Private and For-Profit* Not Affiliated With or Officially Sanctioned by Harvard University

We are growing rapidly and always looking for great people who want to get involved. Want to join the group?  

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Deal Team

 


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Michael Madden

Managing Partner, Co-Founder

Michael has spent the majority of his career in leadership roles at growing organizations.  He has focused his time primarily as an investor, advisor, and/or board member working with companies across a range of industries and stages. 

Prior to co-founding Yard Ventures, Michael served as Managing Director of Square 1. He led the expansion of the New England region while providing growth financing to dozens of venture-backed companies. Previously, Michael was an investor at Edison Ventures, Polaris Venture Partners, and Summit Partners.   

Michael earned an AB from Harvard University, where he was a four-year letter winner in both Varsity Football and Varsity Baseball.  Michael later received an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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Erin Kutner McCafferty

Vice President

Throughout most of her career, Erin has managed a wide range of investments in venture, private equity, buyouts, and more at the senior level. Prior to joining the Yard Ventures, she was a Senior Investment Officer at Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM). There she was responsible for the management and investment of a $9B portfolio of private equity and private debt investments, including venture capital, growth equity, buyout, co-investments, and distressed debt. In this capacity, she sat on numerous boards of top VC & PE firms.

Prior to PRIM, Erin was a VP at Bank of America Capital Advisors, investing across the private equity and real estate landscape. In addition, she held positions at Silicon Valley Bank in commercial finance and Citi Group in sales and trading.

Erin has an AB in Economics from Harvard with honors, where she was an All-American lacrosse player. Erin also has an MBA from Tuck, where she was an Edward Tuck Scholar with distinction. 

 

Investment Committee Members

 

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Avin Bansal

Avin is currently Director of Strategic Operational Finance at Wayfair, building the finance infrastructure for Wayfair's supply chain & operations. Previously, he served as VP Finance for par8o, a healthcare technology startup. Before making the move to operating roles, Avin spent a decade at venture capital and private equity firms, including Goldman Sachs, where he served on the boards of AFS Technologies and EZ Lube.

Avin began his investing career at Summit Partners in 2003, with later stints at Google, Great Point Partners, and OpenView. He has also been an angel investor and adviser to seed stage technology companies, including Rentjuice (sold to Zillow), Kahuna, vSplash, and more. 

Avin earned a BS and MS in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University and was on the fencing team. He later earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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Rye Barcott

Rye is a co-founder and managing partner of Double Time Capital, an investment firm that makes direct investments in cleaner American energy and American companies with sustainable products and services. 

Prior to co-founding Double Time, Rye led a new energy investments team as a special advisor to the CEO of Duke Energy. Earlier in his career, he served as a United States Marine and co-founded the non-governmental organization Carolina For Kibera. 

Rye graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard Business School. He attended Harvard as a Center for Public Leadership Reynolds and George Fellow, and served on the Harvard Endowment’s Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility. He is currently on the Center for Public Leadership Alumni Council, and is an elected director of the Harvard Alumni Association.

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Rachel Barenbaum

Rachel has spent the last eighteen years working with startups. She’s been engaged at every stage—from fundraising and product launch to growth and strategic development—in sectors ranging from tech to diamonds. She’s founded multiple companies, including PlanetHopper and Crema di Gelato. Currently, she is a consultant and advisor to several young companies.

Rachel has also spent time working in financial services. At Cornell Capital Partners, she co-launched investments on the London Stock Exchange, steering the firm’s Private Investments in Public Entities (PIPEs) in small cap companies. She was also the Fund Manager at Disruptive Capital Partners, where she directed a long/short equity investment strategy using Clayton Christensen’s theories on innovation.

Rachel has an AB in Literature and Philosophy from Harvard (’98), where she was a member of the varsity squash team. She also has an MBA from Harvard Business School (’04). 

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Fraser Black

Fraser is the Managing Partner at Pioneer Square Investments, an investment company focused on early-stage startups and real estate projects in the Pacific Northwest. Mr. Black has been an active angel investor for over 20 years and serves on the investment committee for the Puget Sound Venture Club.  

His more than 30 years of financial and general management experience in leadership positions at high-growth businesses includes serving as the Chief Financial Officer at ONYX Software, Group Manager at Ashton-Tate and Financial Analyst at Salomon Brothers. He has also served on the boards of numerous businesses including Lumera Corp. (LMRA), Washington Securities, Ballard Mill Properties, and Plexera.  

Fraser is an active philanthropist in the education and environmental fields.  He is a board member or adviser with nonprofit organizations including Social Venture Partners, Seattle Foundation, IslandWood, Equal Opportunity Schools, Powerful Schools, and the Business Partnership for Early Learning.  He has an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a Bachelors from Harvard College.

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David Buzby

David has been starting, building, and investing in businesses for over 25 years, with an emphasis on energy generation, energy storage, wastewater treatment, and e-commerce.  Together these activities have created over $3.5B of shareholder value. He currently sits on the Boards of Cambrian Innovation, Stem, and Paragon Power, as well as being a member of the Investment Committee for the PRIME Coalition.

David has been a founding investor and director of SunRun, SunEdison, ValueClick, Brilliant Light Power, Bright Plain Renewable Energy (BPRE), Prevalent Power, Resource Holdings, and Best Internet. In addition, he has been CEO of SunEdison, Resource Holdings, and BPRE, as well as serving as CFO of Best Internet. Prior to his entrepreneurial career, he worked as a banker at Chase Manhattan Bank and Lloyds Bank International.

David has a BA from Middlebury College and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

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Michael Collins

Over the past 30 years, Mike has been involved in almost every facet of venturing, from angel investing to venture capital, new business and product launches, and innovation consulting. He is a serial entrepreneur who has started multiple companies, including Kid Galaxy, Big Idea Group (partially owned by WPP), and RDM.

He presently serves as the Fund Manager of Green D Angels (Dartmouth alumni fund) and CEO of Launch Angels. Mike started his career at TA Associates, a Boston venture capital firm, where he served from 1986-90.

He holds an undergraduate degree in Engineering Science from Dartmouth College and is a 1992 graduate of Harvard Business School.

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Gerard A. DeBiasi

Gerry is a Partner at Kidd & Company, a private equity investment firm focused on the lower-middle market with a model of intense strategic and operational involvement with its portfolio companies and an IRR of 47% on its initial cash investments. Since joining Kidd & Company in 2001, he has been involved with multiple investments, including Chatham Technologies, MedSource Technologies, Empower Health, iPacesetters, and Reladyne. He divides his time between identification, evaluation and closing of new investments, and oversight of existing investments.

Before Kidd & Company, Gerry served as SVP of Business Development at Chatham Technologies and was instrumental in driving revenue from $153M to over $600M in a three-year period. At Chatham, he was involved in client development, acquisitions, and operational integration of acquired companies. Prior to Chatham, Gerry was a strategy consultant with The Monitor Company. He also worked at Fidelity Investments and The Federal Reserve Board of Governors, in addition to co-founding a specialty publishing company.

Gerry received an AB in Economics from Dartmouth College (summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) and an MBA from Harvard Business School (earning honors recognition).

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Jason E. Klein

Regional Partner, NYC

Jason Klein is an experienced media CEO and builder of digital and traditional businesses who has led two successful turnarounds. He is founder and CEO of On Grid Ventures LLC, an advisory and investment firm in digital media, marketing, and marketplaces; Chairman of Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater New York; Managing Director at Empirical Media; member of New York Angels; and incubator mentor. He also serves on the advisory boards of EnerKnol, Shoppable, and PageScience.

Jason was formerly President and CEO of Newspaper National Network LP, the leading national network for local media and a partnership of 25 leading US newspaper companies, including Tribune, Gannett, Hearst, New York Times, and the Washington Post. Prior to NNN, he was CEO of Times Mirror Magazines, a noted magazine and digital publisher, where he oversaw its sale to Time Inc. for $475M. He also founded MDconsult.com, an aggregator of medical information for professionals now owned by Elsevier; and Healthy Living Media, a private equity-backed venture, with North Castle Partners. Earlier in his career, he was a management consultant with McKinsey and Bain.

Jason has an AB in Computer Science from Dartmouth College (Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude) and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is an officer of the Harvard Business School Club of New York and a past board member of the Magazine Publishers of America (now the Association of Magazine Media), the American Advertising Federation, and the Recreation Roundtable.

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Scott Levy

Scott serves as a Board Member and Interim CFO of Gold Group, LLC, an emerging technology company that focuses on digital health care coordination. Prior to that, he had 20+ years of experience as an Investment Banker at JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital, advising global Media and Information Services companies on M&A and capital structure. Scott also served as Director of Private Investments at Klingenstein Fields.
 
Scott is Vice Chairman of Blythedale Children's Hospital, where he leads the Investment Committee. He is also an elected public school board member in Westchester County, NY. 
 
Scott received an AB from Harvard College. He was also a Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Taubman Center for State and Local Government. Scott is the co-President of the Harvard-Radcliffe Club of Westchester.

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Lily Lyman

Lily is an experienced professional in mobile technology, growth, operations, and business strategy; an active angel investor and advisor to several young companies; and a strategic advisor to Mountain Nazca, an early stage venture fund focused on Latin America. She is currently a Business Development and Partnerships Manager at Facebook, focused on international growth of key products including Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. She also works on a variety of projects to drive internet connectivity, including Internet.org, mobile financial services, and TIP, working closely with mobile telecom operators globally. 

Prior to Facebook, Lily held a variety of strategy, operational, and entrepreneurial roles, including working as a management consultant at Dalberg, where she advised a variety of Fortune 500 companies, startups, governments, and international organizations. She is the founder of an ag tech & health food startup, which won the 2014 Stanford Entrepreneurship Challenge. She started her career at Endeavor, identifying and advising high impact global entrepreneurs.

Lily earned her AB from Harvard University (’08) and her MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business (’14). She also holds a Certificate in Entrepreneurship from Columbia Business School and a Certificate in Public Management from Stanford GSB.

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Mark Schwartz

Mark Schwartz is an experienced public and private company, CEO, CFO, and board member, as well as an active growth equity investor.

Mark assisted Starbucks Coffee in raising their first round of institutional financing and was a member of their board of directors. He later co-founded a Hispanic grocery retailer, Bodega Latina Corporation (El Super)—the largest Hispanic supermarket chain in the Western US—and engineered a successful exit. After serving several years as Bodega Latina’s CFO, he became CFO of a 3D software company, DDD Group, which he took public.

Mark was also Chairman, CEO, and CFO of Hypertension Diagnostics, a medical device company focused on detection and management of cardiovascular disease. He sold the company in 2011 and acquired a plastics recycling business.

Mark served as the chair of HBS Alumni Angels of Southern California, an angel investment group. He is a graduate of HBS (’80) and Claremont McKenna College.

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Matt Theall

Matt is a former White House Presidential Innovation Fellow. This highly competitive program pairs talented technologists and innovators with top federal civil servants to tackle the nation’s biggest tech challenges. Todd Park, former CTO of the United States, called the fellows “the most bad-ass innovators on the planet."

Matt now serves on the investment committee of Riyad Taqnia, a $125M venture capital fund, and is on the BOD of Cyber Resilience Institute, a leading cybersecurity organization working closely with the DHS, FBI, and other federal agencies. He is also Founding Principal of Capitol Hill Innovation Group, a tech consulting firm, as well as an advisor to multiple startups. Prior to that, Matt was a Technology Strategist and Business Unit GM at Intel, focusing on Internet of Things (IoT), Smart Grid, and advanced technologies.

Matt has served in a number of industry leadership roles, including as President and BOD member of both the HomePlug Alliance and HomeGrid Forum, two global organizations working on IoT and Smart Grid technology, ecosystem development, and testing. He was also a member of the BOD of the US-government-initiated Smart Grid Interoperability Panel.

Matt is an alum of Northeastern University (BSME), Rivier College (MBA), and Harvard Business School (AMP).

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Paul Weichselbaum

Paul is a corporate strategy consultant and executive coach, having been a C-level operating executive for 25+ years in companies of all sizes, from pre-revenue through Fortune 50, both public and private. He is an expert at designing and leading change to accelerate revenue and strengthen operations and has helped lead successful high-growth companies, PE financed roll-ups, and turnarounds. He has a deep background in B2B technology, networking, and services, but has worked in other industries as well.  

Currently, Paul is an Advisor, Consultant, and Board Member of Business Growth Advisor and Board Member and Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee for The Children's Room. Previously, he served as EVP of PlumChoice (premier premium technical service), EVP of LoJack Corporation (vehicle recovery systems), and President of Suma Corp. (strategy, marketing, and creative GTM programs for B2B organizations). He was also CMO of One Communications (Competitive Local Exchange Carrier) and Senior VP Marketing & Operations of CTC Corp (CLEC). Prior to that, he was President and CEO of OpenReach (early-stage venture-backed software company). 

Paul earned his undergraduate degrees at Stanford University and his MBA from Harvard Business School.

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Le Zhang

Le is the Co-founder and CEO of Instrument Capital, a technology company specializing in customization and personalization tools for the investment management industry. IC's patent pending statistical algorithm is designed to consider occupation (by industry), real estate (by zip code) and several other human capital factors when recommending investment products to consumers. 

She also serves as a Director with ICV, an investment community of family offices and industry-focused funds. Le previously served as an Associate at Perry Capital and an Analyst at Citadel Investment Group and has more than a decade of investing experience in the United States and Asia in a variety of asset classes and strategies including equities, special situations, distressed credit, and venture capital. 

Le holds a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard in economics with honors and dropped out of Wharton to start Instrument Capital.

Venture Fellow Program

    
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Zach Chandis

Boston, MA

Zach is a member of the Yard Ventures Fellow program. He is the CEO and Founder of GetBeen, a mobile iOS application focused on friends' recommendations for places locally and worldwide. Prior to that, he spent 11 years in the financial industry, where he was actively engaged in private equity, credit investing, M&A, restructuring, and valuation. He also worked in the underwriting and asset management groups of Goldman Sachs Specialty Lending.
 
Zach holds a BA from Harvard University.

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Haley Daiber

Austin, TX

Haley (MBA'18) is a member of the Yard Ventures Fellow program. Prior to business school, she co-founded a mobile app startup, Forget-me-not, while working full-time at Ernst & Young (EY). As a Senior Associate at EY, Haley led the financial statement audits of key public technology companies in the Austin, Texas area. At HBS, Haley is Vice Chair of the Impact Investing Interest Group, a participant in the MBA Impact Investing Network and Training (MIINT) Program in connection with Bridges Ventures, and an active member of the Entrepreneurship and VCPE Clubs.

Haley holds a MPA and BBA in Accounting from The University of Texas at Austin.

Ashleigh Hinde

Boston, MA

Ashleigh is a member of the Yard Ventures Fellow Program and currently completing a graduate Masters degree at Harvard. Prior to Harvard, Ashleigh was leading the integration of a multinational acquisition in the UK. She has more than six years of FMCG and Retail strategy experience gained in South Africa, Switzerland and the UK; as well as part-time consulting experience for UK technology start-ups.

Ashleigh also acts as a volunteer for Grow Movement, a non-profit providing support and unlocking the potential of entrepreneurs in Africa to grow their business.  

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Alonso Lucero

Boston, MA

Alonso is a member of the Yard Ventures Fellow program. He is currently a first year MBA student at Harvard Business School. Prior to starting his MBA, he worked for Kapor Capital, a venture capital firm focusing on seed and early stage startups whose success in business generates positive social impact, as a Venture Capital Summer Associate. Alonso has over five years of strategy consulting experience working for Monitor Deloitte and Opera Solutions, covering clients located in North America, Latin America and Asia.

Alonso holds a Masters of Engineering in Operations Research & Information Engineering, and a Bachelors of Arts in Mathematics both from Cornell University.

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Paul Odefey

Cambridge, MA

Paul (MBA’18) is a member of the Yard Ventures Fellow program. Prior to business school, he gained experience in growth equity investing at General Atlantic. At General Atlantic he worked on the investment in FlixBus, Europe’s leading tech-enabled bus company, and spent most of his time in the internet & technology sector. Paul joined General Atlantic from McKinsey & Company.
 
Paul holds a B.A. in Economics and a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

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Suniti Sundaram

Cambridge, MA

Suniti is currently pursuing her MBA at Harvard Business School and has experience in the digital health and medical devices industries. Most recently, she worked as a product manager at Abbott Diabetes Care, helping with the launch of FreeStyle Libre Pro. Previously, Suniti was a data analyst at Practice Fusion (a cloud-based electronic medical record system) and an analyst at Goldman Sachs within the Leveraged Finance group (covering Healthcare and Financial Institutions).

Suniti earned her BS in Applied Mathematics and Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Zayan Faiyad

Cambridge, MA

Zayan (HC’18) is a member of the Yard Ventures Fellow Program. She is a junior concentrating in Economics with a secondary in Psychology. At Harvard, Zayan works on translating social enterprise models to education as a Social Enterprise Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership.

Zayan is the co-founder and CEO of ThinkersWeb Foundation, a Bangladesh based incubator program serving young aspiring entrepreneurs from under-served communities.