CO software localization and translation services company. In 1997 he led the recapitalization of ILE by a prominent NYC private equity firm. He led the management team that grew ILE from 150 employees in 1996 to $24 million in revenues with 250 employees operating in five locations by 1999 when he left the company. ILE was merged with its largest U.S. competitor which was then was acquired by Lionbridge Technologies in 2000.
Mr. Rothschild served as a Vice President in the Corporate Finance Group of Kemper Securities . Prior to joining Kemper in 1994, Mr. Rothschild was a Founder and President of Memory Clearing Corporation, a startup company in San Francisco formed in 1989 to create a futures market in semiconductor memory products.
Mr. Rothschild was a member of the Chicago Board Options Exchange from 1978 through 1989 and a member of the Pacific Stock Exchange from 1983 to 1989. He was elected to the Board of Governors of the Pacific Stock Exchange in 1987 and served through 1989. From June 1976 through October 1978 he worked for Harris Bank in Chicago (now owned by Bank of Montreal) where he was responsible for commercial banking relationships to a wide range of corporate clients in the Midwest.
Mr. Rothschild holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S. in Economics from Iowa State University.
John T. Fitzgerald has extensive experience acquiring and operating middle-market companies. J.T. is a former search funder himself and is co-founder of Argo Management Partners, a private investment firm that has acquired or made direct investments and follow-on acquisitions in 14 operating companies utilizing the Search Fund model.
Mr. Fitzgerald is Chairman of Hunter MFG, LLP, and serves on the board of directors of Oak Patch Gifts , Progressive Bronze Products, Atlas Financial Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: AFH), and 1347 Capital Corp (NASDAQ: TFSC).
Prior to Argo Management Partners, Mr. Fitzgerald was co-founder and managing director of Adirondack Capital, LLC, a financial futures and derivatives trading firm. He was formerly a member and Full seat owner on the Chicago Board of Trade.
JT has been invited to speak on multiple occasions at the Kellogg School of Management on the topic of Search Funds and acquiring and operating middle-market businesses. He is a member of the Young Presidents Organization and also enjoys skiing, cycling, competing in triathlons, and fly-fishing.
Mr. Fitzgerald is an MBA graduate of the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University with concentrations in Finance, Accounting, and Management Strategy. He holds a BS, finance, from DePaul University with highest honor, Beta Gamma Sigma.
Scott is a Managing Director at Trilogy Search Partners. Most recently, he was on the investing team of Trilogy Equity Partners, where he is still a Partner. Previously, Scott spent 11 years at Western Wireless Corporation in various roles, including Chief Financial Officer of Western Wireless International which operated mobile networks in Europe, Africa, South America and the Caribbean. Scott graduated from Whitman College, where today he serves on the Board of Overseers, and he has an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Cregg is a Managing Director at Trilogy Search Partners. Previously, Cregg served as Executive Vice President – Finance, Strategy and Development for VoiceStream Wireless (now T-Mobile US). In addition, he served as SVP – Corporate Development of both VoiceStream and Western Wireless Corporation. Prior to his wireless career, Cregg worked at The First Boston Corporation. Cregg received his BS and MBA degrees from Indiana University. He lives in Marin County, California and is a trustee of Marin Academy. Cregg is also a Partner of Trilogy Equity Partners and serves on the boards of Asurion and ResponseLink and on the advisory board of HarvestWest Investments.
David Dodson has been active for twenty-five years in the management and formation of new businesses. After graduating from Stanford MBA, as a case writer he wrote the original course material for search funds—then in its infancy. After one year as a case writer, Dodson raised his own search fund, which led to the purchase of a company in 1989. He subsequently raised two more search funds that resulted in acquisitions, and has served as CEO of a technology manufacturer and Executive Chairman a telecommunications firm. Dodson is an active investor, investing in over forty businesses.
Mr. Dodson has been a director in twenty-one companies, and currently serves on the board of: Teton Gravity Research, Wind River Environmental, Eyewitness Surveillance, Innflux LLC, and Carillon Assisted Living. He is active in three non-profit boards: U.S. Fund for UNICEF (Regional), Project Healthy Children, and Sanku LLC. He is completing his first novel and teaches three courses at the Stanford Graduate School of Business: "Managing Growing Enterprises", "Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition", and "Managerial Skills".
David is a graduate of Stanford University (Economics ’83, MBA ‘87), and a frequent guest for New Ventures and Managing Growing Enterprises courses, and a former case writer (1988).
David Dodson is on the faculty of the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University teaching classes on entreprenurship and managing growing enterprises. He also is the CEO of Project Healthy Children, a non-profit organization with five offices in Africa and Asia which focuses on micronutrient malnutrition.
Andy Love is Founder and Managing Principal of Aspect Investors, LLC, an investment company focused on lower-middle market private companies. He is also a Strategic Consultant to Behavioral Health Group (BHG). Prior to founding Aspect, Mr. Love served as Chief Executive Officer of Behavioral Health Group, a substance abuse services company that he co-founded in 2006 through a private equity vehicle that he co-founded, VantageCap Partners. Under his leadership, BHG was a three-time winner of the Inc. 500|5000 award (2010, 2011, 2012), where the company was ranked the 18th fastest growing private healthcare company in the U.S. (2010), and the Dallas 100 (2009, 2010, 2011) award. The Frontenac Company acquired BHG through a majority sale in mid-2011.
Prior to founding BHG and its sponsor, VantageCap Partners, Mr. Love was a founding team member of Broadband Venture Partners (“BVP”), a Dallas-based growth equity firm focused on the telecommunications and enterprise software industries. At BVP, he worked extensively with Telecom Technologies Inc., acquired by Sonus Networks Inc. (SONS); VeriCenter, Inc., acquired by SunGard Data Systems Inc.; and other BVP portfolio companies. Mr. Love’s experience also includes working with top management of other entrepreneurial growth companies, including Informative, Inc., acquired by Satmetrix Systems Inc. Earlier in his career, Mr. Love was with Bain & Company, where he worked to solve complex strategic and operational issues for Fortune 1000 companies.
Mr. Love is a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), is Co-President of the DFW Chapter of the Stanford GSB Alumni Association, and is a Board Member of the University of Texas Silver Spurs Alumni Association. Mr. Love is also a recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award, Southwest Region (2011). He serves as an advisor and board member to several non-profit organizations and private companies. Mr. Love holds a BA in Plan II Honors, magna cum laude, from The University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors and departmental distinction. He also holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an MA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Education.
Tim Ludwig is Managing Partner at Ohana Capital, a private equity firm that invests in search funds and profitable lower middle-market companies. Prior to founding Ohana Capital, Mr. Ludwig was President of a privately-held, commercial real estate company where he oversaw projects totaling over $150 million in value and led teams in asset management, acquisitions, and dispositions. Mr. Ludwig also served in a junior executive role at a middle-market manufacturing business, worked in business development at a venture-backed start-up, and began his career as a consultant with Arthur Andersen Business Consulting. He holds a BA from The College of Wooster (Phi Beta Kappa, honors) and an MBA from the Ross School at the University of Michigan, where he was a student member of the Wolverine Venture Fund.
Kent Weaver is currently Executive Chairman and former CEO of Progressive Home Care, a Northern California-based health care company. Previously, Mr. Weaver held executive positions in marketing and product management for a VC-backed marketing software startup, served as regional CFO and business analyst in Pepsico's Pizza Hut Division, and as a management consultant at Ernst & Young. He received his BS in finance from the University of Southern California and MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles. He currently serves on the board at VRI, Discovery Outsourcing, Integra, Onesource Water, Change Academy Lake of the Ozarks and Healthwyse.