I bring together a diverse group of experienced and successful entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors across the U.S. and Europe. We understand the concerns of privately held mid-market businesses and share a vision to create long-term value. I have direct access to capital and will bring significant expertise to the company, while ensuring continuity to its employees and customers.
FOUNDER / DIRECTOR
I have a combination of management, business and technical experience. Prior to Pacific Oak, I was a business owner in the solar photovoltaic sector. I founded and led eSOLAR, a company that developed, engineered and built turn-key solar power plants from 3kWp to 5MWp in France. In 2011, I sold the company to the German group RALOS and facilitated the transition period as the Country Manager for RALOS France and the Regional Sales Director for RALOS Southern Germany.
Prior to eSOLAR, I was a Project Manager for DAIMLER (Mercedes-Benz) in Germany, Europe and Asia. I led strategic suppliers to improve their product development, manufacturing and supply chain operations. I also managed and executed more than 40 supplier evaluations in Europe and Asia, across multiple industrial technologies. In addition, I worked as an engineer in manufacturing and supply chain management in four DAIMLER’s plants in Germany, China and South Africa.
I am a mission driven entrepreneur and I want to create sustainable value for one company. I see business as a way to create jobs, support local communities and develop our economy. I am passionate about what I do, and I hold myself to high standards of integrity, professionalism and accountability.
I speak fluent English, French and German. I hold M.S. degrees in Engineering from Ecole Centrale Paris and from Technische Universität Berlin, as well as an MBA from Harvard Business School. I am 38 years old and I live in San Francisco. In my spare time, I love mountain biking, windsurfing, and hiking.
BOARD OF ADVISORS
Eric is a veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur that has founded, built and sold numerous bootstrapped, VC-backed and publicly-traded companies. Eric is an advisor to the CEO of Asmodée Group, who acquired Eric’s most recent venture, the leading boardgame publisher Days of Wonder, in July 2014.
Eric actively invests in and advises numerous start-ups. Past investment successes include LightLogic, a developer of optical transponders acquired by Intel for $400M; Signio, an electronic payment and e-commerce start-up acquired by Verisign for over $1B; and Tumbleweed Communications, a provider of secure messaging and secure file transfer solutions that successfully went public on Nasdaq. From 1998 through 2005, Eric was the Managing Director of Ridge Ventures, a seed fund that returned a net IRR of 63% to its Limited Partners.
Eric started his career as founder and CEO of Ray Dream, a venture-backed 3D graphics software company that grew into the world’s largest developer of consumer 3D graphics software before its sale to Fractal Design for $52M in 1996; Eric subsequently became President of Fractal Design, a publicly-traded (Nasdaq) corporation, following its purchase of Ray Dream.
Eric holds a MS in Applied Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence from ENSEEIHT, France.
Jim is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard Business School, concentrating in the area of running small businesses and entrepreneurship. He has taught running small and medium size enterprises, entrepreneurship, launching new ventures and turnarounds.
As an investor, he has ownership positions in more than two dozen entrepreneurial companies. His interests are in the areas of business acquisitions, manufacturing, B2B niche marketing, pricing, leadership, family balance, large/small company differences, ethics, exit strategies and employee empowerment.
In 2008, Jim sold his company, Extrusion Technology, to a private equity firm. He had purchased the aluminum extrusion fabricator in 1987 after an 11 month unfunded search and grew it from $4M to $32M, developing a value-added products niche in the Datacomm/Telecom electronics markets and a supplemental factory in Xiamen, China. After taking on substantial debt, Jim transformed the second generation, family-owned business. His focus on quality led to early qualification for ISO-9000 in 1992 and his emphasis on lead time reduction and lean manufacturing resulted in a Bronze Shingo award in 2008.
Jim has a BS degree from Babson College and after graduating from Harvard Business School in 1976, joined General Electric and moved on to Product General Manager positions within the GE materials businesses. After 5 years, he left GE to run 3 turn-around situations which prepared him to strike off on his own in 1987.
Mason is the General Partner and an investor at Greybull Stewardship, an investment partnership of business owners formed to provide an ideal home for profitable and growing companies. Mason is responsible for all investment decisions. Greybull is interested in established private companies with wide "moats" of competitive advantage. The fund has no expiration date and invests in companies with long-term growth strategies that are not the typical venture capital / private equity strategies of high-risk growth and quick re-sale of the company.
Mason founded Greybull Stewardship in 2010 after being a founder and owner / operator. He was the President (Owner / Manager) of the National Holistic Institute, which he bought with a partner after an independent study project at business school. Before that, he was a co-founder and executive Vice President of Main Quad / Student Advantage, a company that went public in 1999. He was also an early investor in Zipcar, before it went public in 2011.
Mason holds a Bachelor of Arts from Duke University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He grew up near Yellowstone National Park and loves outdoor activities like skiing, hiking and biking.
Timothy is the Founder and CEO of Search Fund Accelerator, a highly innovative approach to acquiring and investing in small businesses. He is also Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School, as well as Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at INSEAD.
Previously, as the Founder and President of CPI S.A., Timothy created Europe’s leading book manufacturer with €500M in sales and 4000 employees in plants across Europe. Following an initial acquisition in 1996, the group grew over 12 years with 20 add-on acquisitions, many of which were turnarounds. In 2005, he led the management buyout of CPI backed by private equity funds, before leaving in 2008 to focus on other investments, consulting and teaching.
Timothy is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association Petits Princes, a French charitable organization that helps severely ill children, as well as a member of the Advisory Board of the INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship.
Timothy is American and holds an undergraduate degree in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in NY, a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an MBA (89J) from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France.
Pacific Oak is backed by a diverse group of investors. They are accomplished entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals across the U.S. and Europe. I will also invest some of my equity and will be the majority owner of the company. All my investors have a long term perspective and share my goal for creating sustainable value for a company, while ensuring continuity to employees and customers. They have no hard lines for short-term dividends or exit. Their commitment allows me to close a deal quickly and to bring significant growth capital and expertise to the company on a long term basis.