For years, we saw passionate consumer entrepreneurs struggle to find the support they need to grow their brand—to hire more employees, produce more product, and share their dream with more consumers. Consumer companies were often forced to reach out to friends and family—a long and often awkward process. At the same time, we saw investors that were passionate about these innovative consumer product and retail companies, but didn't know how to get in touch with the entrepreneurs. We created CircleUp to make this process more efficient.
Business Development Analyst
Zubin's professional experience includes previous roles in investment banking and investment management. Immediately prior to joining CircleUp, Zubin worked at Partnership Capital Growth (PCG), a leading investment bank focused exclusively on the healthy consumer goods space. While with PCG, he helped advise and raise capital for several types of consumer businesses, including CPG, retail, apparel & footwear, vitamins & supplements, and ecommerce. Zubin began his career with Cambridge Associates LLC, an investment advisory firm primarily serving university endowments and not-for-profit foundations.
Zubin earned his BS in Finance from Wake Forest University. He holds Series 63 and 79 licenses. In his spare time, he enjoys playing chess and eating Belgian chocolate ice cream from Häagen-Dazs.Zubin Beesla on LinkedIn
Founder and CEO
Before he founded CircleUp, Ryan Caldbeck worked in consumer product and retail-focused private equity at TSG Consumer Partners and Encore Consumer Capital. His experience in private equity exposed him to many great consumer and retail businesses that were too small to obtain funding through the customary private equity channels. As a result, he decided to make funding available to these small and promising companies through CircleUp.
Ryan received his MBA from Stanford and BA from Duke. He holds Series 24, 63, and 82 licenses. If you have a 15 minute conversation with him, you will learn that he grew up in Vermont, which explains his love of cheddar cheese and maple syrup.Ryan Caldbeck on LinkedIn
Bryce first started tinkering with web development on GeoCities. He has worked on a variety of projects dealing with statistical analysis, text-mining, geo-mapping, mobile applications, data-validation, and customer retention. Although he doesn’t like to talk about it, Bryce also developed CoolestDates.com – a site used often by his colleagues at CircleUp.
Bryce received his Bachelor of Science in Information Systems, and his Master of Information Systems Management degree from the Marriott School of Business at BYU. He was briefly a PhD student at the University of Utah. CircleUp maintains six types of trail mix to meet Bryce’s ever expanding interest in the snack.Bryce Drennan on LinkedIn
Founder and COO
Rory has supported entrepreneurs nearly all his career, most recently as Director of Investments at Humanity United, part of the Omidyar family enterprises. At Humanity United, he invested in small businesses and social enterprises to stimulate job creation and promote stability in fragile economies. He began his career at a startup providing financial training to small businesses in Cape Town, South Africa. Rory is a former consultant with The Boston Consulting Group.
Rory received his MBA from Stanford as well as a public policy degree from Princeton. He holds Series 24, 63, and 82 licenses, and enjoys listening to weekend NPR quiz shows a little too much.Rory Eakin on LinkedIn
Business Development Manager
Katie joined CircleUp after gaining substantial experience from positions in investment banking and private equity. She began her career at Deutsche Bank advising technology companies in mergers & acquisitions. Later, Katie was with H.I.G. Capital, a global private equity firm, where she focused on identifying and evaluating investment opportunities, executing transactions, and working closely with portfolio companies across various industries and sectors, including consumer products. In joining CircleUp, she was able to combine her strong interest in the consumer sector and the investment process, as well as embrace her entrepreneurial spirit.
Katie received her BA in Economics from the University of California, Irvine where she graduated with honors. She holds Series 63 and 82 licenses. Katie also has a passion for soccer and wine and when not working she can be found on the pitch or in wine country.Katie Fitzgerald on LinkedIn
Business Development Analyst
Zach has spent his professional career advising brands that operate across all the major sub-verticals of consumer. Prior to joining CircleUp, Zach worked as an associate in Piper Jaffray’s consumer investment banking group where he focused on providing various capital raising and M&A advisory services for both private and public companies.
Zach received a BS in Business Administration from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where he graduated with honors, concentrating in financial management. He holds Series 63 and 79 licenses. Zach spends his spare time following professional sports and frequenting the independent restaurants and fashion boutiques scattered throughout the North Beach and Hayes Valley neighborhoods of San Francisco.Zach Grannis on LinkedIn
Jeremy comes to CircleUp as an Engineer after developing for numerous start-ups including LoveGov, a website for comparing users' beliefs with politicians running in the 2012 election as well as a news aggregation platform. He has worked on a diverse set of projects relating to networks, security, databases, graphics, and web search. He also has a background in biology and intellectual property work.
Jeremy received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Brown University, where he helped develop from scratch and TA the Modern Web Applications course. He enjoys folk music and making quiches.Jeremy Greenfield on LinkedIn
Director of Product Design
Gunthar has been working in product design of software for consumer and professional users for 15 years. He joins CircleUp after stints at Zynga and Youtube, where he lead user experience for a range of socially connected products and services. His background also includes working on a .com era startup enabling e-commerce capabilities for small businesses, making the opportunity to help emerging entrepreneurs via CircleUp extremely exciting. He is still searching for the product that will enable people to actually, truly, fully, finally, for-real remove all that playa dust.
Gunthar holds a BA in Anthropology from Pomona College, and a MS in Digital Media from the Georgia Institute of Technology.Gunthar Hartwig on LinkedIn
Director of Business Development
Ben comes to CircleUp with experience in both startups and consumer products. He previously worked at JH Partners, a consumer-focused private equity firm, where he invested in and supported companies in a variety of industries, including personal care, home goods and direct marketing. When he couldn’t shake his interest in smaller companies, he went on to spend time at GoSmile, a developer of innovative teeth whitening products, and TaskRabbit, an online services marketplace. Ben started his career as an investment banker at Thomas Weisel Partners.
Ben received a BS in Physics from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He holds Series 63 and 82 licenses. As a South Jersey native, Ben desperately misses Philly cheesesteaks and is patiently waiting for the Philadelphia Eagles to win their first Super Bowl.Ben Lee on LinkedIn
Chris began his career in finance with Fisher Investments, a registered investment advisor focused on serving high net worth and institutional investors. During his seven and a half years, he spent time in a number of roles including Account Executive, Account Executive Team Leader, Institutional Team Leader, Co-Chief of Staff and Group Vice President. In his last role, Chris was charged with creating infrastructure and staffing the sales, sales support and manager roles required to accelerate growth in a new business unit focused on affluent clients.
Chris received his BA in Economics from California State University, Chico with Honors in Economics and Honors in General Education. Chris currently lives in the Pacific Northwest but remains fiercely loyal to his hometown SF Giants and 49ers. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two young boys, fishing, hiking and reading increasingly offbeat science fiction novels.Chris Pachinger on LinkedIn
Justin has worked with investments and small businesses for his entire career. An assortment of investment banking, startup, and M&A positions led him to the consumer industry and the CircleUp team. Prior to joining CircleUp, Justin led the business development arm of Fresca Foods – a manufacturing and capital partner to some of the highest growth natural foods companies in the industry.
Justin received his MBA from the University of Denver, a finance degree from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and holds Series 82 and 63 licenses. He enjoys time with his wife and young children, lifting heavy things for sport, and watching documentaries.Justin Raddatz on LinkedIn
Business Development Associate
Pat comes to CircleUp with extensive experience working with entrepreneurs of high growth businesses. Prior to joining CircleUp, Pat worked at Mainsail Partners, a private equity firm focused on investing in high growth, privately held businesses. Pat focused on sourcing and executing new growth equity investments as well as supporting existing portfolio companies. Pat began his career with the technology investment banking team at ThinkEquity, where he assisted private and public companies raise growth capital and provided strategic M&A advisory.
Pat received a B.B.A. in Finance from the University of Notre Dame. When not watching his beloved San Francisco 49ers or Notre Dame Fighting Irish play football, Pat can be found figuring out ways to put hot sauce on every meal he eats.Patrick Robinson on LinkedIn
Prior to joining CircleUp, Megan was Senior Vice President at EnTrust Capital, a fund-of-hedge-funds in New York City. She was responsible for managing the firm's investment consultant outreach and communicating company and portfolio updates to investors. Megan also has experience in public relations and marketing. She has managed corporate and financial press and marketing campaigns from both the agency side, and in-house at several large professional service firms.
Megan received her MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management and a BA from Boston College. She holds series 7 and 63 licenses. A recent transplant to the West Coast, Megan spends as much time as possible exploring the Bay area and taking advantage of San Francisco’s proximity to wine country. She is also an avid online shopper and bought everything from her ironing board to her wardrobe via the web.Megan Roeske on LinkedIn
Tracy joins CircleUp from Goldman Sachs, & Co., Private Wealth Management, where she worked for the last 3 years in New York. Tracy managed the implementation of investments, the onboarding process, and served as a key relationship manager for UHNW individuals, families, and private corporations.
Tracy received her BA in Comparative Literature and Slavic Language and Literature form the University of Virginia. A self-declared “language nerd” Tracy speaks English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Russian. Tracy spends her free time learning languages, trekking to places where she can speak other languages, playing sports, and enjoying the outdoors.Tracy Rubin on LinkedIn
Farah has over 7 years of experience in financial services with Fidelity Investments. There she was an Account Executive and High Net Worth Relationship Manager. She also worked as a Workplace Planning and Guidance Consultant, whose exclusive client was the University of California. There she helped key executives strategize and implement plans to better educate and engage their employees with regards to their benefits.
Prior to working in finance she had her own consumer product goods company, Farah D LLC, where she created and sold natural facial care products and lip balms in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
Farah received her bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of North Texas and financial planning education from NYU. She holds her Series 7, 63, and 66 licenses.Farah Sharghi on LinkedIn
Director of Product
Ken comes to CircleUp after leading product teams at Mint.com, Amazon's Lab126 and eBay to create fantastic web and mobile products in personal finance, consumer electronics and commerce that have improved the lives of tens of millions of users. Prior to that he worked as an engineer for several startups as well as Oracle, Samsung and RIM.
Ken received an MBA from Queen's University and his B.A.Sc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo. True to his Canadian roots, he misses donuts from Tim Horton's and chocolate chip cookies from Loblaws' President's Choice brand.Ken Sun on LinkedIn
Director of Engineering
Erik almost got comfortable with big-company life during his years at IBM and NEC, working on technology ranging from video streaming to fingerprint identification. He caught startup fever and left to help Tap11, a social media analytics company, tame the firehose of data coming from Twitter. After Tap11 was acquired by the Founders of YouTube, he helped re-launch Delicious.com.
Erik got his undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Stanford University. He was awarded a full scholarship for an MS in Computer Science from UCSD, where he did research on highly scalable systems & network security. He used to purchase carbonated water in 24-packs before he discovered the SodaStream.Erik Vandekieft on LinkedIn
Andrew joined CircleUp straight out of school with 5 years of experience in software and web development. He was the lead developer and designer at Grab a Bite, a yelp competitor, and has worked on a variety of projects covering networking, language parsing, fall detection, and AI.
Andrew received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from UMass Lowell, where he worked as a research assistant and was very involved in DifferenceMakers, an entrepreneurial club. When hes not coding, you can find him dog-watching, listening to country, or playing soccer.Andrew Webb on LinkedIn
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