LEADERSHIP TEAM

ffVC is led by an international management team composed of industry experts in the fields of financial services, insurance technologies, software, digital media, manufacturing, retail, and automation technologies. Our partnership brings together leading fund managers and startup operators with a track record of exits and proprietary relationships.

Partner / US

Alex Katz

Partner / US

Avery Ersztein

Partner / US

John Frankel

Partner / PL

Maciej Skarul

Partner / PL

Mariusz Adamski

Partner / JP

Masayuki Ohta

Principal / US

Nandini Agarwal

Partner / US

Oliver Mitchell

Chief Financial Officer

Tal Lev

Partner / ME

Talal Almoayed

Partner / JP

Taro Hizume

Partner / US

Alex Katz

Alex Katz is general counsel at ff Venture Capital. He has been working with seed, early stage and growth companies for over 30 years.

As a CPA and an attorney, Alex manages the firm’s accounting and legal operations, investment processes, regulatory compliance, and the establishment and implementation of other policies and procedures.

Prior to ff Venture Capital, Alex practiced law with Mesirov Gelman and was a founding partner of Katz and Miele, LLP, a tax and corporate law specialty firm. He served as Chief Executive Officer of Fastener Distribution and Marketing Company, Inc. In addition, Alex was Chief Financial Officer of Lenape Dynamic, Inc. He has also worked as a Certified Public Accountant.

Alex earned a Batchelor of Science in Business Administration from Drexel University and a Juris Doctor degree from Temple University School of Law.

Partner / US

Avery Ersztein

Avery Ersztein is the head of investor relations and capital formation at ff Venture Capital. His career spans the technology and financial services sectors where he has worked closely with dynamic startups, founders, and with a diverse set of significant investors overseeing and managing large pools of investment capital for the last 20 years.

Avery joined ffVC from MeOhr Ventures where he was the head of Investor Relations. Prior to MeOhr he held senior roles as a Vice President at Goldman Sachs and senior banker at J.P. Morgan where he was responsible for the management of over $4.5 billion dollars in client capital deployed across a diverse array of tailored investment strategies. Avery started his career as an engineer at Microsoft Corp. where he acted as a technology investment advisor to Microsoft’s largest F100 global clients.

Avery holds an M.B.A. in management and marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago.

Partner / US

John Frankel

John Frankel is a technology investor. He is passionate about working with founders that are building the big businesses of tomorrow. 

He founded ff Venture Capital in 2008 to work with founders who share this vision, which has since funded over 150 seed and early-stage companies that have in turn created thousands of jobs and impacted the lives of millions. While ff Venture Capital’s investments span a number of industries, John is currently fascinated by applied artificial intelligence, encompassing drones, robotics, and financial services technology.

Over the years, John has served on the boards of over sixty companies as well as the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, to help in further fostering the New York City ecosystem.

Prior to founding ffVC, John had a long career at Goldman Sachs in a variety of roles that involved technology development, business reengineering, and capital markets. He has had the unique opportunity to work closely with some of the world’s leading investors, and as a result has developed a keen understanding of emerging technologies and portfolio risk/return management.

After graduating from New College Oxford in 1982 with a Masters in Mathematics and Philosophy, John worked at Arthur Anderson and qualified as a Fellow Chartered Accountant. Today, John enjoys traveling and is blessed with a large and growing family.

Partner / PL

Maciej Skarul

Maciej has over 12 years of experience in investment banking and M&A last serving as a Director in the Investment Banking division at Santander Bank Polska in Warsaw where he was focused on the TMT and industrial sectors.

He has also been involved in selecting and pursuing investments in innovative fintechs for the bank in Poland.

Previously he worked in London at Bank of America ML and thereafter at a couple of specialist mergers and acquisitions boutiques in Warsaw. Maciej successfully advised on numerous transactions in Poland and in Europe valued in excess of $10bn. He is also an experienced business executive and entrepreneur.

Maciej graduated from the Warsaw School of Economics and Harvard Business School.

Partner / PL

Mariusz Adamski

As an active angel investor in Poland, Mariusz has invested in promising start-ups in the region and helped many entrepreneurs with fundraising and strategy. He has over 10 years of experience in global capital markets, private equity, and venture capital as an investment analyst and portfolio manager.

Most recently, he worked in Poland at mBank (Commerzbank AG), Altus TFI, and Bastion Investments. He spent 6 years in New York at Mitchell Madison Group and Pershing Square Capital Management as an investment analyst focusing on global equities and special situations.

Mariusz graduated from Wake Forest University with a Bachelor of Science in Business, where he was an NCAA All-American athlete and the captain of the varsity men’s tennis team.

Mariusz joined ffVC in 2019.

Partner / JP

Masayuki Ohta

Prior to joining ffVC, Masayuki was a Managing Director at JBIC IG Partners, where he played a key role in executing private equity and venture capital deals, with a particular focus on the technology and healthcare sectors.

Previously, Masayuki worked at Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), where he specialized in equity investment and project finance, particularly those involving Japanese enterprises. He was also a visiting lecturer at the Graduate School of Commerce and Management, Hitotsubashi University.

He holds a BA in Economics from Keio University and an MBA from Cambridge Judge Business School.

Principal / US

Nandini Agarwal

Nandini is a Principal at ffVC. Previously, she was an investor at Florida Funders, the most active Venture Capital firm in the Southeast. She sourced and ran diligence on early-stage B2B Enterprise SaaS companies across verticals such as Healthtech, Fintech, and Edtech. During her college career, she founded Samagreen, a medical device start-up that was incubated as part of the Clinton Global Initiative University program, and Emerging Bulls Consulting, a services-based nonprofit initiative for social enterprises during Covid-19.

She has also previously worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in their audit practice and Goldman Sachs within their Controllers division, on Wall Street. Passionate about financial autonomy, she spent a summer in India gathering ethnographic data for her undergraduate thesis while interning with the Centre for Social Research, India’s leading women’s rights organization.

She graduated from the University of South Florida with a dual degree in Accounting and Finance and was commemorated with the Outstanding Graduate Award, during Commencement. She was also recognized as part of Tampa Bay Inno’s Under 25 list and served on the executive committee of the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce.

Partner / US

Oliver Mitchell

Oliver Mitchell is a partner at ff Venture Capital. Oliver first joined ff VC in 2014 as a Limited Partner, and then in 2018 as a Venture Partner. Today, he takes a leading role on the investment team in expanding the portfolio’s deep tech position with holdings in robotics, drones, artificial intelligence, and industrial automation technologies. Oliver also works with ffVC’s investor relations in forging strategic relationships for our limited partners and corporate venture groups. In addition, he serves on the boards of CivRobotics, Cambrian Intelligence, AppBind, Storyfit, and Cardflight.

Previously, Oliver ran his own investment portfolio of a dozen companies that have since returned 8 exits, including two IPOs (NVCR and EKSO) and one unicorn (Triple Lift) with a combined value of over $20 billion. Previous startup outcomes have included selling Holmes Protection to ADT/Tyco, AmeriCash to American Express, and launching RobotGalaxy, a national consumer S.T.E.M. brand. Oliver is an Adjunct Professor at Sy Syms School of Business, and frequent writer of trade periodicals.

Chief Financial Officer

Tal Lev

Tal Lev is the CFO of ff Venture Capital. Prior to joining ffVC, Tal was the CFO of Newark Venture Partners as well as the CFO of private-equity backed Leading Pharma and venture-backed Flok, a SaaS company acquired by Wix. Tal also spent 8 years as a Wall Street analyst with Sanford Bernstein, Cowen and Company, and Dawson-Herman Capital Management — a $3.4 billion Pequot spinoff. Prior to that, he was a Principal with JVP, another venture capital firm with over $800 million under management, and the third employee of now-public Ceragon Networks (NASDAQ: CRNT).

Tal holds an MBA degree from Wharton, where he graduated as a Palmer Scholar. He also holds engineering and computer science degrees from Tel Aviv University.

Partner / ME

Talal Almoayed

Talal Almoayed is a Partner at ff Venture Capital and currently based in the Middle East.

Prior to ff VC, he led various businesses mainly focused on logistics, F&B and investments; where he actively managed a portfolio that includes funds and direct early-stage startups in the GCC region. Talal is also a Venture Partner of a London based VC firm.

Talal has a passion for empowerment through education; he serves as Board Trustee of the African Impact Foundation and Director of Bahrain School. Talal holds an MBA from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelors of Mechanical Engineering and Business Management.

Partner / JP

Taro Hizume

Before joining ffVC, Taro was as an Investment Director at JBIC IG Partners, where he executed PE/VC investment deals, and also played a key role in establishing a venture capital firm in Europe.

Prior to his tenure at JBIC IG Partners, Taro worked for Industrial Growth Platform, Inc., a Japanese renowned consulting and advisory firm, where he led a wide range of projects, including management consulting in the electronics and TMT sectors, business turnaround projects, and cross-border M&A transactions. He began his career at Mitsui & Co., Ltd., a Japanese conglomerate (also known as “Sogo-shosha”), as an analyst focusing on railcar leasing and international ship trading businesses.

Taro holds an MBA (Tech MBA) with Distinction from NYU Stern School of Business and M.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Tokyo.

VENTURE PARTNERS

Venture Partner

Andrew Hong

Venture Partner

Denys Gurak

Venture Partner

Dion Ridley

Venture Partner

Florin Mihoc

Robert Bogucki

Venture Partner

Andrew Hong

Andrew currently serves as the CEO of Dashbot, an ffVC portfolio company and analytics platform for conversational interfaces such as chatbots & voice skills.

Prior to Dashbot, Andrew worked on the investment team at ffVC, working on everything from sourcing & diligence, to attending board meetings, helping with strategic thinking, and providing critical operational support directly for portfolio companies.

Prior to ffVC, Andrew has worked in the technology sector, both within large enterprises and as a founder of his own startups. His previous experience includes working on the enterprise technology team at Oracle, helping to build the digital analytics software at Nielsen, and joining fin-tech startup DeltaOne Solutions as an early team member which was later acquired by IHS Markit for $100mm. He then went on to found several companies in the A.I., health-tech, and e-commerce sectors, and also currently holds 1 patent.

Andrew graduated from Boston College with a B.S. in Marketing & Management Leadership.

Venture Partner

Denys Gurak

Denys Gurak is an experienced C-level manager and serial entrepreneur. He is a CEO and Co-Founder at A.D.A.M., a 3d bioprinting company with a primary focus on 3D-printed bones. Denys’s ultimate vision is to build an on-demand personalized tissue manufacturing platform that would be a one-stop shop for transplanted tissues and organs; and, hence, to cut barriers to medical treatment for millions.

Denys is a Venture Partner at ff Venture Capital a high-performing early stage venture firm based in NYC and Warsaw, Poland, focusing on disruptive IT, biotechnology, aerospace and security projects in CEE region.

His passion for strategic modeling and technological disruption, as well as his outstanding networking skills and analytical mindset define Denys’s active role in expert society. Besides business matters, Denys is the key member in a number of think tanks and NGOs.

Venture Partner

Dion Ridley

Dion has spent the last 20 years In tech growing and leading technical teams across the startup landscape.

Prior to joining the team he led engineering at Harry’s, a global multi-channel grooming brand where his organization was responsible for growing the direct to consumer business, optimizing the supply chain and international expansion.

Over the years as an operator he has helped grow several tech companies to acquisition by companies like Dell and Sybase. He also currently serves as an advisor to several early stage companies where he focuses on mentoring leadership and helping guide technical and product direction.

Dion volunteers at several nonprofits that focus on diversity, inclusion and economic empowerment through tech literacy. As an advocate on this subject he often speaks at tech conferences and events on creating a more inclusive tech community.

Venture Partner

Florin Mihoc

Florin Mihoc joined ffVC as a Venture Partner in December 2018 focusing on fintech, enterprise, and data sectors.

He was a part of two startups since their inception through bootstrapping and global expansion and still serves on their respective boards with his expertise in strategy, partnerships, and corporate development.

Playing an instrumental role, Florin helped launch the Startupbootcamp FinTech New York and now serves as a mentor for the program. Since 2017, he has been a board member at the SxSw pitch competition, which is the largest technology festival of its kind. Florin is also an alum of the Techstars accelerator with TPS Engage.

Florin has over 15 years of Fortune 500 executive experience in B2B roles, serving clients such as LVMH, Honeywell, Amazon, Continental AG, General Motors, IBM, General Electric, and various government agencies. During his short stint in an M&A role, he worked in industries like energy and logistics, automotives, supply chain, media, and medical services.

Florin was a Fulbright Post-Doc Fellow in Residence at the US State Department and a Visiting/Associate Scholar at Columbia Business School. He holds a PhD in Strategic/Global Management.

Robert Bogucki

Robert is the CTO & co-founder of deepsense.ai, a leader in developing customized AI solutions for enterprises and startups in the US and Western Europe. Over the last decade, Robert’s key role has been to successfully execute hundreds of projects by leveraging his team’s expertise to bridge the gap between cutting-edge AI technologies and real-life business challenges in the fields of Computer Vision, NLP, Predictive Modeling, MLOps, and Generative AI.

Robert also lectures on Machine Learning at university level and is an award-winning competitor on Kaggle, an online community of Data Science and ML enthusiasts. In addition, he contributes to the tech industry by offering his expertise through advisory and investments in early-stage startups.

Before establishing deepsense.ai, Robert co-founded CodiLime, a technology company providing specialized software development and network engineering services, and gained valuable experience at UBS. He earned dual Master’s degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Warsaw.

FUND ADVISORS

BNY Mellon

Bob Savage

Antaeus Enterprises

Frederick Beinecke

Antaeus Enterprises

Jake Beinecke

Transactis (MasterCard)

Joe Proto

K5 Family Office

Philipp von dem Knesebeck

Scorpio Tankers Inc.

Robert Bugbee

Moreland

Steve L. Nutt, CFA

NJEDA

Timothy Rollender

BNY Mellon

Bob Savage

Bob Savage runs Americas FX Sales for BNY Mellon. He joined the firm in April 2019 adding to his 30+ years of experience in the industry.

He is an foreign exchange thought leader writing about markets daily throughout his career and actively speaking at conferences and events. Bob has a broad set of experience from the variety of roles he’s held across in the industry, from the hedge fund space (FX Concepts and IKOS), to the sell-side (with more than 20 years at Goldman Sachs both as a FX trader and as an MD running institutional FX sales), as a consultant (McKinsey) and most recently at a quant-based FX advisory (CC Track Solutions).

Bob earned a Batchelor of Arts in Political Philosophy from Yale University.

Antaeus Enterprises

Frederick Beinecke

Frederick W. Beinecke is president and a director of Antaeus Enterprises, Inc., a private investment company with an orientation toward marketing and service businesses, located at 99 Park Avenue, New York, New York.

Mr. Beinecke was chairman and president of two New York Stock Exchange listed companies. He was Chairman of the Board of Catalina Marketing Corporation, and earlier a director and president of The Sperry and Hutchison Company headquartered in New York City. He has been a member of the Board of Advisers of Venture Investment Associates since it was formed, and has been a director of several private companies.

He is a trustee of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, and the National Gallery of Art. From 1981 to 2000, he served as a trustee of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, where he was treasurer and chairman of the Finance Committee of the Board. He also served as President of the New York City Ballet, where he was a director since 1978.

Mr. Beinecke serves of the board of several private foundations. He is currently a director and vice president of The Prospect Hill Foundation, a director and president of The Sperry Fund, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. He has also served on the boards of the City Center for Music and Drama, Close Encounters with Music, One Percent for Culture, Outward Bound USA, the Trudeau Institute, and the Yale University School of Music.

Mr. Beinecke attended Yale University, attaining a Batchelor of Arts in 1966 and, in 1972, a J .D. from the University of Virginia Law School. Mr. Beinecke served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps from 1966-1969 attaining the rank of Captain and in 1968 was decorated with the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam.

Antaeus Enterprises

Jake Beinecke

Jake Beinecke is a member of the investment team at Antaeus Enterprises, a multi-generational wealth management firm, located at 99 Park Avenue, New York, New York.

Jake contributes to all aspects of the firm’s equity-oriented investment program, including strategy development, asset allocation, portfolio management, manager evaluation, security analysis, and performance assessment.

Jake is an attorney admitted to the bar in New York and Massachusetts and has experience in impact finance and investment at the Open Space Institute and Acumen Fund. Prior to law school, he had an entirely separate career as a professional cook, mostly in San Francisco.

In addition to serving as a Director or adviser to companies and investment funds, Jake is Director of the Prospect Hill Foundation, the Waterfront Alliance, and the Global Greengrants Fund. Born and raised in New York City, he is a graduate of Columbia University and New York University School of Law.

He lives in Brooklyn, New York and Orleans, Massachusetts with his wife Julia Felsenthal and their dog Snoop.

Transactis (MasterCard)

Joe Proto

Most recently, Joe Proto served as the CEO of Transactis, a Mastercard company and leading provider of electronic billing and payment solutions serving large banks including 12 of the top 24.

During his 38 years in payments, Joe launched and sold two prior payments companies – the first to a bank that was acquired by Wells Fargo and the second to First Data.

He is active in the Fintech Payments industry and is an investor in many innovative technology businesses.

K5 Family Office

Philipp von dem Knesebeck

Philipp von dem Knesebeck is a managing partner and founder of K5, a German family office.

Based in Hong Kong Philipp runs the family’s alternative investment activities with a focus on private equity, venture capital and absolute return strategies. Prior to K5 Philipp spent 9 years in investment banking at UniCredit Bank based in London and Hong Kong. In this role Philipp structured and syndicated financing solutions across product groups for large scale private equity buyouts.

Philipp holds a Batchelor of Science (honors) in Economics from City University and a Master of Science (honors) in Finance from Cass Business School in London.

Scorpio Tankers Inc.

Robert Bugbee

Mr. Robert L. Bugbee is President and Director of Scorpio Tankers Inc. He has more than 25 years of experience in the shipping industry.

He joined the Group in February 2009 and has continued to serve there in senior management.

Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Bugbee was a partner at Ospraie Management LLP between 2007 and 2008, a company which advises and invests in commodities and basic industry. From 1995 to 2007, Mr. Bugbee was employed at OMI Corporation, or OMI, a NYSE-listed tanker company sold in 2007. While at OMI, Mr. Bugbee most recently served as President from January 2002 until the sale of the company, and he previously served as Executive Vice President since January 2001, Chief Operating Officer since March 2000, and Senior Vice President of OMI from August 1995 to June 1998. Mr. Bugbee joined OMI in February 1993.

Prior to this, he was employed by Gotaas-Larsen Shipping Corporation since 1984. During this time he took a two year sabbatical from 1987 for the M.I.B. Programme at the Norwegian School for Economics and Business administration in Bergen.

He has a Fellowship from the International Shipbrokers Association and a Batchelor of Arts (Honors) from London University.

Moreland

Steve L. Nutt, CFA

For over twenty years Steve has held various roles including President and Chief Investment Officer for a Cleveland-based family office.

He is a graduate of the University of Chicago (MBA) and University of Illinois at Chicago (BS).

NJEDA

Timothy Rollender

Timothy Rollender is a Senior Venture Officer in the EDA’s TLS division.

Rollender is responsible for marketing the Edison Innovation Fund and technology-led state incentives to potential applicants, consultants, technology transfer offices and partnering organizations. Rollender joined the NJEDA in 2015.

Prior to joining the NJEDA, Rollender was a Senior Analyst for asset management firm Hirtle, Callaghan & Co., where he led due diligence on private equity, debt, real estate, real asset and venture capital funds. Previously, he worked as an Investment Analyst for the New Jersey Department of the Treasury, Division of Investment, and has extensive experience in private and public equity investing.

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