We have written a set of Operating Principles as a guide for our actions. We have chosen to publish these Operating Principles so that our entrepreneurs understand how we conduct ourselves and what to
expect from us.
- Success = superior returns + integrity. One without the other is failure.
- The entrepreneur is our customer.
- We have a deep commitment to our investors. We appreciate their trust and strive every day to exceed their expectations.
- Our honor is everything. It is never for sale, both in our work and in our personal lives.
- One firm, one team. In good times and bad. One standard for all.
- Presume trust. Hard questions are expected and should not be taken personally.
- Seek the truth. We are open, honest and direct.
- No spin. We say what we mean, do what we say.
- Bring passion every day. We too are entrepreneurs.
- Foster respect. It starts with us and emanates from there.
- Be at cause. We are proactive and take ownership of fixing problems.
The Kepha Partners Team
Eric Hjerpe, Partner
Eric Hjerpe brings over 25 years of operating and investing experience to the firm. In the late 1980s, he founded a software company that wrote desktop software for product development engineers.
In the early 1990s while at MIT Sloan, he worked for the Center for Information Systems Research (CISR), studying new software development methods. In the mid 1990s, his team at Silicon Graphics was one of the first to deploy complex applications over the web. In the late 1990s, at Siebel Systems, Eric started the Siebel subsidiary SiebelNet, which partnered with USinternetworking (USi) to provide Siebel Enterprise Applications via the internet. He became interested in venture capital when, at Siebel Systems, he sponsored the company’s investment in USi, which returned 12x in less than a year.
Prior to joining Kepha Partners, Eric was a Venture Partner and Partner at AtlasVenture, where he spent 6 years. He worked with AtlasVenture portfolio companies Active Endpoints, Fireclick (sold to Digital River), Globoforce, OpenRatings (sold to Dun & Bradstreet), OwnerIQ, Performix Technologies (sold to Nice), SimpleTuition, SupplyWorks (acquired by Intuitive), TrueAdvantage (acquired by InsideView), and Virtual Logix (acquired by Red Bend Software).
He holds a Master of Science in Management from MIT Sloan School of Management and a Bachelor's degree from Brown University. He is a TechStars Mentor and is a member of the Massachusetts 12x12 start-up program.
Jo Tango, Partner
Jo Tango founded Kepha Partners. He has invested in the e-commerce, search engine, Internet ad network, wireless, supply chain software, storage, database, security, on-line payments and data center virtualization spaces.
He has been a founding or first institutional investor in Azuki Systems, Bit9, ExaGrid, StreamBase Systems, Vertica Systems (acquired by Hewlett-Packard), Virtual Iron (acquired by Oracle) and VoltDB, getting involved nearly always at the company inception phase. Other investments include Ask Jeeves (Nasdaq: ASKJ), Digital Market (acquired by Agile Software), and NextCard (Nasdaq: NXCD).
Jo previously was at Highland Capital Partners for nearly 9 years, where he was a General Partner. He also spent five years with Bain & Company, where he was based in Singapore, Hong Kong and Boston, and focused on technology and start-up projects.
Jo attended Yale University (B.A., summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) and Harvard Business School (M.B.A., Baker Scholar). He is on the New England Venture Capital Association Board, and was for 10 years on the board of NECINA (New England Chinese Information and Network Association). He has served as Co-Chair of his Harvard Business School class 5th, 10th and 15th reunions and was on the leadership team for his Yale 20th reunion.
Jo is passionate about start-ups and loves working with entrepreneurs who dare to strive. Jo and his family emigrated from Indonesia with a few suitcases and $1,500.
Ed Hamilton, CFO & Partner
Ed Hamilton has 35 years of financial management experience in venture capital, accounting, and early stage technology companies. Previously, Ed was a General Partner at Dover Medical Ventures and CFO at North Bridge Venture Partners.
At North Bridge, he managed more than 130 portfolio company financings, representing more than $500 million in invested capital, as well as limited partner distributions, capital calls and partnership tax matters. Prior to this, Ed held positions as Chief Financial Officer of ServiceSoft Corporation, American Superconductor Corporation (where he led the company’s initial and secondary public offering), Safer, Inc. and Concord Data Systems. As Chief Financial Officer, he raised equity funding from venture capital investors, negotiated corporate partnership, licensing and distribution agreements and managed accounting operations, systems development, treasury operations, investor relations and human resources.
Prior to Concord Data Systems, he worked for ROLM Corporation and Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. Ed holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. in Economics from Tufts University.
Technical Advisory Board
Torrence Boone is Google's managing director of agency relations for North America. He previously was CEO of Enfatico, the new agency that WPP has built from the ground up to meet the worldwide marketing needs of the agency’s first client, Dell Inc.
Prior to joining Enfatico, Boone served as president of Digitas Boston. As president of Digitas Boston, Torrence was responsible for driving the strategy and execution of Digitas services across the office client base, and for the development of the office and its people. Torrence was also a leader in the Digitas Retail and CPG practice areas, helping to shepherd client relationships with The Home Depot, Staples, and Sara Lee.
Prior to joining Digitas in 2001, Torrence was vice president/general manager for the interactive agency Avenue A, where he was in charge of strategy, account management, media, and creative services for the New York client services operation.
Previously, Torrence was a senior manager at Bain & Company, where he was a leader in the healthcare/pharmaceuticals and consumer products practice areas, and advised a broad range of clients on corporate and business unit strategy, mergers and acquisitions, new product development, and interactive strategy.
Torrence holds a B.A. in economics, with honors, from Stanford University, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Torrence was recently recognized as one of the “Top 40 Under 40” business executives in Massachusetts by the Boston Business Journal. Torrence serves on the board of the Joyce Theater in New York.
Tim was CEO of QuestBridge. Previously, he spent eight years at Yahoo! Inc. during which time he held several positions, the last of which was as the company's Chief Product Officer.
As Yahoo!'s third employee, Tim played a key role in successfully managing all marketing, operation and business development to launch Yahoo! commercially, and to help make Yahoo! into one of the most recognized brands and successful businesses on the Internet. From writing the business plan that attracted the first venture capital financing to helping to scale the business, he helped lead the company through multiple stages, challenges and opportunities. Prior to Yahoo!, Tim spent three years with Motorola in Tokyo. He holds an M.B.A. from Harvard University and a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University.
Michael currently teaches at Stanford University. Previously, he spent more than six years at eBay. As SVP & General Merchandise Manager of eBay North America, Michael was responsible for more than $1.7B in annual revenues and nearly $20B in gross merchandise sales across thousands of merchandise categories.
He also led the development of many of the features and services of the eBay.com site including Buy It Now, eBay Stores, ProStores, and Want It Now. Michael also designed and built the company's first onsite, direct, and product marketing teams to leverage the world's largest database of online consumer activity. Prior to eBay, he held leadership positions at Industrial Shoe Warehouse, The Walt Disney Company and Bain & Company. Michael graduated from Brown University, where he earned an AB in Economics, and from the Harvard Business School, where he earned an MBA with Distinction.
David Fike has over 25 years of technology leadership experience. Presently, Dave is Senior Vice President and CTO of the MMC Global Technology Infrastructure (MGTI) group.
He is responsible for managing 1400 FTE and consulting staff globally as well as a $650MM technology infrastructure budget. Dave joined MMC from Putnam Investments, where as Managing Director of Enterprise Computing and Communications, his responsibilities spanned all aspects of voice and data networking, data center engineering and operations, information security, disaster recovery and business continuity, desktop engineering and support, call center technologies, help desk, and the network operations center.
Prior to joining Putnam, David was Director of Consulting at Gartner Group in Stamford, Connecticut. Previously, David was with the United States Senate in Washington, DC for 13 years where he was responsible for all of the Senate’s nation-wide voice and data networking systems. David holds a B.S. in Finance from the University of Maryland, and an M.S. in Telecommunications Management also from the University of Maryland.
Steven Mankoff is an independent director and advisor in the technology industry and currently serves on the Boards of ConvergeOne, Insurity, Netsmart Technologies, Nomis Solutions SignalDemand, and Virtual Instruments. Steve also serves on the strategic advisory boards of C3 and Genstar Capital and is an advisor to Cloud9 Analytics, GramercyOne, Kepha Partners, Nuevora, and TD Fund.
Previously, Steve worked as Senior Vice President Global and Technical Services at Siebel Systems, Inc. which was acquired by Oracle Corporation in 2006. Steve was a member of the Founder’s Circle of first employees and the Siebel executive management team. At Siebel, Steve was responsible for Professional and Technical Services, Technical Support, Education, Quality Engineering, and Offshore Development. The combined organization had over 2,100 employees, over 700 dedicated contractors and annual revenue approaching $1 billion.
Prior to Siebel, he held various product, marketing, and sales management positions at several software companies including Oracle. He earned a Master of Science in Management from the MIT Sloan School and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Brown University.
Keith Schorsch is an entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience envisioning and building high growth consumer technology businesses. Keith currently works at Intellectual Ventures (www.intellectualventures.com), where he is working closely with Bill Gates. He previously founded Trusera (www.trusera.com), an online health network launched in 2008 where people find and share real-world health experiences with others who’ve been there.
Prior to founding Trusera, Keith was an early senior executive at Amazon.com from 1997 to 2002, working in various senior general management, business development, and financial leadership roles. Keith was an integral part of Amazon’s rapid growth from $16 million to $3.2 billion in sales and from ninety thousand to 35 million customers. He has extensive experience in launching new businesses utilizing emerging technologies and led Amazon’s early strategic plans to expand from US bookselling to new products and new countries.
Prior to joining Amazon, Keith was a senior member of McCaw Cellular/AT&T Wireless’ PCS team that managed the national development and rollout of next-generation digital wireless service to 100 million potential US customers. As project CFO, he managed a $2 billion capital budget and designed strategic plans and financial and operational processes to build 13 metropolitan area wireless systems on time and on budget.
Keith is dedicated to contributing to improving global and regional health. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC), a world-renowned pioneer in cancer research with three Nobel-Prize winners. He also serves an advisor to Seattle Children’s Hospital and is a member of its Strategic Planning and Master Planning committees.
Keith has an MBA from Harvard Business School and an AB, Magna Cum Laude from Harvard College. He lives in Seattle with his wife, Jennifer, and their two sons.
Ron recently served as a Senior Vice President at State Street Corporation, where he headed the 250-person Corporate Systems Group and managed a $1.3 billion IT budget. While at State Street, his responsibilities included financial systems, Basel II, HR and Payroll, and Treasury applications.
He also helped start offshore development programs in China and India. He previously was a Managing Director at KPMG Consulting. Ron earned a BS in Accounting at the University of Maine.