Optoro’s investors include Grotech Ventures, Northgate Holdings, QED Investors, and SJF Ventures. Private investors include Nigel Morris, founder of Capital One Financial Corporation and Dendy Young of McLean Capital LLC.
Lawson DeVries, Grotech Ventures
Lawson DeVries joined Grotech Ventures in 2005 and is a General Partner at the firm. He focuses primarily on investment opportunities in software, Internet, digital media, networking and infrastructure. Lawson currently serves on the boards of 6fusion, AnyPresence, BlogFrog, NexGen Storage and Biotix and works closely with a number of other Grotech Ventures portfolio companies including Aztek Networks, BroadSoft, Clarabridge, Collective Intellect, Hillcrest Labs, LogiXML, LogRhythm, Rebit, SkyeTek and TRAFFIQ. Prior to joining Grotech Ventures, Lawson was an Associate in the Institutional Equity Sales division of the Buckingham Research Group, a boutique independent research firm. Previously he was an Associate in the Equity Research division at Deutsche Bank where he rolled out coverage on a new division of the Industrials sector that included Caterpillar, Deere and Co. and AGCO. Prior to this, he was an Associate in Deutsche Bank’s Health Care group covering Managed Care stocks. Lawson has a BA in English Literature from Harvard University and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He is a member of MAVA and the NVCA.
David Griest, SJF Ventures
David Griest joined SFJ in 2004 and is a Managing Director in SJF Ventures’ Durham, NC office. David serves on the board of SJF portfolio companies BioSurplus (used laboratory equipment), eRecyclingCorps (reprocessing wireless devices), Rustic Crust (all-natural and organic pizza products) and Telkore (wireless infrastructure services). He previously served on the board of Salvage Direct (online salvage vehicle auction) until its successful exit in 2010. David was previously with Croft & Bender, an investment bank in Atlanta that provides venture capital, M&A and other financial advisory services for middle market and emerging growth companies in the Southeast. He also helped manage C&B Capital, a private equity fund that selectively invests in privately held, small- and mid-sized, high-potential growth companies. C&B Capital’s investments include venture capital for emerging growth companies, growth capital for more established companies and leveraged acquisitions and recapitalizations for growth-oriented companies with strong cash flows. David has an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a BBA in Finance from the University of Georgia. He enjoys mountaineering and hiking to each of the 50 states’ high points.
Dan Levine, Northgate Holdings
Northgate Holdings is an investment management firm that provides operational value-added to growth-stage companies where technology plays a transformative role. Northgate focuses on commerce and Big Data equity/debt investments where they can apply their operating experience and strategic relationships to enhance value. They have extensive experience operating at scale, and understand how to build smaller enterprises to scale. By providing capital, strategic guidance at the board level, and operational support to talented managers, the firm helps companies realize their full revenue, profit and market-value potential for the long-term.
The managing partner is Dan Levine. Dan has 6+ years experience working with Eddie Lampert overseeing, developing, and operating core and startup businesses, particularly within Sears Holdings, concentrating on ecommerce, mobile, social, machine learning, and local spaces. He has focused on multichannel experiences that leverage and link online, store, supply chain, pricing, inventory, merchandising, and analytics systems. Dan holds an AB from Harvard and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Nigel Morris, QED Investors
Nigel Morris co-founded Capital One Financial Corporation with Richard Fairbank. He is currently the managing partner of QED Investors, a direct investment fund focused on high-growth companies that leverage the power of data strategies. In addition, he works in an advisory capacity with General Atlantic Partners and Oliver Wyman. He serves on the board of numerous for-profit companies, including TransUnion, Red Ventures, Prosper, Media Math, and Braintree. He is also on the board of the Brookings Institution, National Geographic Ventures, ideas42, and the London Business School. During Nigel’s ten-year tenure, Capital One’s sales grew at a compound annual rate of more than 40%. Upon his retirement in 2004, Capital One’s 15,000 employees across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom managed over $80 billion of loans for 50 million customers. Generating over $1.5 billion in earnings, Capital One had successfully transitioned from an emerging start-up into an established public company valued at over $20 billion. Nigel has a BSC in psychology from the East London University and an MBA with distinction from London Business School, where he is also a Fellow.
Dendy Young, McLean Capital LLC
Dendy Young is the managing partner of McLean Capital LLC, a private equity firm based in McLean, Va., focused on private equity investments in government information technology. From January 1996 to February 2006, Young was chief executive officer of GTSI Corp. (Nasdaq: GTSI), an enterprise services and solutions provider. Additionally, he served as chairman of the board from 1998 until May 2007. An award-winning executive with more than 30 years of experience in the IT industry, Young serves on the executive committee of the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC), as chairman of NVTC’s TechPAC (political action committee), and on the board of directors of AFCEA International, the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association. He is chairman of the board of Navanti Group LLC, Qlarion Inc. and Personalized Cancer Therapy Inc.; is lead outside director of Obsidian Research; and is on the boards of Omnilink Systems Inc., Optoro Inc. and Internet Broadcasting Service. Prior to GTSI, Young served as CEO of Falcon Microsystems Inc., the second of two companies he founded and sold between 1981 and 1994. Young holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.