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.
John Frankel is the founding partner of ff Venture Capital. He founded the firm in 2008 and has been a seed and early stage investor since late 1999.
Prior to founding ffVC, John worked at Goldman Sachs for 21 years in a variety of roles that involved technology development, reengineering and capital markets. At Goldman Sachs, he worked closely with some of the world’s leading hedge fund managers and developed a keen understanding of emerging technologies and portfolio risk/return management.
John started his business career in London with Arthur Andersen having earned a Master of Arts from New College, Oxford, where he studied Mathematics, Philosophy and Logic. He is a Fellow Chartered Accountant of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. John also sits on The NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s Board of Overseers.
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.
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 board of two ffVC portfolio companies, CivRobotics and Cambrian Intelligence.
Previously, Oliver ran his investment portfolio of a dozen startup 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 private equity transactions have included selling Holmes Protection to ADT/Tyco, AmeriCash to American Express, and launching RobotGalaxy, a national consumer S.T.E.M. brand.
He is also an adjunct professor at the Sy Syms School of Business – Yeshiva University. Oliver speaks often at international trade shows and writes trade periodicals that reach thousands of readers.
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.
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.
Nandini is an Associate 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.
Prior to joining ffVC, Maciej worked at Bain & Company for 2 years on Due Diligence projects for the biggest Private Equity funds in the US. He advised on projects focused on Ecommerce, enterprise software and gaming sectors.
At JLL, he advised Fortune 500 companies on their real estate strategy within Europe. He helped them in seamless transition of their real estate footprint from long-term leases to solutions based on flexible workspaces.
Maciej graduated from Warsaw School of Economics and studied at Management Center Innsbruck in Austria.
Varun is an Associate at ffVC. Previously, he was a Manager at New Profit, a leading venture philanthropy firm, where he spearheaded the development of their burgeoning for-profit impact investing strategy. Varun also led cohorts of social entrepreneurs, supported policy work, and drove due diligence across the economic mobility and future of work sectors.
Prior to New Profit, Varun began his career as a 5th and 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher in the Bronx. During his time at university, Varun interned in Strategy Consulting at Deloitte and Risk Management at Capital One.
Varun holds a B.S. in Hotel Administration from Cornell University, where he also minored in Information Science as well as Real Estate. During his time at Cornell, Varun served as President of the university’s student government, driving positive outcomes across healthcare, financial aid, food security, and more.
As ffVC’s Head of Platform, Charlotte is focused on championing the firm’s portfolio founders as well as supporting its broader community of tech leaders.
Prior to ffVC, Charlotte worked in creative marketing at media companies VICE, Live Nation, and TikTok to build meaningful brand partnerships through innovative events and video content. In 2018 Charlotte founded CIRKEL, an AgeTech startup bringing career development and networking to the five-generation workforce.
Charlotte holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature (French and German) and Art History from Georgetown University.
Before Goldman Sachs, Szymon interned at MCI Capital, a leading CEE private equity firm where he gained experience in digital transformation deal-making. He also founded Subscrify with a mission to automate daily shopping through subscriptions.
Szymon holds a B.S. in Finance and Management from NYU Stern School of Business.
Prior to joining ffVC, Łukasz worked at Boston Consulting Group for 4 years gathering international experience on projects executed in Europe and Middle East.
He advised on several transactions, working on both Post Merger Integration and Due Diligence projects. Łukasz also helped numerous organisations with their digital transformation efforts.
Łukasz graduated from Warsaw School of Economics and studied at ESSEC Business School in France.
Conor focuses on industry trends, performing due diligence on potential investments, maintaining records of portfolio company investments, and assuring compliance of portfolio company reporting.
Prior to ffVC, Conor spent six years as a Senior Associate with Park Street Capital, a multi-billion dollar private equity/venture capital-focused fund of funds firm, in research, finance and investor relations roles. His previous experience also includes working with Seven Peaks Ventures, Oregon’s premier early stage venture capital firm.
Conor holds a Master of Business Administration degree from The University of Texas at Austin, and a B.S. in Management from Boston College.
Mateusz has over 9 years of experience in M&A, commercial, financial and banking law. He spent last 8 years at White&Case and previously worked for a “club of nine” British law firm and one of the biggest Polish law firms.
Mateusz successfully advised on numerous transactions in Europe of over $15bn value, in particular in regulated sectors: telecoms, energy and financial services.
Prior to joining ffVC, he has also been involved in numerous early stage tech projects, both related to incubating start-ups, creating JV’s and launching new business lines.
Investor Relations and Operations
Scott Dubin is the Managing Director of Investor Relations at ffVC. Scott joined ffVC in 2018 and oversees our global community of Limited Partners, including our co-investment program.
Prior to ffVC, Scott worked as an Investment Strategist at BlueStar Indexes (acquired by MV Index Solutions) and as Director of Investor Relations at OurCrowd, a leading venture capital platform.
Scott began his career working at the intersections of technology, philanthropy and politics. As a political operative, he worked on Mayoral, Gubernatorial, U.S. Senate, National and International campaigns.
Scott earned his B.A. from the New York University and served in the IDF’s Artillery Corp. Scott lives in Westchester, NY with his wife and three children.
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.
Maureen Barry Somerville
Maureen Barry Somerville joined ffVC in 2013 as the Executive Assistant to John Frankel.
Prior to ffVC, Maureen worked at Goldman Sachs for 35 years in a variety of roles. She assumed the position of Vice President after being promoted from Sales Assistant in 1987. Managed operations and support staff, focused on mitigating risk and providing client service excellence.
In 2001, she moved to Global Securities Operations CRM and spearheaded offshore and near-shore location strategies. Responsible for the middle office and all client-facing operations for equities execution businesses. Primary liaison between clients, sales, trading, and operations. Reengineered processes and implemented operational functional models and technology achieving significant sociability, efficiency and control. Played a critical part in the successful implementation of the NASDAQ fee-based trading and the SLKC integration.
Designed client strategy for Operations including communication protocols, value-added services and relationship management program.
Recruit, hire, and train staff for all functional roles. Chair of the Securities Operations Peoples Initiatives’ Committee and Member of Operations Client Committee responsible for Operations client strategy.
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.
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.
Prior to joining the team Łukasz led Alior Bank’s corporate venture fund where he carried out early stage investments and implemented strategic partnerships with a Focus on Fintech projects. Prior to Alior, he worked at one of the leading Central and Eastern European seed funds – Black Pearls VC, focusing on Deep Tech companies.
Łukasz graduated from Gdańsk University and is a VC Unlocked certificate holder. As a cooking enthusiast in his free time runs his own food truck.
Łukasz joined ffVC in 2020 as a Venture Partner.
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.
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.
Gustav started building his first startups over 10 years ago. Since then he held multiple leadership positions in ventures/startups and where he has taken them from idea to execution.
Gustav currently works ini the venture leadership team in FoundersLane, a leading corporate venture building from Europe also active in larger parts of Asia including MENA where Gustav currently leads the venture development efforts.
Gustav combines expertise C-level sparring and execution of digital initiatives with hands on know-how of how to build digital businesses based on his experience in strategic consulting and entrepreneurial agility.
He has during his career been involved in building new business in the areas of EdTech, Social Media, NGOs, Mobility, Logistics Digital Health among other.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.