Blair Garrou is a co-founder and Partner at Mercury, where he focuses on investments in enterprise SaaS and cloud computing startups. Blair currently serves on the boards of Mercury portfolio companies Apto, Koupon Media, Label Insight, LISNR, ShareThis, TrackX, and Trendkite. Blair’s previous investments at Mercury have included Alert Logic (acq. by Welsh Carson), BlackLocus (acq. by The Home Depot), Dònde (acq. by Mobify), Infochimps (acq. by CSC), Patient I/O (acq. by athenahealth), and Phurnace Software (acq. by BMC Software).
Prior to co-founding Mercury, Blair was the CEO of Intermat, a leader in product information management software (acq. by IHS). Prior to Intermat, Blair was a Principal of Genesis Park, a Houston-based venture capital and private equity firm, where he focused on the firm’s software investments, including Intermat, FuelQuest (acq. by Saracen Energy), and SAT Corporation (acq. by Invensys). Prior to Genesis Park, Blair helped launch and was the Director of Operations for the Houston Technology Center (HTC), the largest technology incubator in the state of Texas, and he led the formation of the Houston Angel Network, one of the largest and most active angel investment organizations in the U.S. Previously, Blair was an investment banker with BMO Nesbitt Burns, and an auditor with Deloitte & Touche. He received a B.S. in Management with special attainments in Commerce from Washington & Lee University.
Blair is also a co-founder of Station Houston, the largest coworking accelerator in Houston, and SURGE Accelerator, a mentor-driven seed accelerator focused on entrepreneurs seeking to solve the world’s energy problems using software. Outside of Mercury, Blair serves in board and/or advisory roles for the Post Oak School, Rice Alliance, Texas Venture Capital Association, UTHealth, and YPO – Gulf States Chapter. Blair is an Adjunct Professor at the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University where he teaches a course on venture capital. Blair also was named to the Houston Business Journal’s inaugural “40 under 40.”
Aziz Gilani is a Partner at Mercury, where he focuses on investments in enterprise SaaS, Cloud and data science startups. Aziz currently serves on the boards of Mercury portfolio companies Datical, GameSalad, Graylog, Koupon Media (observer), Label Insight (observer), ShareThis (observer) and Trendkite (observer). Aziz’s previous investments at Mercury have included BlackLocus (acq. by The Home Depot), Infochimps (acq. by CSC), Modest (acq. by PayPal), and Phurnace Software (acq. by BMC Software).
Prior to joining Mercury, Aziz was a Senior Engagement Leader with Infosys Consulting, an early executive at ABB Performance Services, a Senior Consultant at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, and an Analyst at Lotus Development Corp. Aziz received his BBA from the University of Texas where he was a TILF Scholar, and his MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management where he was an FC Austin Scholar.
In addition, Aziz is a graduate of the Kauffman Fellows Program through the Center for Venture Education, where he completed industry-defining field work on Seed Accelerators. Aziz is a recognized expert in Seed Accelerators, and has been quoted in several national publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, ReadWriteWeb, TechCocktail, and The Business Journals.
Outside of Mercury, Aziz serves in advisory roles for Knight Foundation, the Mayor of Houston’s Tech and Innovation Council, Seed Accelerator Rankings, and SXSW Interactive. He is also an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business where he teaches a course on venture capital.
Dan Watkins is a co-founder and Partner at Mercury, where he focuses on startups utilizing software, cloud computing and/or machine learning to drive the next wave of scientific innovation in healthcare, agriculture and other industrial markets. Dan currently serves on the boards of Mercury portfolio companies Benson Hill, Clean Chemistry, Deep Imaging, DNAtrix, Resonant, Sight Machine (observer), Sinopsys, and Swift Biosciences. Dan’s previous investments at Mercury have included Cgate Health (acq. by SCI Solutions).
Prior to co-founding Mercury, Dan served in a number of operational roles including CEO of DNAtrix and Nanospectra Biosciences, both startup oncology companies. Previously, Dan was Vice President at a boutique investment banking firm and Worldwide Manager of Operations and Control Systems for Scientific Software-Intercomp (Baker Hughes). Dan received his B.S. from Rice University and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University, all in Materials Science.
Dan is also a co-founder of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship at Rice University. Outside of Mercury, Dan serves on the advisory boards of Northwestern University’s Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO), the Rice Alliance, the University of Michigan’s Venture Center Council, and the University of Illinois Proof of Concept Fund Committee.
Jackie Pfister is the Marketing Coordinator at Mercury Fund where she supports the investment team in their marketing and branding efforts in order to promote thought leadership and relevant industry-related content. She also works directly with many of Mercury’s portfolio companies to assist them in their marketing goals. Prior to Mercury, Jackie worked as a Business Analyst at Trenegy, a Houston-based management consulting firm. While at Trenegy, Jackie focused on project management, change management, and organizational design related to new enterprise software implementations. Jackie received her BA in Communication with a minor in Business Administration at Texas A&M University in College Station.
Andreas Galliker is the Director of Finance at Mercury, where he supports the CFO and the investment team with financial reporting, due diligence and financial modeling. Prior to joining Mercury, Andreas worked with Cintrifuse, a CIncinnati-based venture capital fund-of-funds, and for Northcreek, a mid-market mezzanine fund. Prior to that, Andreas was a Mandate Manager for an Audit, Tax, and Financial Advisory Firm, where he was responsible for annual reporting, audit mandates, and investment accounts. Andreas received his BBA in Finance, and his M.S. in Finance, where he was a UGS Scholar, from the University of Cincinnati. Andreas also received a Swiss certified specialist in accounting and finance degree (CPA equivalent) from the Institute of Higher Business Education in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Tolonye Williams has over 15 years of executive assistant and administrative experience. At Mercury, her duties include managing the Firm’s deal flow pipeline and database; performing venture, company, and market-related research; and general office administration. Previously, Tolonye has held administrative positions supporting executive staff members in various fields including commercial real estate, marketing, and non-profits.
A native Houstonian, Tolonye attended both Houston Community College and the University of Houston.
Adrian Fortino is a Partner at Mercury, where he leads Mercury’s Midwest office in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and focuses on investments in enterprise SaaS, intelligent manufacturing and industrial IoT. Adrian currently serves on the boards of Mercury portfolio companies Ambiq Micro (observer), Benson Hill (observer), Deepfield, LISNR (observer), and Sight Machine. Adrian’s previous investments at Mercury have included Meshify (acq. by HSB Group).
Prior to joining Mercury, Adrian was the Managing Director of Detroit Innovate, a seed stage investment fund targeting seed investments in enabling technologies in healthcare, transportation and industrial applications. During this time, Adrian was also the Managing Director of the First Step Fund, a micro-investment, industry agnostic fund focused on seed-stage companies in Southeast Michigan. Prior to Detroit Innovate and the First Step Fund, Adrian co-founded three software companies: Sidecar (acq. by GM), ShepherdIS, and FlockTAG. Prior to founding startup companies, Adrian was the Manager of Powertrain Development with Ricardo, a global engineering consultancy focusing on the automotive, cleantech, military and industrial sectors. Adrian received his BSE in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA with High Distinction from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Outside of Mercury, Adrian serves on the advisory board of First Step Fund, teaches venture capital classes at the University of Michigan College of Engineering and Law School, and leads the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan-sponsored Catapult, which connects entrepreneurs in Southeast Michigan with emerging and innovative non-profits in the region.
Lilly Liu is a Senior Analyst at Mercury Fund. She works with the investment team on deal sourcing, investment due diligence, and portfolio company support. Prior to Mercury, Lilly was a Senior Strategy Analyst at Accenture and focused on divestiture planning, carve-out design, and merger integration in the energy, technology, and capital goods industries. Lilly graduated with highest honors from Duke University with a double major in Economics and International Comparative Studies.
Winston Gilpin is the CFO of Mercury Fund. Winston has over 25 years experience in finance and accounting, serving in a number of executive management and advisory positions for publicly traded and privately owned companies. As the founder and president of Gilpin Consulting, LLC., Winston provides CFO services to many of Mercury Fund’s incubated startup companies. Prior to Mercury, Winston served as the CFO of Internet REIT, a leader in direct web navigation. Formerly, Winston was a director and the CFO of Intermat, Inc. (NYSE: IHS). During his fifteen-year tenure at Intermat, Winston’s responsibilities included managing all of the financial aspects of the company, strategic planning, contractual and legal matters, sales, marketing, operations and executive management. Prior to joining Intermat, Winston held Controller and/or Chief Financial Officer positions at Partner’s Construction (a subsidiary of Century Development Corporation), a multi-state construction company; Fogle Equipment Company, a construction equipment dealer; and Van Leeuwen Pipe and Tube, a wholesale pipe distributor. Winston also held the position of Chief Accountant with the Municipal Credit Union of New York City.
Winston attended St. John’s University and is currently a CPA in the State of Texas.
Lauren-Kristine Pryzant is a Senior Analyst at Mercury Fund. She works with the investment team on deal sourcing, investment diligence, and the support of portfolio companies. Lauren-Kristine is an active part of the startup ecosystem in Houston and the middle of the U.S., serving as a mentor at Techstars, TMCx, and the OwlSpark/RED Labs accelerators. She also is a frequent lecturer at the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University and the University of Houston Bauer College of Business. In addition, Lauren-Kristine is on the Springboard Tech Council, the University of Houston Cougar Ventures Advisory Board, and serves philanthropically on the Prison Entrepreneurship Program Advisory Board. She graduated with highest honors in finance from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead-Cain Scholar.