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.
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.
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.”
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.
Lilly Liu is an Investment Associate at Mercury, where she focuses on investment diligence and portfolio value creation. She is also the Director of Finance at Mercury Fund IV portfolio company Spruce, a mobile concierge platform that partners with institutional multi-family properties to offer high-touch services, like housekeeping, pet care, and dry cleaning, to residents through a fundamentally unique experience.
Prior to joining Mercury, Lilly was a Business Strategy Consultant at Accenture and focused on M&A in the energy, technology, and capital goods industries. Lilly received her B.S. in Economics from Duke University and is currently an MBA candidate at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Outside of Mercury, Lilly is a guest lecturer at Rice University and served on the Mayor’s Task Force for Women and Minority-Owned Businesses.
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.