The Fund is managed by four seasoned investment professionals who have complementary backgrounds and successful track records in both debt and equity investments, with over 75 collective years in lending, corporate finance, venture capital, corporate management and governance, and debt restructures:
James W. Davidson
Founder and Managing Director
Jim has management responsibility for a number of portfolio investments and is involved in all aspects of fund management, due diligence and origination.
Prior to co-founding Banyan, Jim was a General Partner of South Atlantic Private Equity IV, L.P., the oldest and most established venture capital firm in Florida. South Atlantic Fund IV became fully invested during 2001, and shortly thereafter, Jim met John Miller and Richard Starke, and the three of them co-founded Banyan Fund I.
Jim began his investment career in 1969, joining Goldman, Sachs & Co. in New York. During his last ten years at Goldman Sachs, he was responsible for developing investment banking relationships and transactions in the Southeast Region. During this time, he developed 40 important new clients, including many leading corporations headquartered in the region. Over the years at Goldman Sachs, he handled over 150 complex public and private equity and debt financings totaling almost $11 billion and over 30 merger and acquisition assignments.
Jim left Goldman Sachs in 1990 and moved to Miami to establish Davidson Capital Partners (NASD Member) which provided corporate finance and management advisory services to emerging growth companies and family-owned businesses. Davidson Capital Partners was active between 1991 and 1997. In 1991 Jim became a Director of a $3.5 billion troubled publicly traded thrift, American Savings & Loan, Miami, which at the time had a market capitalization of approximately $7 million. Shortly after joining the board, Jim was asked by the Board to become interim CEO. American Savings was successfully turned around and sold to First Union for over $250 million in 1994.
Past corporate directorships in addition to American Savings include: Equinox Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ) and private companies Disk Technologies, Applied Automation Techniques, and Accudocs, LLC. He was Chairman of the Board of the Florida Venture Forum in 1998 and was a Board member from 1995 to 2000. In 2004, was a founder of Coral Gables Trust Company, (state chartered) and has been Chairman since.
Jim is an active board member of the following Banyan Mezzanine portfolio companies: American Biosurgical, LLC, AMMCO Holdings, LLC, Discovery Outsourcing, LLC, MMD Holdings, Pro EM, LLC FKA Ultimate Event Services, TowerComm, LLC, Vology, Inc.
Jim received his MBA degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and his BA degree from Vanderbilt University. He served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army completing a one-year tour of duty in South Vietnam.
John A. Miller
Founder and Managing Director
As Managing Director, John has management responsibility for a number of portfolio investments and is involved in all aspects of fund management, due diligence and origination.
Prior to co-founding Banyan Fund I, John was with Bank of America Securities and affiliated entities from 1988 to mid-2001, most recently as a Managing Director in the Financial Institutions group. He was responsible for originating and executing both public and private senior, mezzanine and equity financings. Based in Miami for most of his career, he led financings exceeding $25 billion in over 60 transactions. John had nationwide responsibility for the firm’s clients engaged in the equipment leasing and rental business. He managed a business unit with credit commitments aggregating $5.6 billion, and had responsibility for both client selection and transaction execution. He advised clients on a range of issues including strategic alternatives, financing alternatives, and optimal capital structure. Other duties included due diligence, underwriting, structuring, syndicating and monitoring transactions.
From 1991 through 1998 John covered South Florida from the firm’s Miami office. He had primary responsibility for client relationships with a diversified portfolio of companies leading deal teams in performing due diligence, and structuring and executing loan syndications, public and private debt issuance (both senior and subordinated), convertible securities and IPO and follow-on equity offerings. Financings arranged during this timeframe aggregated approximately $17 billion. He consistently ranked in the top quintile nationally among his peers in terms of revenue generation and risk adjusted return on capital, with an average annual risk adjusted return on his portfolio of approximately 34%. Prior to Miami, John was in Dallas with the firm assigned to the International Division responsible for acquisition finance for foreign-owned middle market companies.
John is an active board member of the following Banyan Mezzanine portfolio companies: AICS Holdings, LLC, AMMCO Holdings, LLC, Baskins Acquisition Holdings, LLC, Burrow Construction, LLC, EOIR Technologies, Inc., Gowanda Holdings, LLC, I.O.M. Acquisition, MMD Holdings, Monomer Polymer & Dajac Labs, Pro EM, LLC, ScooterBug, Inc., and TowerComm, LLC.
John is a Director of the Florida Venture Forum. He has a B.B.A. in Finance from the University of Texas.
Richard M. Starke
Founder and Managing Director
Richard has management responsibility for a number of portfolio investments and is involved in all aspects of fund management, due diligence and origination. His responsibilities include the origination, underwriting and structuring of a number of portfolio investments. Proceeds from these investments are largely used to finance mergers and acquisitions, provide growth capital or fund general corporate purposes. The underwriting process included in-depth due diligence, risk assessment, financing alternatives, market research and legal documentation. As part of the on-going monitoring of these portfolio company investments, Richard is an active board member at a number of companies and provides each company’s management team with constructive feedback regarding short and long-term strategies, capital requirements, optimal financing structures and strategic alternatives.
Prior to Banyan Fund I and from July of 1996 through August of 2001, Richard was a Managing Director in Bank of America’s Miami based Global Corporate and Investment Banking Group. His responsibilities included the origination, underwriting and structuring of approximately $5.0 billion of syndicated senior credit facilities to primarily low or below investment grade corporate clients Prior to this period, he spent four years with NationsBank in Baltimore, MD where he originated, underwrote, structured and monitored approximately $500 million in senior loans to primarily privately held middle market companies based in the mid-Atlantic, with a concentration of radio, television and newspaper and publishing clients. From 1989 through mid-1992, Richard held various officer level positions in the Media, Telecommunications and Leveraged Finance Group at Shawmut Bank, N.A. in Hartford, CT. During his tenure in this group, he originated a corporate loan portfolio of approximately $350 million and actively traded corporate loans to leveraged borrowers that were selling at a discount due to HLT designation by Federal Reserve guidelines. Prior to joining this group, Richard completed Shawmut Bank’s two-year comprehensive training program.
In addition to his underwriting, structuring and monitoring duties while working for Bank of America, NationsBank and Shawmut, Richard gained substantial work-out experience having negotiated over 15 complex loan restructurings with borrowers in the radio broadcasting, outdoor advertising, publishing, hospitality services, retailing, security monitoring, and waste management industries as well as troubled roll-up strategies. In conjunction with the majority of these troubled debt restructures, the banks received a combination of warrants and cash exit fees generating significant income following the orderly liquidation of these loans.
Richard received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a double major in Finance and Marketing from The E. Claiborne Robins School of Business at The University of Richmond.
Michalis P. Stavrinides
Michalis has management responsibility for a number of portfolio investments and is involved in all aspects of fund management, due diligence and origination. Since September 2004, Michalis’s responsibilities have included the origination, underwriting and structuring of a number of portfolio investments. Proceeds from these investments were largely used to finance mergers and acquisitions, provide growth capital or fund general corporate purposes. Michalis is an active board member at a number of companies and provides each company’s management team with constructive feedback regarding short and long-term strategies, capital requirements, optimal financing structures and strategic alternatives.
In 2002, Michalis moved to Miami and co-founded the Icon Group LLC, an independent investment management and advisory firm exclusively responsible for the corporate finance and investment activities of Grupo Financiero Uno (“GFU”).
From 2000 to 2002, Michalis was an Associate with Sciens Capital Partners (formerly Zilkha Capital Partners) in New York. He acted as the lead associate working directly with the Managing Partner in a number of transactions in Southeastern Europe and had responsibility for the full range of activities related to private equity and principal investing.
From 1997 to 1999 he was invited to join Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s (“GSAM’) London office as a global equity portfolio manager for GSAM’s institutional clients. There he was a member of a team of four portfolio managers focused on managing $1 billion in European Growth Equity. He was responsible for making top-down asset allocation decisions and sector and sub-sector allocations. Upon his return to GSAM in New York in late 1999, he worked directly with the Global Equity Chief Investment Officer as a business analyst responsible for a number of strategic projects and was active in all aspects of the group, including asset allocation, annual budgets, launching of new products and services, evaluating potential new product offerings, executing financial analysis, negotiating transactions, evaluation of portfolio management teams, and recruiting new marketing and investment professionals. Michalis began his career in 1996 as a fixed income analyst with GSAM in New York. His responsibilities included fundamental analysis of existing fixed income and currency clients’ portfolios.
Michalis is an active board member of the following Banyan Mezzanine portfolio companies: ACENTO Advertising, Banker’s Exchange, Capitol BC Holdings, LLC, Capitol C Holdings, LLC, EnviroVac Holdings, LLC, Gowanda Holdings, LLC, HydroVac Industrial Services, Inc., Magnuson Products, LLC, MPD/Silar , Paxen Learning, Silverchair Science & Communications, Supply Source, LLC.
Michalis received his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University where he was a Fuqua Scholar and his undergraduate degree in Economics (Finance & Strategic Management) from the Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania.
Chief Portfolio Officer
Adam Kaplan joined Banyan in April 2009 as its Chief Portfolio Manager responsible for administration and oversight of Banyan’s existing and prospective investments, as well as origination, underwriting and structuring mezzanine and equity investments in small business enterprises.
Adam joined Banyan after serving as Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending at Bank of America, responsible for originating, underwriting and structuring loans for middle-market companies. Prior to Bank of America, Mr. Kaplan was CFO of XtremeMac, a consumer products company focused on iPod accessories, responsible for finance, accounting, operations, human resources, credit and collections, information technology and administrative services for the company.
Mr. Kaplan joined XtremeMac after serving as CFO for Vector Products, a $160 million consumer products company focused on lighting, power products and automotive accessories and now a subsidiary of The Black & Decker Corporation. Prior to Vector, Adam spent four years at Applica, a $700 million consumer products company focused on kitchen and other small home appliances, as Vice President – Finance and Treasurer. Adam joined Applica after spending eight years at Bank of America, as a Vice President in the Global Corporate and Investment Banking division.
A former Certified Public Accountant, Adam began his career as a Staff Auditor with the Jacksonville, Florida office of Deloitte & Touche. He earned his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Florida, a Master’s of Accounting from the University of North Florida in 1991 and an MBA in Finance from the University of Florida in 1993.
Lois F. Marler
Chief Financial Officer
Lois joined Banyan in March 2008 in the newly created position of Chief Financial Officer. She is responsible for the firm’s accounting, finance, and administrative operations, including managing the relationships with the firm’s limited partners.
Lois brings over twenty-five years of experience in venture capital and investment banking to the Banyan team. Prior to joining Banyan, she was CFO of both EDF Ventures (2001-07) and White Pines Ventures (1985-2001), two Michigan-based government-licensed Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs), where she served in a similar capacity. Previously, Lois served for two years as Vice President, Corporate Finance for First of Michigan Corporation, then the largest Michigan-based investment banking and brokerage firm, where her responsibilities included financial advisory and financing services.
Lois is a former member of the Board of Governors for the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies (NASBIC), and is a past President of the group’s Midwest regional association. She also served as an at-large Director of the Association for Corporate Growth – Southeast Michigan Chapter.
Lois earned a BA summa cum laude from Albion College, Albion, Michigan in 1985 and an MBA with concentrations in Accounting and Finance from the Ross Graduate School of Business, The University of Michigan in 1992.
Christian has responsibility for the full scope of activities that pertain to mezzanine and principal investing, including research, analysis, and evaluation across a wide array of industries and companies. Since joining Banyan in 2010, Christian has focused on sourcing and executing investments, as well as assisting in the management of existing portfolio companies. He has closed a number of initial, as well as add-on transactions, across a myriad of sectors.
Prior to joining Banyan, Christian was an investment banking analyst within the Leveraged Finance & Restructuring Group at Credit Suisse in New York. In this capacity, he was responsible for working with financial sponsors and corporate clients across the full range of a deal. He is experienced in a variety of transactions, including LBOs, recapitalizations, distressed financings, and strategic acquisitions. As a result, Christian’s analysis and diligence ultimately yielded approximately $2 billion in financings.
Christian graduated from the University of Miami, magna cum laude, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance in 2007.