Dan Watkins is a co-founder and Managing Director 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 also co-founded and is co-CEO of Mercury Data Science, an AI insights and product development company providing contract services to fast growing companies.
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. 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, and the University of Illinois Proof of Concept Fund Committee.
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.
Heath Butler is a Network Partner at Mercury Fund, where he manages the organization’s network platform, including corporate, service provider, and startup community relationships. Heath’s investments focus on themes within B2B SaaS, Improved Consumer Targeting and Tech-Enabled Services.
Prior to joining Mercury, Heath co-founded Gestalt Theory Venture Partners, a venture studio and angel investing group that made 20 investments in 15 companies over a 4-year period. Prior to Gestalt, Heath held executive roles as a seasoned go-to-market and corporate development executive at Insperity (NYSE: NSP), the nation’s leading HR outsourcing services provider. Prior to Insperity, Heath led business development for EnergyWorkspace.com, founded a fin-tech startup, and developed his foundational management skills at UPS. Heath received an MBA in Marketing from Texas Southern University’s Jesse H. Jones School of Business and a B.S. in Finance from the University of New Orleans.
Outside of Mercury, Heath is an active angel investor and mentor in the Houston innovation community and was a founding investor in Station Houston, the programming partner of The Ion. He is passionate about educating, empowering and enabling entrepreneurial ecosystems, and most recently co-founded Urban Capital Network, an angel group focused on democratizing the investment ecosystem for a broader range of investors and entrepreneurs.
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.
Jackie Pfister is the Marketing Director 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.
Tolonye Williams is the Mercury Fund Executive Assistant and Office Manager where she supports the investment team through deal flow pipeline and database management; performing venture, company, and market-related research. She also works directly with the Mercury Fund Limited Partners. Prior to Mercury, Tolonye supported executive staff members in various fields including commercial real estate, marketing, and non-profit. A native Houstonian Tolonye attended Houston Community College and The University of Houston.
Adrian Fortino is a Managing Director at Mercury, where he leads Mercury’s Midwest office in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and focuses on investments in enterprise SaaS, industrial IoT and tech-enabled service companies.
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 teaches venture capital classes at the University of Michigan College of Engineering. He also serves on the board of Michigan Venture Capital Association and the advisory boards of First Capital Fund and the Ann Arbor Entrepreneurs Fund.
Aziz Gilani is a Managing Director at Mercury, where he focuses on investments in enterprise SaaS, Cloud and data science startups.
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 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.
Blair Garrou is a co-founder and Managing Director at Mercury, where he focuses on investments in enterprise SaaS and cloud computing startups.
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.”
Jason Bass is a Financial Accountant at Mercury Fund. He works with the finance and operations team on fund administration and reporting and is also involved with the investment team in financial and operational support of our portfolio companies. Prior to Mercury, Jason was a Senior Accountant in the financial services practice at EY where he was responsible for the year end audits of venture capital and private equity clients. Jason received his BS in Accounting from Auburn University.
Andreas Galliker is the Vice President of Finance and Operations 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. He received a Swiss certified specialist in accounting and finance degree (CPA equivalent) from the Institute of Higher Business Education in Lucerne, Switzerland and is a CFA charterholder and a member of the CFA Society Houston.