Experience: The Bedrock of Merida Capital Partners
Our management team has a proven track record of delivering strong returns to our investors. We have over 95 years of combined experience making direct investments and helping to successfully drive value in operating companies. Additionally, our extensive cannabis experience lends us an informational edge in our analysis of the many opportunities we see in the space. Team members have founded cannabis cultivation operations and won licenses in several of the most highly regulated states in the United States. Our investment experience and our direct product knowledge help give Merida Capital Partners an edge in how we drive shareholder value.
Merida's portfolio company investments, along with our involvement in cultivation operations in Connecticut, Nevada and Minnesota, allow us to vet, observe and analyze products under normal market conditions, and to continually evaluate investment opportunities with real-time information. Merida Capital Partners maintains strong relationships with leading companies in the cannabis industry. This provides us with an excellent and ongoing deal flow, and allows us to selectively target our investment opportunities.
Mr. Baruchowitz has nine years of experience in the legal cannabis industry and is considered a national expert in the diverse licensing regimes governing each state. His cannabis career began in assisting Colorado-based legal cultivators to structure state compliant capital transactions and analyzing the legal cannabis market in order to develop an optimal business strategy for their operations. After several years of work with Colorado companies, he co-founded Theraplant, LLC where he architected the highest scoring application in Connecticut’s highly selective licensing process. In 2014, he cofounded LeafLine Labs, LLC, which was one of only two Minnesota companies to win a license to cultivate and dispense cannabis in extracted form. Mr. Baruchowitz has also founded Laurel Harvest Labs, a Pennsylvania state-approved clinical registrant holding both a medical marijuana grower/processor and dispensary permit in conjucntion with its contracted research partner, along with its contracted academic clinical research partner, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University.
Overall, Mr. Baruchowitz has approximately 20 years of experience in the legal and finance fields. He is the former Associate General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of publicly traded MarketAxess. He was also the General Counsel of investment banking boutique Pali Capital, which had revenues of nearly $200 million and 200 employees when he was appointed in late 2009 by the Board to lead the restructuring and wind-down of the company. Since 2010, he has led numerous public and private offerings, assisted in the formation and funding of several credit funds and a $60 million REIT while the Head of Investment Banking of ACGM, Inc. and at Cavu Securities.
Mr. Baruchowitz is a graduate of Brandeis University and Boston University School of Law. He is a member of the New York and Massachusetts Bars and formerly held FINRA 7, 24, 63 and 79 licenses. He currently sits on the Boards of New Frontier Data and Manna Molecular Sciences.
Mr. Gibbs is a former Principal of Palace Investment Company LLC. Mr. Gibbs has over 10 years successfully managing the internal operations for a wide range of development and finance companies. As a Principal at Palace, he managed acquisition analysis, due diligence and transaction execution, capital raises and investor relations for new assets as well as management and disposition of existing assets.
Mr. Gibbs has acquired a tremendous wealth of regulatory experience in complex areas of real estate as a principal at a land development company in the Washington D.C. area. His responsibilities included land acquisition, obtaining entitlement approvals from the appropriate local, state and federal planning agencies, obtaining financing for acquisition and development and negotiating purchase contracts with builders. Mr. Gibbs has developed a deep expertise in cannabis-related regulatory affairs and operations through his work with Greenfield and Peak Harvest Health.
Mr. Gibbs is a graduate of Old Dominion University. He played professional baseball for ten years with the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.
Mr. Goldburg has specialized in credit investing for the past 25 years, managing proprietary investment portfolios at leading Wall Street firms and hedge funds. Before joining Merida, he founded Battlebourne Capital, a cross-capital structure investment firm, in January 2016. Prior to Battlebourne, Mr. Goldburg served as the senior member of the New York office of Silver Rock Financial, Michael Milken’s family office, since its inception in 2010 until his departure in January 2016. In September 2009, Mr. Goldburg formed Garnet Financial, a $200 million special situation credit vehicle funded by the Milken family. He was the portfolio manager of Garnet until it was merged into Silver Rock at the end of 2010.
Previously, Mr. Goldburg was a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs in the Bank Loan Distressed Investing Group, where he became responsible for managing a $1.0+ billion proprietary investment portfolio. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, he had senior responsibility managing distressed credit portfolios at Oak Hill Advisors, Morgan Stanley, and Bear Stearns. Mr. Goldburg began his career as an analyst in the mergers and acquisitions group at the First Boston Corporation, received a B.A. in History from Brown University and is a Harry S. Truman Scholar.
Mr. Monat has been investing in cannabis since 2013, starting with an investment in Theraplant, where he originally backed Mitch Baruchowitz's licensing efforts. He has been an investment professional for over 15 years, beginning his career in the Mergers and Acquisitions department of Goldman Sachs. He then worked in the Goldman Sachs Principal Strategies Group, analyzing public-market opportunities for the firm's proprietary investment fund. Since Goldman, Mr. Monat served in an analyst role at Rockbay Capital, where he was a partner that helped grow the firm to $1 billion in AUM, and FrontPoint Rockbay, an event-driven hedge fund in New York. He served as a Senior Analyst at Seven Locks Capital, a long/short equity hedge fund and was a Senior Analyst at Sage Rock Capital, an event-driven hedge fund based in New York. Mr. Monat has a Bachelor of Science in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
President | Partner
Ms. Mellet oversees the day to day flow of communication with Merida’s portfolio companies, investors and consultants. Prior to joining Merida in 2017, Ms. Mellet helped launch Seawolf Capital, LLC, a long/short equity fund based in New York City, where she served as the Investment Relations Manager and eventually as the fund’s Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining Seawolf, Ms. Mellet was an Associate in Operations at FrontPoint Partners from 2006 to 2011. Ms. Mellet graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and Political Science from St. Joseph’s University in 1999 and received a Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies from the New School for Social Research in 2006.
Mr. Mishrikey joined Merida as a Director in September of 2018 and is responsible for deal sourcing, due diligence, portfolio analysis and management. He also serves as an advisor to a national digital convenience retailer. Prior to joining Merida, he co-founded and served as CFO of Philagrow, a Pennsylvania-based medical marijuana company. Mr. Mishrikey spent the bulk of his career doing Investment Banking advisory work. He worked at Deutsche Bank from 2006 to 2017, most recently as a Director in the Debt Capital Markets division of the Investment Bank. He was responsible for providing financial risk solutions for corporate clients, particularly those in the financial, transportation, and project finance sectors, and he led Deutsche Bank’s North American structured finance derivatives business. Prior to joining Deutsche, Mr. Mishrikey was a member of the Derivatives Solutions Group at Citigroup from 2003 to 2006. He started his banking career in San Francisco where he structured and executed initial public offerings and mergers and acquisitions, both for technology companies at Prudential Volpe and the financial services sector at Putnam Lovell NBF. Mr. Mishrikey obtained a B.S. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a Finance concentration. He is a CFA® charterholder as well as a CPA candidate (exams passed, licensure in process).
Mr. Fickle is an entrepreneur with extensive capital markets experience in the technology and consumer goods verticals. He helped found California’s largest cannabis consumer products companies as a founding investor in CannaRoyalty (CSE:OH). Mr. Fickle has invested in and helped build over 10 public companies with over $400 million dollars of equity capital invested in those companies. His depth of knowledge extends to the beverage industry as a founding investor in one of America's fastest-growing healthy beverage companies Nasdaq-listed New Age Beverages (NBEV), and a founding investor in several technology companies including Nasdaq-listed Akoustis Technologies (AKTS) and IT/automation business nDivision (NDVN).
Mr. Lubotta leads Merida’s Canadian efforts from its Toronto office. He brings 25 years of entrepreneurial, private equity, venture capital and corporate finance experience to Merida. He has been active in several financings and M&A transactions as a principal, advisor and/or a board member in the cannabis industry, including such companies as Green Therapeutics, Nutritional High, Green Rush, Emerald Family Farms, Bona Vida and Xanthic Biopharma Inc., which was recently purchased by Green Growth Brands. Mr. Lubotta has also been a founder, active investor and advisor in other industries, including hotels/resorts, media and entertainment, real estate, wellness, United States legalized sports gambling as well as the alcohol/beverage industry. He is active in philanthropy and holds an MBA from Northwestern Kellogg School of Management.
Mr. Gerard is the lead analyst on the investment team. He screens potential transactions by evaluating strategic opportunities and performing investment due diligence and financial analysis. Prior to joining Merida, he was an Associate at Greensill, a leading global provider of working capital and structured finance. Mr. Gerard was part of the first Analyst class at Greensill and directly supported several Directors and Managing Directors as Greensill grew from 50 to over 200 people. Just before his departure, Greensill received an investment from General Atlantic valuing the business over $1bn. Mr. Gerard is a graduate of Haverford College, where he studied Economics and Political Science. He is a CFA Level II candidate.
Director of Investor Relations
Mr. Glynn is responsible for institutional capital raising and managing the Fund’s investor relations. He has over 25 years of experience on Wall Street on both the trading desk and in sales to family offices, hedge funds and institutions. Most recently, Mr. Glynn launched the Sponsorship and Events division for Family Office Networks, overseeing over 70 events per year and effectively raising millions of dollars for private equity funds and operating companies. Prior to his tenure on Wall Street, Mr. Glynn spearheaded the Business Development office of the Live Event entertainment space working alongside Sony, Dreamer Media and the Araca Group. Mr. Glynn is a member of the NYC Board of Alzheimer’s Association and actively involved with the Preservation Hall Foundation and Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Mr. Glynn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Tulane University.
Director of Relationship Management
Mr. Swartz is responsible for institutional capital raising and managing the Fund’s investor relations, focusing on client relationship management and assists with state-licensing projects and the Fund’s marketing efforts. Mr. Swartz has an extensive background in investment management, finance and banking including 14 years in the financial services industry. He most recently served as a Vice President and Portfolio Advisor at F.N.B. Wealth Management where he was responsible for assets under management of approximately $200 million. Prior to his tenure with F.N.B. Corporation, Mr. Swartz served at several other large financial institutions, including PNC Wealth Management, PNC Bank, Federated Investors and Smith Barney Citigroup. Mr. Swartz graduated cum laude from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA with a B.S. in Business Administration in Finance and Investment Management. He also holds an M.S. in Accountancy from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA.
Senior Operating Partner
Mr. Harrison is Chairman Emeritus of the Diversified Agency Services (DAS) division of Omnicom Group Inc., having served as its President, then Chairman and CEO. During his 17-year tenure, DAS became the world’s largest holding company of innovative, entrepreneur-led marketing services companies, including national advertising agencies, specialist PR companies, crisis management, branding/design, sales promotion/CRM, talent procurement, and highly strategic, clinically-focused companies competing in the healthcare/wellness industry sectors. Mr. Harrison co-founded The Harrison & Star Business Group, comprised of companies in the healthcare, wellness, medical education, and healthcare public relations industries, representing many of the largest and most well-known pharmaceutical companies and biotech companies. He currently serves on a number of prestigious boards including the Montefiore Health System and Madison Logic, and previously served on the board of Zynerba Pharmaceuticals and as a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and member of The New York Academy of Sciences. Mr. Harrison is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and has received an Honorary Doctorate from West Virginia University where he earned a graduate degree in cell biology and physiology. He is the author of "INSTINCT, Tapping Your Entrepreneurial DNA to Achieve Your Business Goals." and is a contributor to Chief Executive and Corporate Board Member magazines.
Senior Operating Partner
Ms. Galassini brings more than 20 years of pharmacy benefit management, payor insights and pharmaceutical manufacturer strategies and solutions experience to Merida. Throughout the nearly two decades she spent at Medco Health Solutions, Inc., which was acquired for $29B by Express Scripts in 2011, she served in a number of roles within the organization, including as the company’s Pharmaceutical Strategies & Solutions Senior Vice President, Government & Labor Senior Vice President and the Central Region Vice President of Sales. Additionally, Ms. Galassini served as the CEO of Leafline Labs, one of only two medical cannabis vertical operators licensed in the state of Minnesota. She holds a B.S. in Speech Communication and Rhetoric from the University of Illinois.
Mr. Kelley has nearly 20 years of experience in finance, operations, management consulting and technology. Currently, he serves on the Boards of LeafLine Labs, one of two licensed producers and distributors of medical cannabis in Minnesota; Haze Delivery, a cannabis delivery and wholesale market platform; and Inlight Trading, an application providing stock trading mentorship and education. Mr. Kelley is also a member of the editorial board of Cannabis Dispensary Magazine and the Cannabis Business Times Conference. He is a frequent contributor and speaker to both. Prior to Merida, Mr. Kelley served as the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer at LeafLine Labs. Additionally, he has held management roles at Dun & Bradstreet, Investors Bank & Trust, Wind River Capital Management, and Fresenius Medical Care. He has consulted to the SAP Business Incubator and the Civilian Research & Development Fund. Mr. Kelley earned his BSBA in Management and Finance from Bryant University in Rhode Island.
Mr. Bartlett has specialized in commercial and capital markets, agriculture finance, beverage M&A and global wine & spirits operations for the past 15 years. Prior to joining Merida, he co-founded Garden Society, a boutique Sonoma County, CA-based cannabis company distributed throughout California and featured in Forbes, LA Times, NPR, Metro and ESPN. Mr. Bartlett brings extensive knowledge in brand and operations management in early-stage CPG as well as managing global logistics and supply chain for Costco’s Kirkland Wine & Spirits and several multi-nationally distributed Napa, Sonoma and California premium & luxury wine brands. Prior to his roles in operations; Matthew established the Wine Division for Bank of Marin (NASDAQ: BMRC), was Vice President at American AgCredit, a part of the National Farm Credit System, and was a VP and Regional Manager in Capital Markets Finance for HSBC. He is a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Sonoma State University.