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2017

Top 30 Family-Backed VC Investors

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Family offices have come a long way. What was once a cottage industry of personalized financial advisors serving the basic needs for the ultra-wealthy, these investment operations have grown increasingly sophisticated and are now some of the most active pioneers in venture capital investing. Many wealthy families and individuals — often entrepreneurs by origin — utilize family offices or personal venture capital firms to invest directly in the next-generation of innovation. This list features 30 outstanding individuals from this unique group of institutional investors who are early funders of some of the most successful companies of tomorrow.

Chris Girgenti joined Pritzker Group Venture Capital in 1996 and has served as managing partner since 1998. During his tenure, he has led the organization and capital formation for four technology venture funds and has led or overseen investments in more than 100 companies. Previously, Girgenti worked in investment banking at The Chicago Corporation and Kemper Securities. He also serves on numerous boards. Girgenti holds a B.S. in applied mathematics-economics from Brown University and an MBA in finance and accounting from Columbia Business School. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.

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Sigurd Strack

Director of Private Equity, Special Situations

Willett Advisors

Sigurd Strack is the director of private equity and special situations at Willett Advisors LLC, the investment arm for former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s personal and philanthropic assets. Strack oversees the firm’s investments in fund managers focused on leveraged buy-outs, growth equity, venture capital and credit. Prior to Willett, he was a partner at Headlands Capital, an asset management firm focused on private equity-style investing in small-cap public companies. He was also a founder of Coliseum Capital Advisors, an investment advisory business focused on secondary private equity transactions. Strack also spent 10 years at McKinsey & Company, where he was a partner in the Global Private Equity Practice. Strack graduated from the University Carolo Wilhelmina in Braunschweig (Germany) with a master's degree in engineering and received an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Tom Patterson is a managing partner at Madrone Capital Partners, a private investment firm located in Menlo Park, California. Patterson co-founded Madrone in 2005 and presently serves on the boards of Barry-Wehmiller, Progress Financial, DMB Pacific and Trumpet Behavioral Health. Prior to Madrone, he was a growth equity investor at Weston Presidio for eight years and a consultant at McKinsey & Company for four years. Patterson holds an bachelor's degree in history from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Show more

Alan Heuberger is a portfolio manager Cascade Investment LLC, the family office of Bill Gates. Heuberger joined the Gates organization in 1996. He was the second employee of Cascade. Currently he oversees fixed income portfolios, including portfolios dedicated to inflation linked and European fixed income securities. He also serves on various nonprofit
investment committees in the greater Seattle area. Hueberger graduated from Claremont McKenna College.

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Brent Whisenant is a managing director at Medley Partners. He focuses on fund commitments, secondaries and co-investments across leveraged buyout, growth and venture capital strategies. Prior to joining Medley in 2008, Whisenant was a managing director at The Carlyle Group. Before that, he was the vice president at Robertson Stephens' merger & acquisitions group. Whisenant started his career as an auditor with PwC in New York City. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Columbia Law School.

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James Collet is a managing director at Hersh Family Investments. Previously, he held several senior executive positions with large companies in a variety of industries. Collet has served as president and CEO for operating companies in the store fixture, plastic injection molding, metal fabrication, energy services and medical device industries. He also spent 10 years in the investment banking working at Samco Capital Markets and Ernst & Young. Collet holds BBA and MBA degrees, with distinction, from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

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Derry Burns is a director at Rosewood Private Investments, an investment arm of Caroline Hunt Trust Estate. Previously, Burns served as a portfolio analyst and investment manager for Rosewood Management Corporation. Prior to joining Rosewood, Burns was a financial analyst at Olicom, Inc. He holds a BBA in finance from The University of Georgia. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.

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Alan Chang is a partner and managing director at Capricorn Investment Group. He oversees Capricorn's Asia and emerging markets portfolio and global venture portfolio. Prior to Capricorn, Chang worked at DFJ New England, managing early-stage venture investments, and Montgomery Securities (now Banc of America Securities), advising technology companies on corporate finance. Chang received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. from Duke University, graduating cum laude with a triple major in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Art History. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.

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Talbott Simonds is a managing director for investments at Tondern Capital, an affiliate of The Hillman Company based in New York City. Simonds joined Tondern in 2004. Prior to that, he was a vice president at Trident Capital, a venture capital firm, and worked in investment banking at Robertson Stephens. He has served on numerous private company and nonprofit organization boards. Simonds received a bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 1996 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2004.

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Scott Soffen

Vice President, Senior Investment Officer

American Trading and Production Corporation

Scott Soffen is a senior investment officer at the American Trading and Production Corporation (Atapco), where he manages all the corporation's non-real estate investments. Prior to this, he was a director at Calvert Education, an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore, a managing director of equity research at Legg Mason, first vice president of equity research at Lehman Brothers and the vice president of equity research at Robert W. Baird. He has a B.A. in economics from Rutgers University and an MBA from New York University. He is also a CFA charter holder.

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Steve Hall is a managing director at Vulcan Capital where he heads up Vulcan's venture capital investment efforts. He began venture investing in 1998 and his prior exits include About.com (acquired by NY Times), Multex Systems (Reuters), Live Advice (Ingenio) and so on. Hall was formerly a corporate attorney with White & Case in New York, where he focused on M&A and securities transactions. He has been a frequent guest lecturer on venture capital investing and deal structuring at Columbia, UCLA and Boulder law schools. Hall received his double B.A. in business administration and political science from Furman University and J.D. from Columbia University Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.

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Sue Stein

Investment Director

H&S Ventures

Sue Stein has served as investment director at H&S Ventures, located in Orange County, California, since 2000. Previously, Stein was a senior manager at Arthur Andersen. Stein holds a B.S. in accounting from California State University-Northridge.

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Bryan Ritz is the managing director of Anschutz Investment Company. Previously, he was a portfolio manager within the same firm. Before joining Anschutz Investment Company, he was as a portfolio manager at ICON Advisors. Ritz has a B.S. in accounting and finance from the University of Denver and an MBA in finance from the University of Denver - Daniels College of Business. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.

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Dalibor Pivcevic is the managing principal at Graham Partners. He joined the firm in 1993. He is responsible for sourcing and evaluating new investment opportunities as well as providing oversight for a number of Graham Partners’ current portfolio companies. Pivcevic earned his B.A. in business and MBA, both from Temple University.

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Nicole Belytschko is a managing director at C.M. Capital Advisors, leading the firm's investment activities in venture capital and leverage buyout funds. Prior to joining C.M. Capital, she was an investment manager with Comprehensive Financial Management, a large West Coast multi-family office. Before that, Belytschko worked with Scient in developing the firm’s corporate venture arm and leading direct investments in technology companies. She was also a member of Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette’s Private Fund Group, where she marketed and distributed alternative investment products. Belytschko holds an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA, and a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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Scott Olle

Director of Investments

Hillspire, LLC

Scott Olle is a director of investments at Hillspire. Previously, Olle was associate at Pagemill Partners, trader at Marin Capital Partners and analyst at Banc of America Securities. Olle holds a B.A. in economics from Yale University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst.

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Nick Adams is a managing director at AME Cloud Ventures, a venture fund led by Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang. Adams joined the firm in 2012. Prior to AME, Adams spent five years leading business development for Cloud Valley in China and India, where he founded two startups. Adams earned his Master's in Engineering from Imperial College. His notable portfolio companies include Zoom, Cruise, Zymergen, Eero and Planet.

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Nick Seaver is a director at Ziff Capital Partners, the venture arm of hedge funds billionaires Ziff brothers' family office. At Ziff Capital Partners, Seaver focuses on direct private investments. Prior to working on the venture capital side in 2014, he was a senior advisor at Ziff Brothers Investments for four years. Seaver holds a bachelor's degree in English from Harvard University.

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Timothy Sheehy is partner at Fremont Private Holdings, the direct private investment arm of Fremont Group, the investment office for the Bechtel family. Previously, he worked in direct private equity investing groups of the Bank of Boston and Bank of America. He also worked at the investment banking group of Robert W. Baird & Co. Sheehy holds a B.A. in economics from The University of Chicago, and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania -- The Wharton School.

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Jeffrey Straayer

Portfolio Manager Private Markets

1888 Management

Jeffrey Straayer is portfolio manager of private markets at 1888 Management LLC. Previously, he was a portfolio manager of private markets at Koch Industries, where he led the private market investing effort. His other roles included senior investment officer at Wyoming Retirement System and founder/chief investment strategist at Golden Sun Capital Management. He has an MBA from Colorado State University and studied business administration, finance and information systems at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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Brad Powell is the managing director of investments at Emerson Collective, a multi-family office.

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Edmund Zysik is the director at Mousse Partners, where he was previously vice president and an investment professional. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Princeton University.

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Thomas Anderman is the director of private equity and partner at Cohen Private Ventures. Previously, he was a consultant at S.A.C. Venture Investments and principal at Paine & Partners. Anderman holds an MBA in finance, accounting and international business from Northwestern University. He also holds an M.A. in sociology and B.A in economics.

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Neil Goldfarb has been the managing director of the investment group at Starr Principal Holdings LLC since 2008. Previously, he was an investment professional at Code Hennessy & Simmons LLC and an analyst at Lehman Brothers. Goldfarb holds a B.S. in finance from Miami University.

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Elaine Chan

Senior Investment Officer

The Johnson Company

Elaine Chan is a senior investment officer at the Johnson Company. Previously, she worked at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Citigroup. Chan is a graduate from the University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School.

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Matt Bigliardi is the director of investments at Tao Capital Partners, a single-family office focused on tech invesmtnets across venture, growth and buyouts. Previously, Bigliardi was an invesment professional at H.I.G. Capital and an associate at Silver Lake. Bigliardi holds an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in computer science and economics from Brown University.

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Marie Young is director of investments at Bayshore Global Management. Previously, she served as a portfolio manager and an investment associate for Bayshore Global Management. Prior to Bayshore, she was a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs. Young holds a B.A. in economics from Northwestern University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

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Scott Morenstein is the managing director at Caxton Alternative Management Capital (CAM Capital) and leads the firm’s life sciences venture capital investing effort. He is also currently a board director at Velicept Therapeutics. Previously, he was the managing director at Valence Life Sciences and a board director at Celator Pharmaceuticals, until its acquisition by Jazz Pharmaceuticals. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.A. in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania. 

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Michele Cucullu recently joined Bayshore Global Management, the family office of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, as an investments director. Previously, Cucullu was the director of private equity at the University of California endowment for 10 years. Cucullu is a graduate from the California Institute of Technology.

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James Cabot

Co-Chair & Managing Director

Cabot-Wellington

James Cabot is a co-chair and managing director at Cabot Wellington, LLC, a Boston-based single-family office founded in 1996 with a philanthropic mission. Cobot has been with the firm since 2007. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in philosophy.

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