Investment banking: Throughout his career, Mike has served the both public and private middle-market businesses with a broad array of strategic financial advisory services, including capital formation, with primary focus on merger and acquisition advisory services. Mike has completed 100 transactions over the course of his career in excess of $4.0 billion in transaction value. Mike was a co-Founder of St. Charles Capital (“SCC”), a leading M&A boutique headquartered in Denver. Mike served as the firm’s President from 2007 to 2014 growing the firm to 25 investment bankers while being the firm’s leading producer. Mike led the sale of SCC to KPMG in 2014. At KPMG, Mike was the Global Head of TMT (“Technology, Media and Telecom”) M&A with a dedicated team of 200 investment bankers focusing on middle-market TMT M&A in over 80 countries. Mike retired from KPMG in August 2016.
Private equity investing: Mike also led SCC’s and its predecessor firm’s merchant banking efforts investing growth, buyout and recapitalizations. The partners SCC and its predecessor firms invested over $4 million of their individual capital resulting in returns well in excess of private equity market returns. Mike continues to be actively invest in lower middle-market growth equity and buy-out transactions for his own account through Morning Glory Capital LLC.
Company and board advisory services: Mike currently serves as a Senior Advisor to CoorsTek, Inc., the global leader in advanced industrial ceramics with ~$1.0 billion in annual revenue. Since 2003, Mike has been the lead advisor to CoorsTek advising on over $1.3 billion in transactions in helping to building the company to be the global market leader in advanced industrial ceramics. Mike currently serves as lead director of the board of directors of a publicly traded company in the building materials market. In the past, Mike has served on eight for-profit boards, including 3 other public company boards.
Greg (nicknamed “Woody” since childhood) is the CEO/Executive Director of BEN Colorado. A veteran Coloradan entrepreneur, Greg has founded several companies including those in technology, manufacturing, distribution, motorsports, retail, services and non-profit—and like all entrepreneurs, has seen a variety of successes and failures to keep him humble. Greg’s entrepreneurial energy was passed on to him by his father at the age of eight years old when he started his first business mowing yards and selling hanging baskets and bags of kindling firewood in his Little Rock, Arkansas, neighborhood.
Greg most recently sold comCables, a network infrastructure manufacturer and low voltage distributor he founded in 1999, to The Audax Group, a multi-billion dollar private equity firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the founder and CEO of Idella Wines, a boutique winery in Napa Valley, California, and is the co-founder and CEO of Colorado Thought Leaders Forum. Greg is a current Board Member of Wish for Wheels, serves on several private company boards of directors, and is a former board member of Colorado Companies to Watch.
Greg is married to his wife, Tammy, of 21 years. While he is passionate about his business endeavors, his other life interests include building community relationships, investing in inner-city-at-risk youth, cycling, SUP surfing and enjoying wine.
Chris has invested in over 200 early / growth stage businesses. He currently sits on the board of directors of Foodmaven and Vinyl Me Please. He is a co-founder and former COO/CFO at Galvanize where he raised over $85 million of capital to support Galvanize’s growth and expansion from a concept to eight campuses with locations including San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Denver, Boulder, Phoenix and Austin. Over 3,000 students have completed Galvanize’s software developer and data science training programs. Chris also co-founded and managed Galvanize Venture Fund I, LP. , where he led seed investments in 50+ companies (Rachio, Cloud Elements, Chowbotics, Jumpcloud, Cozy, etc.)
Prior to co-founding Galvanize, Chris was a partner with Appian Ventures where he worked with Ping Identity (acquired for ~$650 mm by Vista Equity Partners), mPay Gateway (acquired by Payspan), T3 Media, Tendril and Auctionpay (acquired by Global Payments). Earlier in his career, he had the privilege of working with Broadbus Technologies (acquired by Motorola) and Datalogix (acquired by Oracle for $1.2 billion.) Chris is also an investor in Bullet Time Ventures (Uber, Sendgrid, Twilio, Simply Measured.) He served on the board of directors of Spex and led the company through its recent sale / majority investment from J.S. Held.
Chris spent four years with LEK Consulting, an international strategy consulting boutique, before locating to Colorado. Chris speaks often about entrepreneurial finance at both Denver University’s Daniels College of Business and the Leeds College of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is a current board member and the former President and Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Venture Capital Association, and is a co-founder of the Associates Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado.
Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network
The Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network (“BEN” or “the Network”) in Colorado is funded by a $3 million gift from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation to the State of Colorado and is administered by the University of Colorado’s Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship. In parallel with other Silicon Flatirons projects, like Startup Colorado and the CU-Boulder campus entrepreneurship initiative, BEN identifies promising Colorado-based companies across industries (namely, technology, health, aerospace, energy, and natural products) and geographies, and provides guidance and meaningful connections to help these companies scale. With the help of our advisor network, BEN leverages expertise across a range of disciplines, connecting and supporting our community and network members with a range of valuable programming. By building relationships, providing educational resources, and supporting scale-up growth through a range of offerings, BEN is a natural extension of the overall educational and outreach mission of Silicon Flatirons.
Derek co-founded Workhorse Capital in 2016. As one of the firm’s General Partners, Derek is actively involved in all aspects of the firm’s strategic and operational development. Derek represents Workhorse Capital and its predecessor on the Boards of Datavail and Traackr.
Previously, Derek was a Managing Director of Meritage Funds, a multi-stage private investment firm, which he joined in 2003. Derek led Meritage’s efforts to reposition itself as a growth-equity firm during the firm’s 2008 formation of Meritage Fund III. Derek was active in the firm’s sourcing and marketing efforts, originating a number of the firm’s investments, including EdgeConneX, Faction and Crisp Media. Previously, Derek held a number of operating and financial advisory positions in the TES segment, including CEO of IP Commerce and Vice President of NetLibrary. Derek’s prior experience also includes work as an investment banker with the Wallach Company and A.G. Edwards & Sons. Derek is a graduate of Indiana University and The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where he graduated with honors.
Ryan has been funding and supporting companies in the “early growth” stage for over 14 years. He is a Managing Partner at Iron Gate Capital (IGC) and leads the firms’ technology investment strategy.
He serves on the boards of Branded Online, Central Logic, HZO, Integrate.com, RemoteLock, and Liqid. He helps oversee IGC’s investment in Techstars Ventures and previously served on the boards of Acustream (acquired in 2018). He is the current co-chair of the RMVCA and was the founder and chairman of Starfish Greathearts Foundation in the USA, a global charity formed to help children orphaned through AIDS in South Africa.
Ryan’s career spans investments in venture capital (“early stage”), and private equity (“early growth”, and “growth” stage) companies, as well as operations (finance, product, sales and marketing) at both private and public companies.
Earlier in his career, he held several management and operating positions at Investec Asset Management (LSE:INVP) in both South Africa and England. Investec was formed as a startup in South Africa and has since grown to be a successful multi-billion dollar market cap global banking and investment management company based in London. After a successful operating career, he moved to the US in 2002.
Prior to joining IGC, Ryan was a Managing Director at a ~$700M VC/PE technology, media and network investment firm based in Denver. During this time he developed his investment thesis (which is focused on helping companies achieve and maintain sustainably high growth during their “early growth” stage), and his partnering philosophy (which is designed to optimize how investors and operating teams collaborate for success).
Ryan holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, a graduate degree in International Economics, Politics and Philosophy from Oxford University in England, and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.
He lives in Boulder, CO with his wife, Lauren, and their two children. When not working with the IGC portfolio, he can be found somewhere in the Rockies riding his mountain bike, skiing, fishing, or hiking a trail.