Our team brings passion and connections to the cannabis industry.
Michael C. Gruber
Michael Gruber is a Managing Partner. Mr. Gruber has close to 25 years of experience working with early stage investments, particularly in the information technology, financial services, energy, and agriculture sectors. Mr. Gruber is a founding Partner of Independence Equity, a committed venture capital fund focused on investments focused on improving resource utilization, with key areas of interest including: water; energy efficiency; material science; and agriculture. Mr. Gruber had served as Director at Taproot Ventures, an early stage investment affiliate of The Harbour Group, an investment holding company with assets under management exceeding $1.5 Billion. Mr. Gruber has founded and run several private investment organizations of high net worth investors and family offices focused on growth stage investments, including Cornerstone Angels and its affiliate Cornerstone Opportunity Partners, LLC. Collectively, the portfolio companies have raised in excess of $2.5 Billion in capital.
Mr. Gruber’s prior industry experience includes key operational roles in high-growth corporations (Koei Corporation, Intuit, InsWeb, Silicon Investor), two of which went public and one of which was acquired by a strategic investor. In addition, Mr. Gruber has significant investment banking and M&A transaction advisory experience.
Mr. Gruber has become active in the cannabis business as both an advisor, mentor, investor, and speaker, and leverages his experience across technology, financial services, agriculture, and energy, all which are crucial within the cannabis industry. Mr. Gruber has advised capital providers and families in allocating capital to the sector and in the acquisition and sale of assets as well as cannabis companies raising growth capital.
Mr. Gruber currently serves on several boards of emerging growth companies. Mr. Gruber received a BA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University, and a certificate in Japanese from Nanzan University in Japan. Mr. Gruber is also a frequent speaker and panelist relating to entrepreneurship and venture capital.
Mr. Gruber lives in the north suburbs of Chicago with his wife and four children (all boys). Mr. Gruber is a competitive athlete (with a love for snowboarding, golf and tennis), and highly enjoys traveling, including food & drink exploration.
Jeffrey Howard is a Managing Partner. Prior to Mr. Howard joining Salveo Capital, he spent 21 years on Wall Street in roles of increasing responsibility. Mr. Howard’s last role on Wall Street was with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) where he was a Managing Director – Global Head of Prime Services. His responsibilities included running global Futures, OTC Clearing, Interest Rate Prime Brokerage and FX Prime Brokerage. In that role he managed 90+ people across North America, EMEA & Asia Pacific, was responsible for the growth strategy of $150 million business and managed a $50 million front-to-back budget. In addition, Mr. Howard was appointed a member of the RBS Senior Leadership Team within the Markets & International Banking division. This was a small group of the most senior executives within the bank responsible for driving strategy within their capital markets division.
Prior to joining RBS, Mr. Howard spent 15 years at Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith. Mr. Howard’s last role at Merrill Lynch was Managing Director – Head of Americas Futures & Options. In that role, Mr. Howard was a producing manager responsible for 61% of the global P&L and managed 50 sales people across the U.S. & Canada. Mr. Howard’s client base consisted of multi-national corporates, hedge funds, asset managers, pension funds and central banks. While at Merrill Lynch, Mr. Howard was a member of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), Kansas City Board of Trade (KCBOT) and the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).
Mr. Howard has become active in the cannabis space as both an investor & advisor to early stage growth companies within the industry. Mr. Howard leverages his 20+ years of senior-level capital markets experience to source deals and perform due diligence on emerging cannabis focused companies, while providing financial & operational risk management guidance.
Mr. Howard received his BA in Philosophy (Cum Laude) from Westminster College and a MBA in Finance from DePaul University – The Kellstadt Graduate School of Business.
Mr. Howard lives in Lincoln Park, Chicago with his wife and two daughters. Outside of finance his interests include: golf, tennis, skiing, surfing and traveling.
Sean Doyle joined Salveo Capital in 2018. Prior to joining, Sean supported another cannabis venture capital fund providing due diligence, portfolio optimization, and cannabis industry analysis with a focus on agtech, tech, health & wellness, financial services, technology media, compliance and laboratory technology.
Before entering the cannabis space, Mr. Doyle spent 3 years at Vestas, the largest wind turbine company in the world, where he worked in energy financial modeling, tax credit maximization, project development, contract negotiations, and sales. Mr. Doyle was elected to support the establishment of an office in Boston where the team evaluated future markets for sourcing energy and developed sales approaches for margin optimization. During this time, Vestas secured $2 billion EUR of wind turbine sales and achieved a 4.6x increase in market capitalization.
Prior to joining Vestas, Mr. Doyle co-founded an IoT startup and received the Best Use of Hearst Grant Award from the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, the 2nd ranked entrepreneurship program among public universities.
Mr. Doyle received his BS in Entrepreneurship and Business Administration from the University of Arizona. He received an MBA in Finance, Analytic Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Mr. Doyle was actively engaged in Chicago Booth’s Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, and Private Equity clubs.
Gary Jungels is a transactional attorney with extensive experience in private equity and venture capital, and expertise in fund structure, deal structure, legal compliance, and risk analysis.
He has represented fund sponsors and management teams in structuring, negotiating, and closing both general and industry-specific global and domestic funds, including buyout, mezzanine/sub-debt, venture capital and later stage private equity funds. In addition, he has significant experience structuring their management companies and advising private equity and venture capital professionals on their internal governance and economic arrangements, as well as regulatory matters that impact their businesses.
He has been a partner at Freeborn & Peters LLP since 2013 specializing in corporate and securities law, private equity, alternative investment fund formation, and joint ventures. He was previously a partner at Mayer Brown for seven years with a focus on private equity fund formation including buyout, growth equity, sub-debt/mezzanine, and venture capital funds.
He earned his Bachelor’s Degree of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame, and his law degree from the University of Illinois.
Salveo Capital Advisory Board
In the creative world of media, marketing and advertising, Cory Isaacson is a master of innovation and disruption, well known for cutting through traditional marketing silos and creating new ways of connecting with consumers that are changing the industry.
Over the years, Cory has been recognized for his groundbreaking work in pop culture, marrying Hollywood celebrities and Fortune 100 brands, including Diddy & Burger King, Budweiser & the Rolling Stones, Dove and Glee, Verizon and Kevin Hart, Axe One Night Only with 50 Cent, TI, Mary J. Blige, and more.
Isaacson has always had a healthy disdain for the status quo. After succeeding in key leadership roles at notable agencies, such as Omnicom’s Radiate Group and EMI (a Promo top 10 agency), he identified a need to reinvent the traditional agency model. Isaacson partnered with former Pepsi exec Aaron Walton and Earvin “Magic” Johnson to bring a new agency vision to life. In 2005, Walton Isaacson, “The Planet’s Most Interesting Agency,” was born.
Isaacson is actively involved in the development of the Walton Isaacson vision, client strategy and brand creation. With offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Tokyo, the agency boasts a premium client roster, a top-notch team and dynamic growth.
Clients include MillerCoors, Lexus, Spalding, Macy’s, McDonalds, The Academy Awards, Constellation Brands, Wells Fargo, Los Angeles Dodgers, Tony Roma’s and many more. Walton Isaacson’s unique approach has earned them PROMO’s Pro Award, Ex Awards, Tellys, Effies, Davies, Stevies, and recently, an Ad Age Small Agency Award and Black Enterprise’s Advertising Agency of the Year, to name a few.
While running his next generation creative agency where he executive produced Season 4 of Versus & Flow and started a television and film division, Isaacson’s entrepreneurial talents also have extended to co-founding the fastest growing super premium tequila, AVION (a Harvard case study on brand building) and a guest appearance on HBO’s hit TV show Entourage (alongside Mark Cuban & Breaking Bad’s Bob Odenkirk).
A graduate of The University of Wisconsin, with a Bachelor of Arts in History, Isaacson is a guest lecturer there and is a sought after speaker and advisor. He sits on the committee for Children’s Hospital “Champions for Children”, SOS Children’s Village, JDRF in addition to “Skate for Celiac.” He resides in Chicago with his wife and children.
Dr. Robby Flannery
Dr. Robert Flannery (PhD, University of California, Davis) is an expert in crop optimization practices, with specialization in the optimization of hydroponic, cut-flower production. During his time at UC Davis (voted the #1 university in the world for Agricultural Sciences), Dr. Flannery worked under the tutelage of Dr. Heiner Lieth and advised commercial flower growers producing crops ranging from roses and Gerber daisies to Cannabis.
Dr. Flannery served as Production Director of SPARC, a vertically integrated cannabis growing and retailer based in San Francisco. During his time at SPARC, Dr. Flannery oversaw the launch and management of 5 cultivation sites, where he set up horticultural practices that are standard in non-Cannabis commercial grows, but are wholly absent in the Cannabis industry. Through his guidance and standard practices implementation, crop production increased an average of 33% in total flower production. Under Dr. Flannery’s guidance, the quality of Cannabis at the many cultivation sites he oversaw had also increased (cannabinoid concentrations increased 37%).
Dr. Flannery is active in the cannabis industry as both an expert advisor on growing, as well as a specialty lighting company focused on serving Cannabis cultivators, while promoting efficient energy use. Dr. Flannery is also the Founder of Sierra Consulting, a cannabis consulting company. He serves on the agriculture committee for the California Cannabis Industry Association, has worked with representatives on the Cannabis Commission at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and often lectures around cannabis topics.
Outside the world of Cannabis, Dr. Flannery enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, cooking, exercising, photography (his primary subject is his daughter), and anything “gadget-y”. Although he enjoys watching football, he much preferred playing it. He was a 2-time All-American and 1-time Academic All-American football player in college.
Mr. Mazarakis has over 18 years of Wall Street investment experience- most of that with Goldman Sachs in London.
In his last 10 years at Goldman, Mr. Mazarakis was a Managing Director in the Securities Division's multi-billion dollar Equity and Credit businesses in Europe where he ran the Fundamental Strategies Group. Mr. Mazarakis and his team of sector analysts conducted in-depth fundamental research & quantitative valuations that identified attractive investment opportunities across equities, corporate bonds/CDS and convertible debt for the benefit of the firm and its clients.
In prior roles at Goldman, Mr. Mazarakis was an Executive Director who led the retail/consumer sector analyst team and was ranked by Institutional Investor, Euromoney and Credit Magazine. Before joining Goldman in 2000, Mr. Mazarakis spent 2 years at Citigroup in New York where he began his finance career by analyzing high yield & distressed industrial companies within the credit research department.
Mr. Mazarakis is an avid early-stage investor and advisor to high-growth companies who became passionate about the legal cannabis industry after leaving Goldman and returning home to the U.S. in 2016. His fundamentals-driven, deep-dive research process adds a professional level of rigor and diligence to the cannabis fund landscape.
Mr. Mazarakis received his BS in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University and a MBA from the University of Michigan.
Mr. Mazarakis lives in the north suburbs of Chicago and has three spirited young children- two boys and a girl. His outside interests include basketball, paddle tennis, snook fishing and the Balearic Islands.
Devin Liles is a cannabis industry pioneer with fifteen years of industry experience and expertise across business strategy, organizational and business development, production optimization, facility design, regulatory compliance, and executive leadership. After starting his career as an independent caregiver and grower cultivating in Northern California, Devin co-developed one of Colorado’s premier vertically-integrated cannabis companies, The Farm in Boulder. As VP of Production and then Chief Executive Officer, Devin was integral to the Farm’s growth from a small mom and pop shop to a vertically-integrated 100-employee operation with multi-million dollar annual revenues. Devin is co-owner, President and Senior Analyst for AIMCanna, a private capital management partnership purposed to deliver unparalleled returns while advancing investments in human wellness and planetary health.