Dr. Massih Tayebi is Founding Partner and Chairman of the Bridgewest Group. Massih and his brother and Co-founder Masood, create novel businesses with leading-edge processes and technology. Inspired by deep tech, Massih incorporates AI with semiconductor tech and software platforms to enable disruptive new solutions. His vision for creating a better tomorrow drives much of the ideation and innovation success. Massih and his brother have received numerous awards including: the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the American Electronics Association High Technology Industry Recognition for Telecommunications, the San Diego Venture Capital Success Story, and the Coastline Foundation's Visionary of the Year. Massih earned his M.S., Ph.D. and post-doctoral while in the United Kingdom.
Massih actively supports several philanthropic causes. The Massih & Haleh Tayebi Annual Scholarship fund educates children around the world. He donates to causes benefiting underprivileged children and local and international cultural centers.
Dr. Masood Tayebi is a Founding Partner and CEO of the Bridgewest Group. With his expertise in international business strategy and global operations, Masood is instrumental in leading start-up firms in Biotech and Hitech through market development to outsized success.
Masood's passion for developing sound strategy and agile operations fuels the success of portfolio companies. Prior to Bridgewest Group, Masood and his brother founded Wireless Facilities, Inc., which helped to enhance the lives of billions of people in over 60 countries through pioneering advancements in wireless connectivity infrastructure.
Masood is active in several philanthropic activities. Together with his wife Surinder, the couple founded the Lotus Children Foundation. Additionally, they support local first responders, education, housing, and service member families. Masood enjoys advising and teaching entrepreneurs through one-on-one sessions, as well as volunteering for speaking engagements at various conferences and events.
Masood and his brother received the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the American Electronics Association High Technology Industry Recognition Award for Telecommunications, the Venture Capital Success Story Award by the San Diego Venture Group, and the Visionary of the Year Award by the Coastline Foundation.
Masood earned his M.S. in Electronics Engineering and Ph.D. in mobile radio propagation while in the United Kingdom.
Adam Gickling is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Bridgewest Group. Adam oversees all aspects of corporate finance and operational strategy. Additionally, he is an active contributor to the operational success of the Bridgewest Group's portfolio of companies. Through his business acumen and servant leadership style, he fuels a strong multi-talented organizational structure. With great resourcefulness and a can-do employee outlook, his operational teams (finance, accounting, legal, tax, human resource) empower entrepreneurs to do what they do best - transform a great idea into a powerful solution.
Adam joined Bridgewest in 2000 and has served as an operating CFO for several of the Group's private equity portfolio companies. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the portfolio companies through his extensive first-hand operational M&A and capital raising experience. Adam received his BS in Commerce from the University of Virginia and his MBA from UCLA's Anderson School of Management.
Saum Vahdat is CEO of Bridgewest Ventures (BV) where he leads investment strategies and incubation programs, including BVNZ's partnership initiative with the Government of New Zealand.
With hands-on oversight and pragmatic management methodologies, Saum guides portfolio companies through the common challenges faced by young businesses, to accelerate and improve commercialization timelines. Utilizing a core team culture that capitalizes on development platforms and expertise ecosystems within BV and BVNZ, entrepreneurs, CEOs and partners actively share best practices and business relationships, resulting in heightened product impact and economic success.
Previously, Saum worked with Johnson & Johnson's venture capital platform, assisting with commercialization strategy formation and market research. Prior to J&J, Saum led financial analysis and business development for a global real estate investment firm. Saum graduated from Cornell University with an MBA focused on Finance and is an active member of the San Diego Chapter of Young Presidents Organization (YPO).
Chandima Mendis is the Head of Bridgewest Group's Fixed Income Portfolio Management business and Capital Markets, focusing on bonds, commodities and currencies. Chandima is responsible for Treasury management and liquidity activities of the Group, as well as coordinating capital market and M&A activities with investment banks and investors. He actively works with the CEOs and business leaders of Bridgewest Group's portfolio companies to strategize and guide them in their growth and capital market activities.
Chandima has over 20 years of experience in institutional portfolio management. He previously worked for several international asset managers, including AXA Investment Managers and Fortis. Prior, Chandima worked as an economist at the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC. He graduated with a Doctorate in Economics from the University of Oxford.
Jennifer Brown is General Counsel at Bridgewest Group. She takes pride in serving as a trusted advisor to the Group’s businesses and assisting in transactions, commercial matters and risk management. She prides herself in her ability to understand the business team’s goals, drive creative win-win solutions and build strong internal and external relationships. Her experience across various industries and in multiple substantive areas aligns well within the Bridgewest Group’s portfolio companies and investments.
Jennifer earned her law degree and undergraduate business degree from The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining Bridgewest Group, Jennifer served as General Counsel of Farmer Bros. Co., where she was responsible for the legal, corporate governance, risk management and real estate functions. She previously served as a corporate, securities and M&A attorney at Jones Day and Baker & McKenzie.
Rees Ward is Executive Vice President and New Zealand COO at Bridgewest New Zealand. Rees leads the administrative and operational functions and plays an integral role in advancing New Zealand portfolio companies, the technology incubator and the real estate portfolio. His diverse experience in legal, commercial and public sector backgrounds, combined with his genuine passion for New Zealand and positivity, stands him in good stead to inspire and support key initiatives, executives, entrepreneurs, stakeholders and entities. Be kind, be present and persist, are core to the way Rees lives his life and encourages team spirit. He enjoys leading by example, connecting people, and facilitating the ongoing growth of teams, entrepreneurs and businesses to being as successful as possible.
Rees joined Bridgewest in 2017 and has worked to grow Bridgewest Group's activities, investments and operations across New Zealand. Previously, Rees was the founding Director of the Wellington ICT Graduate School and New Zealand's Deputy Consul General to Western USA based in Los Angeles. Rees gained his Bachelor of Laws (L.L.B.) and Bachelor of Commerce and Administration (B.C.A. specializing in Management, Marketing & Japanese) degrees from Victoria University of Wellington.
John (JR) Robson is the General Manager of Bridgewest Ventures NZ and he is responsible for the early stage deep technology investment portfolio of Bridgewest in New Zealand.
JR is a finance and investment professional with over 25 years of investment experience across global equity, bond, and treasury/cash management. He has been intimately involved in the technology start-up community in New Zealand since 2008 through numerous early-stage software companies as both an executive and non-executive director. JR regularly writes and speaks about technology in a number of forums and is an avid futurist.
JR's areas of expertise are: Economics, Risk & Compliance, Technology Strategy, Risk Management, Financial Governance, Board Governance, Business Management, Investment Strategy, Financial Analysis, Venture Capital, Private Equity, Debt and Equity structuring.
David Hewit is Director of Capital Markets at the Bridgewest Group. He is responsible for capital investments and raising external capital in support of portfolio companies. He actively works with the management teams of portfolio companies to develop and execute their capital markets strategies and support their strategic initiatives. David also assists with business development activities and provides support and investment advice to the Executive Leadership Team of Bridgewest Group.
David has fifteen years of experience in the investment management and finance industries. Prior to joining Bridgewest Group David was an investment research analyst focused primarily on the tech sector. Previously he worked for several asset management firms including Newbrook Capital, Shannon River Partners, and Duquesne Capital Management. David graduated with a BS in Finance from Lehigh University.
As Director of Finance & Accounting, Meera Mulchandani leads the finance team at the Bridgewest Group. She oversees financial planning & analysis, corporate strategy, tax & risk management, budgeting, and forecasting functions for the portfolio companies of Bridgewest Group. With a can-do attitude, a penchant to acquire knowledge, and a focus on streamlining processes, she enables companies to respond to diverse and challenging business environments with agility. Stemming from her democratic leadership style, drive towards efficiency, and ability to resolve complex problems, she has a proven track record for steering organizations through accelerated growth.
Prior to joining Bridgewest Group, Meera had extensive experience in real estate financing, equity and credit markets, and domestic and international investing. Meera is a Chartered Accountant from India and a CFA Charterholder.
Chelsea Wild, Director of Human Resources at Bridgewest Group, has over 20 years of progressive human resources experience. She oversees all aspects of HR including strategic planning, performance management, staffing, federal and state law compliance, employee benefits, employee engagement, payroll, training and development, and management coaching. Chelsea uses her strong HR background and a blend of experiences to affect positive change in the organization, and to develop an HR team with the right infrastructure to effectively support rapid business growth.
Chelsea has managed HR in small to mid-size companies, spanning various industries including medical device manufacturing, aerospace, and hospitality. Chelsea earned her BS in Human Services Management from the University of Phoenix.
Evan Wilson is a Senior Asset Manager at Bridgewest Group. Evan oversees the group's diverse real estate portfolio which includes commercial office, life science and residential properties. With thorough market research and data analysis, plus highly-honed revenue forecasting and expense management skills, Evan maximizes capital deployments while maintaining cash flow. Evan fosters strong relationships with portfolio companies, property managers, leasing agents, brokers, investors and colleagues alike by being knowledgeable, helpful and accurate. His guiding principles, which he instills in his team, emboldens them to achieve positive outcomes and desired investment returns.
Prior to joining Bridgewest Group, Evan oversaw his own commercial real estate brokerage responsible for sourcing investment opportunities in several markets across the country. Evan received his BS in Business from Chapman University.
Danielle Guidotti is Corporate Controller for Bridgewest Group. Danielle oversees financial reporting for the majority of portfolio companies, as well as manages the accounting team. In addition to a strong background in taxation and corporate accounting across multiple business units, her expertise is in processes and business integrations. Danielle is always looking for ways to bring system processes to life and to streamline efficiencies for optimal growth. Learning new things, people and culture is integral to her personal and professional life.
Previously, Danielle was Controller at Opterra Solutions, Inc. Danielle graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor's degree in business administration, and a major in accounting.
Darja Nelson is Commercialization Manager for Biotech at Bridgewest Ventures New Zealand. She leverages her background in business, intellectual property (IP) and science and her experience as a deep tech founder to guide start-ups from incubation through commercialization. Her keen appreciation for amazing science and technology has taken her on several exciting journeys from early stage deep tech IP commercialization to founder to Chief Commercialization Officer.
Darja has a Master's degree in Biomedical Science and Bioscience Enterprise from the University of Auckland. Darja has worked in business and science roles across the New Zealand University and research ecosystem with experience spanning commercialization strategy, capital raising and company building and growth.
Behrooz Abdi is an entrepreneur in the high-tech industry. In the last decade he has invested, or has served as an officer or board member, for a number of private and public companies, several of which have been acquired, creating billions of dollars of cumulative value for investors. Behrooz was most recently General Manager of the Micro Electro Mechanical Systems ("MEMS") Sensor Business Group of TDK Corporation and Chief Executive Officer of InvenSense, Inc., which was acquired by TDK for $1.3 billion in 2017. Prior, Behrooz was Chief Executive Officer and President of network processor company RMI Corporation and Executive Vice President of the company's acquirer, NetLogic Microsystems, Inc., a semiconductor company. Behrooz was previously Senior Vice President and General Manager of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies at Qualcomm Incorporated. He worked at Motorola Inc. for 18 years, where his last role was Vice President and General Manager in charge of the mobile radio frequency and mixed-signal integrated circuits product line. Behrooz holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Montana State University - Bozeman and a master's degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.
Bill Strauss has over 35 years of experience in starting, operating, and growing many successful private and public companies. As the Co-founder and CEO of ProFlowers.com/Provide Commerce (NASDAQ:PRVD), Bill's vision revolutionized and helped reshape the future of the online flower industry. His leadership and business model greatly reduced and eliminated many typical costs factored into traditional retail business models, resulting in a much better quality product at a lower cost to consumers. Prior, Bill was a member of senior management at Intuit where he built the infrastructure that supported the growth from $50 million to $750 million in annual revenues in less than 5 years. Bill also served as the Vice President of Operations for Hanover Direct in the early 90's, where thanks to his excellent leadership the company saw growth from $250 million to $1 billion in annual revenues in just over a three-year period. Bill served as a board member for ServiceNow (NYSE:NOW) from 2011-2017 where he served as Chair of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and a member of the Audit Committee. He was also CEO for Shoedazzle.com. Bill holds a bachelor's degree in Accounting from Syracuse University.
Cyrus Mirsaidi brings both practical and strategic senior management experience for young start-ups to fortune 100 companies, with a proven track record in Biotech. As an Operating Partner for Bridgewest Group, Cyrus provides a wealth of industry knowledge and leadership insight, guiding CEOs of Bridgewest Group portfolio companies in complex business matters. In addition, Cyrus currently serves as a Board Advisor for BioDuro-Sundia, after serving as President and CEO for the company for over 5 years. He held several senior level management positions in his ten-year career at Nichols Institute Diagnostics (a division of Quest Diagnostics). As general manager and executive director at Ontogen, a small molecule discovery company, he managed operations of a subsidiary focused on high throughput synthesis and purification of novel chemical compounds. Cyrus served as Vice President at AltheaDx, a spin-out from Althea Technologies, a San Diego biologics GMP manufacturing company, and most recently served as CEO and founder of Molecular Response, LLC, a CRO focused on translational oncology.
Farzad Ghassemi has over 30 years of leadership experience with a proven track record encompassing pioneering roles in technology development and commercialization, operations, business development, and executive management. He has been instrumental in the formation and success of many startups, public companies, and high-profile entrepreneurial partnership with an in-depth knowledge and experience in key critical areas that determine and drive success in rapidly evolving business environments with focus on competitive landscape, technology, regulatory, business planning, capitalization, and execution.
Most recently, Farzad was the Founder and Executive Chairman of Global Technology Associates (GTA), a high-end technology consulting firm which was recently acquired by Kelly Services. Prior to founding GTA in 2006, he served as the President of Wireless Network Services at WFI, a global telecom outsourcing firm, where he was responsible for the company's WNS Business Unit with annual revenue of $290 MM.
Farzad received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from George Mason University and an MBA in Management from Strayer University. He has served on the Board of several Human Rights Organizations around the world.
Ian Wisenberg has been an integral leader charting innovation and growth across several Bridgewest Group companies. Ian's philosophy "never do tomorrow what you can do today," fuels his entrepreneurial successes. As Operating Partner, Ian focuses on the expansion of the Life Sciences portfolio for Bridgewest Group in Australasia. He also serves as Executive Chairman for BioCina. This follows his previous appointment as CEO for BioCina, where he led a highly accomplished team, recognized for its strong history as a multi-product biologics contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO).
Prior to taking the helm at BioCina, Ian was founder and Chief Business Officer of BioArdis, a preclinical biopharmaceutical development company of the Bridgewest Group. He transitioned to this new role from Chief Financial Officer at BioDuro after the Bridgewest Group sale to Advent International in 2019.
Earlier, Ian ran a very successful consulting practice, BioGlobal Consulting Group. The firm had an extensive client list of biotech and pharma companies in the USA and internationally. His career spans over three decades in international business with an emphasis in finance, capital formation and business development. Ian is from Cape Town, South Africa, and attended the University of Cape Town.
Saeed Khorami serves as Operating Partner in multiple portfolio companies for the Bridgewest Group. He is responsible for driving the growth strategy in close collaboration with the management teams. Before re-joining Bridgewest Group, Saeed was the CEO of Skyriver Communications, a Bridgewest Group portfolio company, where he led the company's growth strategy until its successful exit in 2018, through its innovative and pioneering ventures in 5G millimeter wave (mmW) broadband communications. Previously, Saeed was a member of the investment team in Bridgewest Group focusing on emerging wireless and semiconductor technologies. Prior, he was a leading member of the broadband wireless group at Wireless Facilities, Inc., a global leader in telecommunications services. Saeed has over 20 years of experience operating technology companies and has served on the Boards of multiple companies in various technology sectors including wireless communications, semiconductor and software. He holds Bachelor's and Master of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering.
Tommy Broudy is a passionate biotech executive with a 20+ year track record building and growing companies in life science tools, diagnostics and therapeutics. As Operating Partner, he works with portfolio companies to create value, set strategy, build teams, establish partnerships, achieve milestones, and generate successful outcomes for all stakeholders.
Tommy was part of the leadership team for Bridgewest Group portfolio companies Molecular Response and BioDuro-Sundia and has rejoined at the investment group level. Most recently, Tommy was CEO of January Therapeutics, which develops nanoparticle technology for drug delivery. Prior, he served as Executive Vice President, Corporate Development & Marketing at BioDuro-Sundia, where he led the go to market strategy for the global CRO/CDMO. His team created a robust deal pipeline with multiple major partnerships in pharma and biotech. At Crown Bioscience, he led the US preclinical oncology operation up to the company's IPO. He cofounded and served as CSO of Molecular Response, a patient-derived tumor modeling company, up to the company's exit and strategic acquisition. At AltheaDx, he led the Business Development team to partner gene expression-based companion diagnostics for oncology therapeutics.
Tommy held postdoctoral appointments at Rockefeller University and Stanford University studying host/microbial genomics. He earned his PhD at Rockefeller in the Laboratory of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology.
Andrew Sims is the CEO and a Co-founder of SuiteFiles. In 2012, Andrew and his co-founder wanted to help small and medium businesses, that didn't have the resources of skilled IT departments, to leverage enterprise workflow systems simply and affordably. As cloud services were just burgeoning, they formed SuiteFiles, an early SaaS document management platform. Since then, Andrew has grown SuiteFiles, adding employees, new services and new customers.
Andrew combines enthusiasm with a strategic outlook to grow the company. He leverages his cloud consulting skills to ensure he and his team are meeting customer needs, and delivering quality and value.
Andrew started his career in the forestry industry before transitioning into senior management roles within global IT companies. He brings a professional and pragmatic approach to his business, stemming from the variety of industries in which he has worked. Andrew has a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Canterbury and his MBA is from Massey University.
Andy Lin is President and Chief Executive Officer at Provoke Solutions. Andy provides strategic direction and oversees all aspects of Provoke's business. Through his focus on driving compelling go-to-market offerings and developing leadership capabilities with his team, Andy instills client-centricity and accountability. With a strong technical background, Andy deeply understands what clients desire: delightful experiences that are at the intersection of technology, business strategy, and creative design. Andy's ability to balance tactics and strategy has led to his track record of driving hyper-growth for technology and management consulting businesses, breaking through revenue plateaus to reach new inflection points.
Andy joined Provoke in 2021. Prior to Provoke, Andy was Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at another services firm headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he helped the CEO develop and pivot to a new go-to-market. This resulted in a 38% CAGR between 2017 and 2020. He brings an abundance of expertise and experience through his nearly 30 years of serving in nearly every consulting position in the industry, starting his career as a software engineer with progressively increasing levels of responsibility and span of control. Andy received his BA in Biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.
As President, Zhan "Benjamin" Zhang drives the development of Chaoyang, focusing on growth opportunities by simplifying and enhancing power delivery and audio UI for complex and feature rich electronics through proven innovations. Working towards his vision to integrate power systems onto semiconductor chips, in the pursuit of smaller size and higher efficiency, plus smart audio for enhanced user experience, Benjamin leads a talented, like-minded team at Chaoyang.
Benjamin comes to Chaoyang from ABB Group, a publicly listed company, operating in 100 countries. At ABB, Benjamin was the Asia Pacific Business Leader for its Power Conversion BU. He is credited with developing and executing the business' long term strategy in Asia for sustainable growth, with the main product portfolio on AC-DC and DC-DC power solutions serving telecom, datacom and industrial customers. In his various operating roles, Benjamin always made sure to learn the technology and the market, in addition to having a good grasp of the industrial trend for correct decision-making and business success. His experience with power electronics and international companies makes him invaluable to Chaoyang, combining both a global sales perspective as well a unique China/APAC perspective.
Benjamin graduated from Zhejiang University with both a Bachelor and Master's degree in Power System Automation and Power Electronics. Additionally, in 2012 he graduated with an MBA from Fudan University & BI (Norwegian) Business School.
Dr. Carissa Fonseca is CEO of TheiaNova Ltd. Carissa's depth of experience spans the multi-faceted aspects of developing medical products from R&D to clinical trials, and includes knowledge of the clinical practice landscape, medical education, and regulatory requirements. Coupled with keen insights into the marketing constraints and opportunities, Carissa is well-placed to lead TheiaNova.
After obtaining a PhD in the field of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, Carissa undertook postdoctoral research in medical imaging at UCLA. She embarked on a career in Medical Affairs at GE Healthcare (Pharmaceutical Diagnostics) in the USA. Following, she returned to New Zealand for a Clinical Research and Medical Affairs role at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (Anaesthesia). Most recently, she launched Connex Medtech Ltd, a consultancy helping med-tech start-ups develop and execute their Medical Affairs strategy.
Mark W. Womack is CEO of BioCina. He is long recognized for delivering unprecedented growth and revenue. As CEO for BioCina, he is the driving force behind the company's vision and commercial strategy. Mark is a catalyst for growth, championing a customer-centric business model founded on quality and right-the-first-time delivery on commitments.
Mark has 30 years of experience spanning executive leadership, management consulting and CDMO commercial operations. As CEO of KBI Biopharma and Selexis SA, he achieved a 30% year on year revenue increase in just six months, and he implemented a new commercial strategy that significantly increased deal size and profitability. As CEO and Managing Director of Stelis Biopharma, Mark spearheaded the development and implementation of the infrastructure for a pure-play CDMO. In addition, he oversaw the company’s efforts to build and qualify a state-of-the-art vaccine facility capable of clinical and commercial-scale manufacturing in record time. At AGC Biologics, Mark served as the Chief Business Officer. His extensive experience driving organizational performance improvements garnered nearly a 300% sales increase in just two years. Mark began his career with more than ten years of distinguished service in the U.S. Navy, where he was recognized with many of their highest honors for exceptional leadership.
Mark received a Bachelor of Science in Education from Southern Illinois University and a Master of Science in Organization Development from Chapman University and completed Harvard Business School’s Executive Program in Leading Professional Service Firms.
Dr. Jasna Rakonjac is the President, CSO and Founder of Nanophage Technologies, and the co-inventor of the Biological Nanorod production system. She has assembled a “dream team” composed of five extraordinarily-talented emerging and mid-career scientists who are rapidly converting the bionanorod technology platform into diagnostic applications. Jasna is an Associate Professor in Microbiology and the Head of Microbial Biotechnology laboratory at Massey University in New Zealand. She has mentored over 25 PhD students and postdocs of which most are now active academics and scientists. She is an author of over 70 publications on filamentous bacteriophage, phage display focused on bacterial and archaeal secretome at genomic and metagenomic scale, bacterial physiology, antibacterials, antibiotic resistance and immunology. She is a co-inventor of novel antibacterial combinations, phage display tools and bacterial bioactive proteins.
Prior to joining Massey University, Jasna was a post-doc at the Rockefeller University in New York, and a Scientist at Plant and Food Crown Research Institute in New Zealand. Jasna holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the Rockefeller University, MSc and BSc (Hons) in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from University of Belgrade.
Dr. Jay Short is Co-founder of BioAtla and Co-inventor of the BioAtla's patented Conditionally Active Biologics (CAB) platform. He also cofounded Diversa Corporation (now BASF), a pioneering developer of enzymes, antibodies and biologically active compounds, and served in multiple roles including CEO, President and CTO from 1994 to 2005. He led Diversa's public offering, raising over $200 million, which was the largest biotechnology IPO at that time. Prior to Diversa, Jay served as President of Stratacyte, an antibody engineering company and subsidiary of Stratagene (now Agilent), which together with Scripps Clinic was the first to clone and screen human antibody libraries in E. coli. Jay received his B.A in Chemistry with Honors from Taylor University. At Case Western Reserve University he received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry with additional studies in Macromolecular Science. He is the author of more than 100 publications and is the inventor of over 500 issued patents.
Julie Jones is the Founder and CEO of BioValeo Ltd, a contract research organization (CRO) focused on personalized medicines and immunology-based clinical trial services. Julie is passionate about the clinical research sector and the provision of safe and effective new treatments for patients.
Julie has been in the clinical research sector for over 20 years and has gained broad and diverse experience across the industry. Julie's most notable accomplishments include establishing a GMP facility for personalized oncology therapies, international clinical trial project management and trial portfolio management for pharmaceutical multinationals. In addition, she has created and implemented quality management systems, and led national governance and strategic development activities. She is recognized for industry consultation and development of numerous national templates and guidelines, and Ministerial ethics appointment.
Kent Payne is distinguished as a business operator and leader in the areas of sales, commercial manufacturing, and product development. He has extensive executive experience in M&A as well as successfully running start up, growth and turn around businesses. Ken has demonstrated leadership in both Fortune 500 and Private Equity environments and led Angel investment in PDS Biotechnology (PDSB:NASDAQ). He combines strong business leadership, successful P&L track record, and technical background to strategically lead and grow enterprise value across Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical market segments. He has successfully led the geographic expansion of businesses into Europe, Asia, and South America in addition to the United States. Kent currently serves as CEO for BioDuro-Sundia, an Advent International company, as well as a board member for Goodwin Biotechnologies, a Signet Healthcare company.
Kent earned his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry at Brigham Young University
Dr. Laurence Cooper is Executive Chairman for BIO4T2. As a c-level executive, scientist, physician, entrepreneur, and educator, Laurence has been innovating and leading teams to solve complex and noteworthy problems in cancer, gene therapy and immunotherapy.
His passion for discovering new knowledge and creating life-saving therapies is at the heart of his endeavors. With deep expertise, a pioneering spirit and a caring demeaner, Laurence has had a tremendous impact on others, from research lab to corporate boardroom, to patient bedside.
Currently, Laurence is on the board of Directors for Secure Transfusion Services and CellChorus. Laurence has an MD in Medicine and a PhD in Immunology from Case Western Reserve University.
Dr. Marina Rajič is Founder and CEO of BioViros Ltd., a biotechnology company focused on lentiviral vector manufacturing for cell therapies. Marina’s mission is to play a significant part in bettering the lives of millions around the world by providing viral vectors for clinical trials for life changing cell therapies. She sees New Zealand well suited for producing a high-value product and attracting worldwide talent within biotech.
Marina enjoys connecting with both clients and investors. At Leukocare AG in Munich, she worked as a Senior Business Development Manager. She enjoyed the fast pace and highly dynamic environment where she helped international clients find solutions for their formulation development for their biologic drug products.
Through Massey Ventures and Return On Science, she was involved in science commercialization. Marina thrived in bridging communications and resources between investors and research leaders. Taking innovation out of the labs into the real world is her favorite challenge.
Marina received her PhD in Biochemistry at Massy University where she worked on filamentous phage vaccine development and nanorod-based diagnostic assays. She completed her MSc and BSc (Hons) degrees in Pharmaceutical Engineering at University of Novi Sad.
Matt Hayter is Co-founder and CEO of the cloud-based SaaS platform, Projectworks. Matt's primary role is a mix of the day-to-day management of Projectworks, and driving the company's strategy and aggressive growth plans. In 2020 Matt helped grow the company's annual recurring revenue by 10x and break into multiple new markets.
On any given day you'll find Matt joining sales calls, working with customers, writing marketing copy, designing new product features, and when he's lucky, on the tools cutting code. His primary skills involve bridging the gap between business and technology, holding a degree in business but working for many years as a developer, and a solution architect. Matt's leadership approach is simple; hire great people who share the same vision, and then get out of their way.
Matt holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration with Information Systems and eCommerce from Victoria University of Wellington.
Melanie is the Chief Executive Officer of the FinTech company Soteria NZ. Her passion for leveraging innovative financial solutions to create deep and long-lasting relationships underscores her vision for Soteria. Avid in her journey towards continuous learning, Melanie enjoys leading teams to develop new solutions, especially in high performance environments. She is recognized for her adept problem-solving skills, business acumen, and financial and legal expertise. Melanie is also on the board of Spiderworks Limited (ProjectWorks), a Bridgewest Group portfolio company.
Previously, Melanie was CEO of Bridgewest Finance New Zealand, funding loans in the property sector as well as an active director on four technology/Saas businesses majority owned by Bridgewest Group. She has extensive bank-side leveraged and institutional restructuring experience through her previous roles working across UK/Europe and Asia Pacific. Melanie is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors. Melanie was also admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.
Dr. Nandoun Abeysekera is CEO and Founder of Avasa. Nandoun has always dreamed of working at the intersection of engineering, design and medicine, to invent emergent technologies that safeguard human life and advance the human spirit. Guided by this instinct, he is a Biomedical Engineer turned Clinician and Entrepreneur. He founded Avasa to provide a creative platform to develop novel ideas that address current unmet medical technology needs. The first being the Avasa coupler, a revascularization device to simplify microsurgery and help plastic surgeons restore form and function for patients who are left disfigured from disease and deformity. He maintains the philosophy that the process matters, and every effort should be made to develop technology ethically and sustainably. Nandoun places great importance on establishing a continuity of awareness to these guiding principles, recognizing that living an examined life is integral to this process to maintain balance.
Nandoun is a Registrar with the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, and has a Bachelor of Medicine, a Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB), and a Bachelor of Engineering with 1st Class Honors in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Auckland.
Nataša Zec is CEO at Pontis Technology. Nataša brings energy, creativity and a broad operations background anchored with a law degree, to the innovative software company Pontis Technology. She leverages these skills to spearhead the company's growth and customer centric strategies. With oversight of the company's operations, she maintains stringent quality standards. Nataša's enthusiasm for empowering people and colleagues alike augment her business acumen.
Previously, Nataša was Director of General and Operational Affairs at Serengeti Ltd., where she launched a number of impactful initiatives, including the expansion and formation of Serengeti B.V. in the Netherlands.
Dr. Andi Grant is CEO of BioOra. Andi leads global companies in the development and commercialization of novel medical therapies. She brings a valued skillset, coupling scientific and business acumen with her passion for innovating therapies for the betterment of patients. Her operational and strategic business expertise has been forged through leadership roles at Incyte and Galapagos, as well as CEO and Managing Director of Living Cell Technologies. Andi's solid track record for enabling patient access to highly innovative medical therapies includes demonstrating cost effectiveness and securing reimbursement of High Tech therapies by public payors.
At the heart of Andi's leadership success, is team inspiration. She empowers her team to go beyond the usual. Andi says "Biotech and pharma companies are knowledge businesses and knowledge sits within the heads of everyone around. Look after your people and your people will look after your business."
Andi received a PhD in molecular neurobiology from the University of Cambridge, UK.
Omid Tahernia is CEO of Endura Technologies. He has over 30 years of experience in leading global high technology organizations and businesses providing systems and semiconductor solutions - both in the U.S. and abroad. Prior to Endura, Omid was CEO and Director of Ikanos Communications (NASDAQ: IKAN) which was acquired by Qualcomm in 2015.
Previously, Omid served as President and CEO of Tilera Corporation, as well as Vice President and General Manager of a newly created DSP Division of Xilinx. Prior, Omid spent 21 years at Motorola in both the equipment and semiconductor segments. He held a variety of positions at Motorola including running a nearly $1 billion wireless chipset business in the company's semiconductor unit, as Vice President and General Manager of the Wireless and Mobile Systems Division. Omid holds thirteen U.S. patents, a B.S.E.E. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, and an M.S.E.E. from Georgia Institute of Technology.
Owen Darby is CEO and Founder of Phytrac. Owen is recognized for developing and advancing innovative technology solutions to resolve the growing environmental damaged sustained from industrialization. As a technical consultant for over 15 years, specializing in the roll-out of prototype technology prior to commercialization, he achieved several complex world-first technologies. Throughout his career, Owen has always held close his personal desire to create positive change through inventive solutions. Previously, Owen was a Director and Technical Consultant at Specialists Consultants Limited, and field specialist for Schlumberger.
Saba Samiei is Founder and CEO of MACSO Technologies, an Artificial Intelligence company that makes sensory data, from the edge to the cloud, insightful. She has diverse experience from hands-on coding to leading multi-million dollar transformation projects across several industry segments, including banking, telco and technology. Before founding MACSO, she worked at Microsoft, leveraging her combined business and technical skills to help 30+ Microsoft partners in New Zealand achieve or exceed year on year growth targets and enhance brand recognition.
Saba has invested more than half of her professional life in researching and understanding AI from both an ethical and a technical perspective. She completed her master's degree from Auckland University of Technology with a thesis on The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence. Motivated by her findings, Saba founded Comfort.AI in 2020, an educational platform dedicated to making AI a comfort zone for everyone. In early 2021, she founded MACSO Technologies with the vision to become a pioneering company in ethical and accessible AI.
As a champion for diversity, Saba takes an active role in society to create a more diverse workforce in technology. Her leadership and passion for the community have been recognized via multiple national awards in New Zealand. From mentoring, taking part in conferences, and creating videos that show diversity in action, she doesn’t want to leave any stone unturned when it comes to creating a diverse workforce. Saba’s motto in life is “I’ll find a way or make one!
Dr. Sean Feast is Founder and CEO for Precision Chromatography Limited. The biotech company specializes in 3D printed chromatography columns that will help revolutionize the biological separations industry.
Previously, Sean was an Assistant Lecturer and Teaching Assistant at University of Canterbury, and a manufacturing technician for Thermo Fisher Scientific.
Sean has a PhD in Biotechnology and a bachelor’s degree in Chemical and Process Engineering from University of Canterbury.
Ana Grimal is Executive Business Partner at Bridgewest Group. Her proactive and goal- oriented approach in fast-paced environments is ideally suited for the Bridgewest team. Ana provides guidance in Executive Office administration and international business support functions. She has a broad background in core business functions including Office Administration, Budget & Finance, Contract Review, Quality Assurance & Auditing, and Banking Investigative.
Ana received a bachelor's degree in International Relations with a minor in Criminal Justice from Florida International University. Prior to joining Bridgewest Group Ana worked for Citi in Citi Security and Investigative Services.
Hector is a Staff Accountant at Bridgewest Group. He prepares and maintains financial records for portfolio companies, both domestic and international. In addition to preparing monthly financial reports, Hector maintains loan documents and amortization schedules.
Hector earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Cal State San Marcos.
Ryan Irving is a financial analyst. Ryan supports portfolio companies of Bridgewest Group with financial planning & analysis, budgeting, and forecasting functions. With an optimistic outlook, Ryan is driven to find solutions to complex problems.
Prior to joining Bridgewest Group, Ryan graduated from the University of San Diego with a B.S. in Finance and Real Estate.
Sushil Bhusal is Senior Accountant for Bridgewest Ventures New Zealand. He is a certified Xero Advisor and specializes in New Zealand Taxation and System Development. Sushil oversees the accounting functions for New Zealand's domestic entities and real estate Investment properties. He collaborates with the controller and internal partners across the organization to manage and deliver accurate and timely financial information.
Prior, Sushil worked in various accounting roles. The most recent of which was Management Accountant at Working In, New Zealand. Sushil is currently working towards his credentials for Chartered Accountant (CA).
Samuel Olabanji is a financial analyst at Bridgewest Group. He is responsible for budgeting, planning & analysis functions for portfolio companies, both domestic and International. Samuel has an MBA in Management and Accounting from Ashland University in Ohio. He holds numerous professional certifications including: Chartered Accountant from Nigeria (CA), Certified Project Management Professional (PMP), and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).