Rebecca “Becky” Connolly
Becky is a Co-founder and Managing Partner of Tiger Iron Capital and a 25-year veteran of the venture capital industry. Becky’s passion for the venture capital industry began at Boston College Law School when a partner from Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault was a guest lecturer in her corporate tax class. Her innate geekiness was piqued hearing about the start-up companies and venture capitalists that the then-venerable Boston-based law firm represented. She went on to begin her career at TH&T and served as general counsel and advisor to high growth technology companies, counseling them on a wide range of legal, business and strategic issues. She also represented venture capitalists in their financing of start-up companies and provided them with general counsel and guidance in their fund formation and fund raising processes. What Becky most enjoyed about her days as a lawyer, however, were her interactions with the venture capital community and watching the “sausage making” process of her start-up company clients growing from concept to public offering. This caused her to change careers and become more involved in the investing side of the industry.
In 2000, she joined Everest Ventures as an investment partner, based in Wellesley, Massachusetts and found her calling as a venture capital fund investor. Everest Ventures was then the venture fund-of-funds affiliate of Bessemer Trust and an affiliate of Bessemer Venture Partners. At Everest Ventures she was responsible for identifying and selecting managers for the first fully-diversified venture capital fund-of-funds for the Bessemer Trust high net worth platform. She was responsible for securing initial allocations and building relationships with leading venture capital funds, as well as designing the initial portfolio construction models and due diligence procedures.
In 2004, Becky joined Fairview Capital Partners, where she was an investment partner and a member of the investment committee for the 12 years before founding Tiger Iron. At Fairview, Becky was involved in the management of 22 multi-investor and single-investor fund-of-funds and customized separate account programs, representing a mix of institutional investors including state and municipal pension plans, corporate ERISA plans, endowments and foundations. Although Fairview’s commitments to managers spanned the private equity spectrum from seed-stage venture capital funds through mid-market buyout funds, Becky was primarily responsible for identifying and selecting opportunities for Fairview’s venture capital portfolios and she served on a number of advisory boards of prominent venture capital firms.
When Becky is not researching the technology industry and hearing pitches from venture capitalists, she can usually be found doing something related to Track & Field, either coaching young children, watching her children compete, or running, high jumping, hurdling or pole vaulting herself, as she is a national champion and American record holder masters Track & Field athlete. If she is not working out or competing, you can find Becky hanging out with her husband of 24 years and her two teenage children, preferably on the shores of Cape Cod.
Becky holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the College of the Holy Cross and a Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School.
Matthew “Matt” Schaefer
Matt Schaefer is a Co-founder and Managing Partner of Tiger Iron Capital and a 22-year veteran of the venture capital industry. After college, Matt settled into what he thought would be a long, if not exciting, career in public accounting with the once venerable Arthur Andersen & Co. Nine years on, he wisely accepted an invitation to join a client of his, Bigler Investment Management Co, Inc. (“Bigler/Crossroads”), one of the nation’s earliest venture capital fund-of-funds managers. At Bigler/Crossroads, Matt had oversight responsibility for all operational aspects of the firm and revamped a number of its legacy systems and processes. He was also fortunate enough to learn about the world of venture investing from the inside, at the knee of some of the country’s best investors. This led to a role on the investment team of Bigler/Crossroads and its successor organization, which prized his qualitative and quantitative analytical skills.
In early 1999, Matt transitioned to Fairview Capital Partners, where he was an investment partner and member of the firm’s investment committee for almost 17 years. In that capacity, he was integral to the management of 22 multi-investor and single-investor fund-of-funds and customized separate account programs, representing a mix of institutional investors. Early in his Fairview career, he experienced the boom and bust of the dot-com technology bubble, and the ensuing nuclear winter in the venture industry. As he likes to say, “We know where the bodies are buried – and who buried them.” His experience and good advice has been sought-after by many venture firms, which have requested his participation on their limited partner advisory boards.
Matt spends much of his free time monitoring the educational and career development of his two children to ensure they won’t join the boomerang generation and spoil the peace and tranquility he and his wife of 27 years enjoy as empty nesters. He also likes to kayak, cook and work on projects around the house.
Matt holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Accounting from the College of the Holy Cross. (Becky is quick to point out that he graduated before she did.) He is also a former licensed certified public accountant.
Amit is a Managing Partner of Tiger Iron Capital and is based in San Francisco. He has been in the private equity business for over 17 years, including 14 as a limited partner and investor.
Amit began his career on the dark side in 1999 when he joined Credit Suisse First Boston’s investment banking group in New York (Becky and Matt have promised not to hold that against him). Given his well-traveled upbringing (more on that later), he initially worked with clients in Latin America. For sentimental reasons, one of his favorite projects was helping Costa Rica successfully complete a large Eurobond financing. In early 2000 Amit moved to San Francisco and joined Credit Suisse’s technology private equity practice, where he began forging relationships within the venture community on the west coast.
After four years (and upon realizing that investment banking is perhaps not as glamorous as it may seem), Amit left Credit Suisse to pursue his MBA. To fill any remaining free time, he simultaneously began working with the private equity team at the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. While there, he evaluated both private equity and venture capital funds, personally gravitating towards venture fund opportunities due to the relationships with entrepreneurs and VCs and the immersion in new, emerging technologies that they enabled.
In 2005, Amit joined Invesco’s Private Capital Group to help establish, and eventually lead, its west coast fund of funds practice. Among other responsibilities, Amit enjoyed leading the firm’s efforts in sourcing up-and-coming venture capital managers. As part of his work on that front, he developed the firm’s original thesis around the evolving early stage venture space and the importance of capturing opportunities in the emerging MicroVC (seed) universe. In doing so, he orchestrated the firm’s inaugural investments in seed funds and has built relationships with many of the best up and coming venture capital firms in the industry. Amit also oversaw Invesco’s largest account, for one of the most well-known and highly regarded public pension plans in the world.
While Amit has called San Francisco home for nearly two decades, he has enjoyed living all over the world. Born in India, at the ripe age of two he moved with his family to Nigeria, where they lived for six years. In the late-eighties, his family subsequently relocated to Costa Rica where he would spend the next decade, before moving to New Orleans for his undergraduate.
When not fanatically researching new gadgets and tech trends, Amit spends his time raising (and obsessively photographing) his two girls with his wife of 11 years. When he actually had some free time (pre-kids), Amit used to lose himself in the world of photography, which he hopes to get back to some day.
Amit holds a Bachelor of Science in Management from Tulane University and an MBA from the Graduate School of Management at UC Davis.
Mary Shannon is Tiger Iron’s Operations Principal and first worked in venture almost 30 years ago at the firm Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co. Working with investor relations and watching startups such as Powersoft and Berkeley Systems (she still remembers the Flying Toasters screensaver) progress from early stages to exit inspired her to pursue an MBA at Boston College.
As part of a Global Finance course her second year at BC, Mary began her world travel adventures with a class trip to Asia. She continued to focus on international business when she joined Liberty Mutual Insurance as the company expanded worldwide. She held positions with Liberty in both corporate finance and its international business unit, and participated in and later led M&A teams worldwide, including Australia, Thailand, Sweden, United Kingdom, Singapore, and Colombia.
In the late 1990s Mary could not resist the Internet startup craze and joined Zefer, a venture-backed, high-growth Internet consulting firm. The company grew from startup to over $100 million in revenues in under two years, so as director of planning & analysis, she and her team created countless hockey-stick graph forecasts that were actually realized. Then the dot-com bubble burst and the hockey sticks disappeared. So did the company. Having a front row seat to watch the fast-paced growth of a startup as well as an industry was an invaluable experience.
In 2001, Mary returned to the investor side of venture by joining Masthead Venture Partners, with responsibility for the financial, accounting, tax and investor relations functions. In 2012 she began working as a finance consultant for various venture funds. In addition to Tiger Iron Capital, Mary continues that work for Masthead and two other Boston-based venture firms. Her M&A experience has served her well, as portfolio company valuation has become more critical for venture funds. She appreciates the technology advances that have streamlined back-office and investor reporting functions, but still enjoys the challenge of working on complicated structures and transactions.
Mary spends her free time with her three children and husband of over 20 years. She is an avid volunteer in her community and on weekends can be found in the stands cheering on her kids at their various athletic events (cowbell optional). She loves to travel, ski, cook and play classic rock when driving the hockey carpool.
Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the College of the Holy Cross, where she witnessed the budding romance between Becky and Mark Connolly, Becky’s husband-to-be. (Becky politely does not remind Mary who graduated first from college.) She also holds a Masters of Business Administration from Boston College.