Leadership

Brandon Shelton

Managing Partner

“What truly differentiates TFX Capital is the relentless support and durable outcomes we provide to service-driven veteran founders. We know them as entrepreneurs with an innate sense of service that has called them to the innovation ecosystem to solve tough challenges or improve upon existing solutions, in the form of the products and companies they create.”

Brandon Shelton founded TFX Capital (TFX) in 2015 with a fundamental belief that the best entrepreneurs come from those who have served. As the Managing Partner, he leads the firm’s service-driven investment strategy. With a focus on Pre-Series A and Series A B2B technology companies, TFX provides unique and trusted access to companies founded by high-performing, commercially tested former military and national security leaders. As a veteran himself, Brandon brings more than 20 years of military, financial, strategy and operational experience including within high intensity and change environments.

Brandon is a strategy leader, problem solver and relationship builder that inspires his team to achieve great things while providing relentless support to the founders the firm invests in throughout their various stages of growth. Under Brandon’s leadership, TFX’s network-driven support is accelerated through TFX’s network of 50+ advisors and more than 2,500 supporters. In addition to serving in the U.S. Army as a Ranger-qualified Infantry and Intelligence officer, Brandon’s previous roles include senior management positions at financial services firms and consultancies, both on and off Wall Street, where he developed and executed growth, expansion and technology transformation strategies often leveraging military principles. This experience included serving as the Head of Strategy at a multi-billion-dollar company in North America.

Brandon has a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Richmond and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He serves as an Advisory Board member for Veterans Bridge Home and previously served on the Boards of the StreetShares Foundation, National Association of Veteran Serving Organizations, and on the SBA’s Veterans Business Affairs Advisory Council.

INVESTMENTS LED:
• GoodUnited, ProctorFree, Stabilitas, StreetShares, Vemo, Spiffy, Movi, Marani, Rhumbix, CommSafe AI

EXITS:
• Stabilitas (exited to Veritas Capital portfolio company, Board Director role)
• Spiffy (exited via Secondary)

ACTIVE BOARD ROLES:
• GoodUnited (Observer)
• Marani (Observer)
• CommSafe AI (Director)

Kevin Eckert

Partner

“The leadership potential and expertise of veteran entrepreneurs is often undervalued from an investment-perspective. For a VC firm to be founder-focused, it must look beyond a resume or academic credentials. At TFX Capital, we invest in service-driven founders based on character and grit. And we provide value to these founders because we know them – we’re service-driven veteran founders ourselves.”

Kevin Eckert is a partner at TFX Capital (TFX) with more than 25 years of military, investment, finance, strategy and operational experience. A veteran himself, he is responsible for executing the firm’s service-driven investment thesis which provides unique and trusted access to high- performing, commercially tested former military and national security leaders who are founders of pre-series A and series A B2B technology companies. Kevin joined TFX in 2018 following his involvement as a Limited Partner in the firm’s first fund.

As a former Field Artillery Officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, Kevin understands firsthand the unique boldness and courage that powers service-driven founders to turn ideas into products and services that alter the course of society beyond the status-quo. Alongside the TFX team, Kevin is committed to providing these founders with relentless support and believes the best entrepreneurs come from those who have served. Kevin brings an accomplished track record of investment experience to TFX. Prior to joining TFX, he served as Managing Director for Stephens Investments Holdings LLC and Stephens Inc., where over the course of a decade he was responsible for originating, analyzing, and advising on transactions ranging from early-stage opportunities to leveraged buyouts. He began his business career with General Electric’s Corporate Audit Staff program, a global role where he developed and executed strategic corporate initiatives across GE businesses. He then joined GE Capital where, as a Six Sigma Master Black Belt, he led and mentored operational improvement projects and co-founded an insurance business. Following his time with GE, Kevin founded a management consulting firm that served companies and government agencies in the national security sector.

Kevin has a Bachelor of Arts in public policy from the University of Chicago, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and holds the Series 7, 66 and 79 securities licenses. He serves on the Board of Veterans Bridge Home, on the steering committee of Veterans on Wall Street (Charlotte chapter) and is a mentor with Techstar’s Patriot Boot Camp.

EXITS:
• CounterFlowAI (exited to Insights Partners portfolio company, Board Director role)

ACTIVE BOARD ROLES:
• ProctorFree (Director)
• Crowdz (Observer)

INVESTMENTS LED:
• Crowdz, Automated Fruit Scouting, CounterFlowAI, Sayari

Elizabeth O’Brien

Principal and Chief of Staff, TFX Capital

“Our team at TFX Capital believes that the opportunity for venture capital must extend beyond investment dollars, and provides the coaching, networking, and the operational support that propels their service-driven founders towards success. This results in a culture where failures are not planned or accepted, because we go beyond the transactional and leverage a disciplined approach to identify and then relentlessly invest in our founders’ potential with a team-mindset.”

Elizabeth O’Brien is an accomplished, high-energy leader known for increasing productivity, driving and maintaining operational results, and building national partnerships. As the Chief of Staff at TFX Capital, Liz works across both TFX, and its platform investments, to provide operational support and skill development that enables strong investments and robust performance. She is a vital extension of TFX investment operations, and a force multiplier for the firm’s portfolio company founders to help solve problems and navigate uncharted territories.

Before joining TFX Capital, Liz served as CEO of Freedom Learning Group (FLG), a content services provider, backed by Achieve Partners, that is powered by a global remote network of military spouses and veterans. Prior to that experience, Liz served in significant leadership roles as a Senior Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes and as Chairwoman for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs, the first Military Spouse named to the role. Liz also spent over a decade professionally coaching college women’s basketball at the United States Military Academy at West Point, the University of Hawaii, and Hofstra University, her own alma mater.

As a Military Spouse, Liz chairs the state of Virginia Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, sits on the Blue Star Families Advisory Council, and the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network Advisory Council. In addition, she is actively involved with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council, the East Coast Women’s Pro Golf Tour Advisory Council and Tharros Advisory Council.

Liz is a graduate of Hofstra University’s Zarb School of Business and lives outside of Washington D.C. with her active-duty Army spouse and daughters.

Matt Abrams

Venture Partner

“I am incredibly proud to help the team at TFX Capital and those in whom they have invested succeed. It is a privilege to help those who have served others to succeed in their next missions.”

Matt is a technologist, investor, advisor, speaker, and outdoor adventurer who inspires startup founders and C-level executives to think bigger and bolder. His expertise and focus is in: Enterprise Data & Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning, Information Quality & Integrity, Security, and Healthcare. He has spent over 25 years in the Enterprise software industry working across various Government, Healthcare, Startups, Enterprises and Venture Capital Funds and organizations. He has served as a General Partner and Venture Partner at Venture Capital Funds and, as an Operator, has co-founded companies and led product teams, industry standards bodies, and engineers in companies ranging in size from 20 to over 100,000 employees.

Matt is the Co-Founder, VP of Industry Developments & Strategic Advisor at Graphite Health, a health system-led public utility company, focused on transforming digital health care to improve patient outcomes and lower costs. Matt co-founded The Decency Project and SOS Bend. He currently serves as a Venture Partner at Atypical Ventures and TFX Capital and is also on the board of Northwestern’s Master of Science in Analytics (MSiA) program and serves on Georgetown University’s Center on National Security and the Law Innovation, Security, & Governance Task Force.

Matt has served as a guest lecturer at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and holds a BS in Computer Engineering from Northwestern University. He is passionate about “leaving it better than he found it,” and when he’s not immersed in reading, working with entrepreneurs and innovators, or juggling two kids, you can find him traversing the backcountry mountains of Oregon

He is also the TFX Board Director for Automated Fruit.

Brent Blake

Venture Partner

“Many people I have met support the veteran community in spirit and stop there. TFX takes supporting service driven veteran leaders several magnitudes further. Being military veterans ourselves at TFX, we know the qualities of a veteran leader and we believe they have a unique pedigree that will enable them to persevere through start-up challenges and lead successful companies at a greater rate than traditional founders.”

Brent Blake is a military veteran who has an immense passion and respect for veterans. He has consulted with TFX Capital since 2016 before joining as a Venture Partner in 2022. He has more than fifteen years of military, finance, investment, capital markets, fund administration and business consulting experience, with the last eight years in the venture capital ecosystem. Brent’s passion for ESG focused causes and the positive foundation his military experience provided him has led him to work with private and public companies at various business stages across life science, technology, and healthcare industries.

Brent knows firsthand that veterans have an instinct for when to lead and when to be led, utilizing the strengths of their team to be successful. This is why he is passionate about working with service driven veteran leaders.

In addition to this role, Brent is the Founder and Managing Director of Valariti, a concierge consulting firm that focuses on the venture capital ecosystem and is centered around more integrated relationships rather than the traditional service provider model. Brent’s military background has facilitated his success in leadership roles throughout his career.  Prior to starting Valariti, Brent served as the Valuation Director at TMF Global (formerly Venture Back Office) for over seven years where he developed and led a small valuation and consulting practice, working with over 75 investment firms and more than a thousand early-stage companies.

Brent holds a Master of Accounting in enterprise risk management from North Carolina State University and a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from Kent State University where he graduated summa cum laude. He is a member of the CFA Institute, CFA Society NC, AICPA, NACVA, and ncaCPA. He is a licensed CPA in North Carolina and an active CFA Charterholder, holding ABV and CVA valuation credentials.

Abbey Johnson

Director of Operations & Service First Board Member

“We have a daily opportunity to create meaningful connections amongst founders, investors, industry leaders, and supporters. This collective and trusted community unites time and time again to amplify the impact we are able to have on companies in our portfolio.”

Abbey joined TFX in February 2018 after spending several years in San Francisco recruiting senior talent for early stage technology startups. Prior to recruitment and as a military spouse, Abbey spent time in a variety of industries and functional roles including marketing, project management, and sales.

Upon moving to Charlotte, Abbey was immediately drawn to TFX’s mission and leadership; she initially became involved with the firm in late 2017, volunteering to support what has become TFX’s largest annual capstone event.

Abbey earned a B.S. with honors from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

Strategic Advisory Board

Partner, Crosslink Capital

Matt Bigge

Matt Bigge is on the Strategic Advisory Board for TFX Capital, and a partner at Crosslink Capital.

He joined Crosslink in 2016 with a focus on early stage investments in next generation infrastructure, cybersecurity, digital transformation and plausible science fiction. Since 1997 Matt has been starting companies and investing in them. Over the years he has been fortunate enough to work with the founders of companies like Verodin, Arcsight, Meshnetworks and others as they have grown from seed stage to scale. As an operator, Matt was a co-founder of MILCOM Technologies where he led the acquisition and commercialization of over $2B of R&D used to create over ten product companies. He also works with government and private sector leaders in the areas of innovation, information operations and cyber security.

Prior to his business career, Matt served in the U.S. Army with a distinguished record as an Infantry officer and Ranger in the 10th Mountain Division. In his spare time, Matt is a rabid baseball fan and board member of The Honor Foundation, helping Special Operations Veterans transition to the private sector.

Vice President of Corporate Development, Passport

Brian Pope

Brian Pope has 20-plus years experience across investment banking, corporate development and principal investing, and has worked alongside TFX Capital for many years as part of a shared sense of responsibility to support technology entrepreneurs. He now participates on the TFX Capital Strategic Advisory Board.

Brian currently is Vice President of Corporate Development for Passport, a leading software and payments mobility tech platform where he leads strategic partnerships, acquisitions, investments and capital formation activities. Brian previously served as a Managing Director and Investment Committee member within Barings Alternative Investments where he was responsible for oversight of the investment management function for the private equity fund and direct investment program, while also serving as the portfolio manager for the growth equity and venture capital portfolio. Brian also previously founded Silverport, an outsourced corporate development firm serving private markets, and his early career included sell side M&A advisory for founder- and sponsor-owned businesses as well as working as a financial analyst.

Brian earned a Bachelor of Science from North Carolina State University and an M.B.A. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is a member of the CFA Institute. Brian is an active contributor to the venture capital and growth equity ecosystem in Charlotte, NC where he resides with his wife and two children.

Matt graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service,and received an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Co-Founder & Director, Founder's Equity Partners

Rob Ackerman

Rob Ackerman is a Founder and Director of Founders Equity Partners and the Founder of Ackerman Capital Management, and serves on the TFX Capital Strategic Advisory Board.

Rob is an experienced Direct Secondary investor, having invested over $200M across 20+ deals in the past 4 years. Rob has built a reputation as a company and employee focused investor who understands the many nuances of structured secondary transactions and programs. Rob’s experience allows him to engage with companies to build unique liquidity programs focused on delivering strategic value as part of a company's long-term capitalization strategy, while still serving the immediate needs of liquidity at an individual employee level. Rob has worked closely with companies at all stages of development including Lyft, Palantir, SpaceX, and Cylance.

Prior to his career in venture capital, Rob served in the United States Navy in a variety of roles that included, Surface warfare, Intelligence, and Expeditionary Warfare Training. His experience deploying around the world and working with groups from all branches of service, allows him to work with companies and teams from all backgrounds to focus on building a solution that works for all parties. Rob continues to be actively engaged in the veteran community, mentoring and helping fellow service members transition into the technology and investment world. He has a degree in History from the United States Naval Academy as well as a MA in History from Georgetown University.

Entrepreneur in Residence, BMNT; Founder, Defense Investor Network

Heather Richman

Heather Richman is a seasoned corporate development and strategy expert with a longstanding focus on the intersection of national security, technology, and investment. She has a diverse background including time spent on Capitol Hill, at Stanford University, and in the national security innovation sector.

In addition to her role as a Strategic Advisory Board Member for TFX Capital, Heather currently serves as Entrepreneur in Residence for BMNT Partners where she leverages her experience and network to build vibrant ecosystems of entrepreneurs, investors, and experts to rapidly transition impactful, national security/dual-use focused solutions for internal USDOD and Intelligence Community clients. She serves on the board of the Institute for Security + Technology (IST), whose goal is to provide tools and insights for companies and governments to outpace emerging global security threats.

In 2019 she launched the Defense Investor Network in response to rising U.S. investor and family office concerns around foreign direct investment (FDI) in order to determine the effects of such transactions on U.S. national security and create alternative pathways. Also, in 2019, she launched the Family Office Command [FOCOM], a network of family offices and HNWIs who invest urgent and agile capital to build and safeguard the critical capabilities America requires to maintain her global leadership position.

Heather spent 1999-2004 in Washington, D.C., with U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, where she oversaw appropriations, budget, and tax. She helped manage the post-9/11 redevelopment of Lower Manhattan and helped establish the Department of Homeland Security from a funding standpoint. She then managed government relations for Stanford University and outreach strategies for the newly formed Precourt Institute for Energy, which focuses on the intersection of energy and national security.

She was a founding team member of Elemental Excelerator, now the energy arm of Emerson Collective, which was initially funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in 2012. Elemental has leveraged Navy’s initial $36M investment to accelerate 112 portfolio companies and raise more than $2B in private and corporate capital.