Our fund managers know what it takes to start and build companies.
Tom Kilcoyne, General Partner
As a Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Tom is recognized for his operational excellence and team-building capabilities particularly in the critical early stages. He has delivered successful exits on five startups over the last twenty years, so he understands what it takes to scale a concept into a growth stage company. He has raised over $100MM in capital, sold companies, and provided exceptional leadership.
Most recently, as COO of ClearObject, Tom worked closely with its CEO, John McDonald, to grow the managed services business. He then supported the transition of the company as a leader in the explosive-growth IoT market, successfully selling to two leading East Coast private equity firms.
Tom has been an advisor to entrepreneurs and is recognized for championing innovation which generates a constant source of deal flow. As Entrepreneur in Residence for Elevate Ventures, he recommended portfolio companies developing and executing funding, then guiding those companies with their strategic business plans. He was co-founder and managing partner of NewRoad Partners, a boutique merger and acquisition advisory firm based in Reston, Virginia helping companies devise capital strategies.
As a three-time CEO in the tech market, he has deep, hands-on operating experience including; startup organization, capital formation, ongoing operations, turn-arounds and merger and acquisitions.
Tom was the founding CEO for Simplexity, a communications marketplace that was successfully sold to In Phonic, a publicly traded company. A venture capital firm selected Tom and his team to turnaround two portfolio companies. Tom successfully sold Red Creek Communications to SonicWALL, a publicly traded, Silicon Valley company.The following year, he and his team led the sale of Veritect, a Northern Virginia-based security company to Red Siren, a privately held company based in Pittsburgh PA.
Tom was part of a select team at VeriFone, a leading Silicon Valley payment technology company, that created a new Internet payment system, ultimately selling to Hewlett Packard for $1.3B. Tom was an executive in marketing at MCI, Carnation and Oral-B.
Tom holds an MBA from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California and a B.S. in Marketing from The University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.
Oscar Moralez, General Partner
As a Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Oscar is a serial entrepreneur and early stage investor with over twenty years of experience in the early stage venture space. Oscar is a mentor and coach and has advised multiple health and life sciences companies as well as a diverse range of emerging technology companies over his career. He brings a rigor to the leadership team based on his extensive experience in the venture space including process, metrics, discipline and portfolio management. A familiar part of the region’s ecosystem, he brings deal flow and significant experience with deal structure to the team.
As a health care executive, Oscar saw a significant need, yet sizeable, addressable market, leading him to startup BioStorage Technologies (BST) in Indianapolis in 2002. BST was sold to Brooks Life Sciences, a division of Brooks Automation (NASDAQ: BRKS) in 2017 for $127MM. Concurrently, he became the founder and managing director of VisionTech Partners (VisionTech). Formed in 2009, VisionTech is a venture capital management consulting company that provides support for early-stage technology companies through its VisionTech Angels Network and VisionTech Angel Fund. VisionTech Angels is a network of accredited investors that today is the largest in Indiana and one of the largest and most active in the Midwest, reviewing over 400 funding applications annually and investing in 5-8 new companies per year. To date, VisionTech Angels have invested over $16M in 38 portfolio companies comprised of over 65 transactions. As managing director, Oscar guided the network’s investment of capital, time, and experience towards helping high-growth, high-potential, early-stage technology companies realize outsized returns.
He currently serves or has served as a director for various for-profit and not-for-profit boards in Indiana including OrthoPediatrics (NASDAQ: KIDS), SonarMed, Apricity, The Venture Club of Indiana, The Speak Easy, Leaf Software Solutions and the Indiana Center for Biomedical Innovation.
Oscar received his Bachelor of Science degree in medical technology from the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and an MBA from the University of Colorado in Denver.
Ryan Birge, Associate
As an Associate, Ryan is an entrepreneur who began his career as a high performing technology sales executive. He quickly translated his understanding of markets, deals, and relationships into a predictable investment technique. His success and passion for investing led him to become an active angel investor in the Midwest ecosystem. These skills will contribute to the Fund’s deal flow and diligence and bring one of the most critical elements for Fund investments – revenue strategy.
During his nine years at Cisco Systems, Inc, Ryan fostered great relationships with customers, partners, and leadership; in the Midwest and around the Globe. His burning desire to be the top performer led to average attainment of 116% of targeted sales, building to $80MM in revenue even during a deep recession. An entrepreneur at heart, during the financial-crisis, Ryan and his partners developed a refined and conservative investment strategy, which has delivered exceptional returns since its inception in 2012. Determined to continue to round out his interest in both Technology and Finance, he left Cisco in 2016 to focus full-time on Investing. Since then, he has invested in multiple startup companies, serves on the Screening/Due Diligence Committee at VisionTech, and maintains a small equities fund.
Ryan is a lifelong resident of the Indianapolis-area, and holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Indiana University (Informatics, Business, Entrepreneurship).
Christopher Cooke, GP Board Chairman
Cooke Financial Group,
Background: Financial Advisor, CPA, Attorney
Chris has been a successful angel investor for over 20 years, is active in the Midwest ecosystem, and is a business owner of a nationally recognized investment advisory firm. As principal, Chris has grown Cooke Financial Group to over $2 billion of assets under management and over 800 client households.
As a trusted advisor to many of Indiana’s most successful entrepreneurs, Chris has observed and assisted clients with decisions from the startup planning to billion dollar exits. When disruption entered the wealth management sector, Chris orchestrated the Cooke Financial Group exit from a national wirehouse and started Sanctuary Wealth Partners, an independent RIA/Broker-Dealer hybrid. Today Sanctuary Wealth is among the fastest-growing, independent advisory firms in the country. Chris specializes in fiduciary responsibility, estate, tax, and cash flow. Chris specializes in planning and delivers an expertise in alternative investments.
Chris was named to Forbes/Shook 2019 Best-in-State Wealth Advisors list, the Financial Times 400 Top Wealth Advisors, and he has consistently been named a top wealth manager by Forbes, Financial Times, and Barrons. In 2010 Chris was named one of the 10 Outstanding Advisors by Registered Representative Magazine which recognized his philanthropic efforts in the central Indiana community. Chris takes pride in Indiana and the Midwest, and he has supported several entrepreneurs from early stage to exit companies as an investor structuring transaction deals.
Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Notre Damme and a Jurisprudence Degree with a focus on tax law from the Indiana University School of Law. He is married to Elizabeth. The Cookes have three children and reside in Fishers, Indiana.
Timothy Sheehan, GP Board Member
Background: Financial Services, M&A Banking
Tim has over 30 years of experience in commercial banking, investment banking and investment management. He has been involved in over 200 transactions over $22.0 Billion in notional capital. Industry experience includes healthcare, agriculture, technology, and investment/management advisory. Before joining Commenda, Tim was the Chief Development Officer of BVP Capital Management. Tim was a partner in Cain Brothers & Company, the leading healthcare investment bank, where he was the co-head of the special products group which was responsible for all alternative financing structures and investment products. In 2008 he founded Cain Brothers Asset Management (CBAM), a Registered Investment Advisor with up to $2.0 billion of asset under management.
Tim managed global relationships for a commercial bank with US multinational corporations, executed capital markets transactions and provided restructuring and mergers and acquisitions advice to public and private corporations. Tim serves on the Board of the Indiana Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and is actively involved with Timmy Global Health. He received an MBA from the Wharton School of the University in Pennsylvania. He earned his MS degree with honors from the University of Illinois and a BS degree from the University of Kentucky.
Victor Smith, GP Board Member
Bose McKinney & Evans
Background: Attorney, Secretary of Commerce
Victor Smith is a Principal of Bose Public Affairs Group and a partner in the Business Services and Governmental Services Groups at Bose McKinney & Evans LLP. Smith is focused on assisting businesses grow in the US by providing strategic businesses services, as well as, federal, state and local governmental affairs services at Bose Public Affairs Group.
In January 2013, while Governor, Vice President Mike Pence appointed Victor as Indiana’s Secretary of Commerce, a role in which he served during the entire four-year term of then-Governor Pence. He was a member of Governor Pence’s cabinet and led Indiana’s domestic and international economic development strategy. Under Smith’s tenure, 1,096 economic development transactions were negotiated with companies, resulting in investments totaling $15.49 billion and the creation of 93,612 new Indiana jobs.
Before serving as Secretary of Commerce, Victor spent 17 years dedicated to operations, sales, and executive positions in the private sector. He was Chief Executive Officer at CDS Engineering, a precision manufacturing company with locations in the US, United Kingdom, and Asia. Victor has degrees from Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law (J.D, 1996) and Colgate University (B.A. in political science, 1990).
In 2016, the nation’s Vice President-elect, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, named Smith a Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest state government honor bestowed upon a civilian in Indiana. This award is a personal tribute from the Governor to individuals who have rendered distinguished service to the State or the Governor.
The largest return potential exists in the earliest venture stages but also bears the highest loss risk – primarily caused by gaps in the experience and expertise of the founders. In any stage of venture, these gaps upend the best concepts. Our Entrepreneurial Advisory Council surrounds and supports portfolio companies to identify and help fill these gaps and mitigate risk. Led by tech-veteran and serial-entrepreneur, John McDonald, Council members bring their technology and sector specific knowledge, network, resources and leadership skills to assist our portfolio companies in these critical early stages.
The fund managers will work closely with the EAC advisors to identify and select the pre-seed companies that the fund will support however, EAC advisors will not vote on or make investment decisions on behalf of the fund. They will be involved in the due diligence process and play a critical role in directly supporting and overseeing the pre-seed companies in the portfolio. They will provide essential connections to critical resources through their respective knowledge, experience and network. They will report the company’s progress on a regular basis to the fund managers.
John McDonald, Chair, Entrepreneurial Advisory Council
CEO, Clear Object
Tech and IoT Expert
John is the CEO of ClearObject, Indiana’s leading Internet of Things company. He is the founder and board member of the Indiana Technology & Innovation Association, chairman of the Technology & Innovation Committee of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, and of the Indiana India Business Council. Additionally, he is a member of the IBM PartnerWorld Global Business Partner Advisory Council, the Social Enterprise Alliance, the advisory council for Hamilton Southeastern Schools, the Workforce Alignment council of Ivy Tech Community College, and the Dean’s Council for the Purdue Polytechnic and President’s Club at Purdue University.
Brad Fruth, Member
CTO, Beck’s Hybrid
As Information Systems Manager at Beck’s Hybrids, Brad works vigorously to deliver value to the American farmer. For more than 14 years, Brad has dedicated his days (and nights) to providing the successful convergence of IT, data, and precision agriculture. As a passionate advocate for agricultural, Brad is actively engaged in initiatives throughout the state of Indiana. He sees increased access to rural broadband and focused collaboration across various sectors as crucial initiatives to bridging the gap between technology and agriculture. Brad currently serves as the Food and Agriculture Sector Chief for Indiana Infragard and resides on his family hog farm in Miami County, Indiana.
Ozan Selcuk, Member
CEO, Leaf Software Solutions,
Ozan has been a part of Leaf Software Solutions for almost two decades, currently serving as the CEO at the Carmel-based software development and consulting firm. Leaf Software is focused on large, custom enterprise solutions, financial consulting, and Microsoft Dynamics consulting and implementation. Leaf has been named one of “Indiana’s Best Places to Work” for the last eight years. Ozan’s three decades in a wide range of industries and business disciplines provides the foundation of his insights. Before joining Leaf, Ozan worked as a product manager at an Indianapolis-based engineering firm, implementing engineering design software with international partners, such as Fiat. He also supported the design and manufacturing of specialized automotive and pharmaceutical products, with clients like Roche, Kyocera, and Chrysler. Before moving to Indianapolis, Ozan was a site manager at an international construction company. Ozan holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.