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Brandon Shelton

Founder & 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.

• Stabilitas (exited to Veritas Capital portfolio company, Board Director role)
• Spiffy (exited via Secondary)
• StreetShares (acquired by MeridianLink)

• ThinkOrbital (Board Observer)
• GoodUnited (Observer)
• Marani (Board Director)
• CommSafeAI (Director)
• Rhumbix (Observer)
• Crowdz (Board Observer)

Venture Partners

Venture Partner (Cyber Expert)

Rob Bair

TFX invests in Founders that have a proven track record of being successful in challenging and austere environments as demonstrated throughout their military and commercial careers. The TFX team is passionate about providing our founders with the tools and knowledge to leverage the “Mission First, People Always” mindset and ensure their entrepreneurial pursuits are as impactful as when they served.

Rob Bair is a retired Navy officer with experience across a wide range of national security issues. Throughout his 20-year career, he was known as a high energy leader who sought to apply emerging technologies to challenging intelligence and operational problems.

He most recently served on the National Security Council in both the Intelligence and Cybersecurity Directorates. As the Director for Technical Intelligence, he was responsible for advising the National Security Advisor on military, space, telecommunications, cyber, and other emerging technologies. As Director for Cybersecurity and Operations Policy, he developed policy and advised on cyber incident response, mitigation, and defense issues, as well as the military cyber operations portfolio.

Rob previous military assignment include multiple tours at the National Security Agency (NSA), including as a Director’s Fellow; Fleet Cyber Command / U.S. TENTH Fleet as Executive Assistant to the Commander and Cyber Operations Officer; U.S. Cyber Command’s Joint Task Force Ares, to combat ISIS in cyberspace; and was a Secretary of the Navy Tours with Industry Fellow at Splunk. He also served on the national counter-narcotics detection and monitoring Task Force and in Afghanistan with a Joint Special Operations Task Force. He began his career as a submarine officer serving aboard the USS TENNESSEE.

He is currently Executive Director at Team Cymru, a cyber threat intelligence company providing comprehensive insights into malicious internet activity. He also serves as an advisor to several tech startups and large technology companies.

Rob has a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems from Carnegie Mellon University; a Master of Science in Information Systems and Operations from the Naval Postgraduate School; a Master of Science in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University; a Master of Science in Defense Technology and Systems from the National University of Singapore; and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He serves as a board member for the Kaplan Public Service Foundation, providing citizen leaders, opportunities to become more involved with members of the US Military and their missions to bridge a widening gap between the civilian and military communities. He is a former Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations; National Security Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Service Chiefs Fellow at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA); and Cybersecurity Fellow at New America.

Venture Partner (Healthcare Expert)

Matt Abrams

“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.

Venture Partner (Valuations & Structuring Expert)

Brent Blake

“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.

Venture Partner (Cyber Operations Expert)

TJ White

“There is no difference between national security and cyber security. They overlap, intersect, and fully interconnect. Success is hard; defeat is easy. Any firms that connect technology, high integrity awareness and assessment, with cyberspace and defense are strong bets.”

TJ White is a seasoned national security expert with over 30 years of experience in defense and cyber operations. Drawing from a rich military background, he brings a unique blend of cyber planning, operation, strategy, and leadership skills. He has tackled challenges related to rapid acquisition, operational design, and the deployment of technologies, understanding common barriers to organizational adoption and trust in technology.

TJ White refers to himself as a cyber anthropologist, with the goal of bridging the gap between digital information technology and the impact it has on human organizational design and enterprise decision making.

His career highlights include leading joint military formations, commanding at all levels within the Navy and Joint Service, most recently as the Commander, United States Fleet Cyber Command / United States TENTH Fleet / United States Navy Space Command and previously as the Commander, United States Cyber National Mission Force / USCYBERCOM. He is also a former Director of Intelligence for United States Indo-Pacific Command and has served globally in various combat zones and conflict areas supporting competition dynamics.

Venture Partner (Healthcare and AI Expert)

Karl Hightower

“My drive is to be a digital disruptor by pushing AI, innovation, and business transformation while collaborating with all C-level leaders to proactively find solutions to their pain points.”

Karl is a transformational executive and thought leader with a track record of enabling differentiating capabilities in healthcare, retail, big energy, and telecom. With a unique blend of innovation, leadership, and technical acumen, expert in applying data, analytics, and AI to drive transformative change. Karl is a collaborative leader with a demonstrated history of unifying silos to achieve common goals and drive success. Recognized as not just a thought leader in these areas, but as a results-oriented executive that delivers market differentiating tangible results.

What excites you about TFX Capital and their approach?

“I find the mission to be something that is extremely inspiring and being around veterans committed to what they’re doing makes me work that much harder to help them. The aerospace and defense sector are going to be leaned on heavily in upcoming economic times, ThinkOrbital is a very cool and well positioned company for that upcoming economy.”

Where do you see healthcare or AI needs growing with respect to startup solutions?

“The healthcare sector and to a larger extent AI are going to need to focus on how to leverage data best. Companies that can allow for quick understanding and management of that data are greatly needed within these fronts.”

What current industry trends do you find most interesting, concerning or exciting in 2024?

“One of the things I find concerning with ai and with health care, much like the last big hype trend, is over promise and under deliver. With creating ai mechanisms becoming easier sorting out what companies are going to be good long term is becoming more difficult. It takes digging through the products as well as a deep understanding of technology trends and of operation change management tolerances. This also has a flip side of being extremely opportunistic market conditions if people can get it right.”

Venture Partner (Talent Partner)

Cindi Basenspiler

Cindi is a strategic leader with repeated successes in delivering innovative outcomes by leading and coaching individuals, teams and organizations. She has executive-level leadership experience in human resources, organization development, nonprofit, start-up, government, military, academic and manufacturing industries. She is also a US Army veteran, adjunct professor and life-long learner.

What excites you about TFX Capital and their approach?

Having been part of TFX since their inception, I’ve seen the care and mentorship that have gone into every portfolio company leadership team over the past nine years. The advisors and network behind this team have a diverse background from different industries, specialties and company size/maturity … and care deeply about the success of each and every leader we invest in, giving them a higher chance of success in the short and long-term. This is TFX’s special-sauce.

Where do you see Talent needs expanding for early stage, venture-backed startups?

Early-stage companies will need to have a compelling mission, highly capable leaders, solid product/services to attract talent to leave their current, likely more “stable” roles and come hungry, capable and coachable to the start-up organization. Assessment for cultural fit, ensuring employees stay connected to the mission and to each other, infusing the right amount of structure while maintaining a start-up feel will all be critical for success. Determining talent needs for the current and future stages of maturity of each company is also critical.

What current industry trends do you find most interesting, concerning or exciting in 2024?

The rapid expansion of AI tools and determining [proactively] which roles can benefit from and not be distracted by such tools, the increase of rigid return-to-work mandates — and which companies will benefit from their ability to facilitate remote-work, the increase of unionization inside industries previously not affected, compensation transparency and the impact and policies that arise in response to the proliferation of social media reach and deep-fake content, just to name a few.


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.