Blair Garrou is a co-founder and Managing Director 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.”
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 currently serves on the boards of Mercury portfolio companies Benson Hill, Deep Imaging, DNAtrix, Resonant Therapeutics, Courier Therapeutics, Sight Machine (observer), and Swift Biosciences. Dan’s previous investments at Mercury have included Cgate Health (acq. by SCI Solutions), Confluence Life Sciences, Clean Chemistry, and Prolacta.
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.
Aziz Gilani is a Managing Director 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 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.
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, intelligent manufacturing and industrial IoT. Adrian currently serves on the boards of Mercury portfolio companies Ambiq Micro (observer), Ambyint, Benson Hill (observer), 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 board of Michigan Venture Capital Association and the advisory board of First Capital Fund. He also leads the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan-sponsored Catapult, which connects entrepreneurs in Southeast Michigan with emerging and innovative non-profits in the region.