Diamond’s senior management team has over 100 years of combined experience in the areas of private equity, business development, entrepreneurship, community venture capital, economic development, education and banking. Diamond senior management‘s unique blend of skills, talents and experience will allow the company to effectively execute its mission of investing in and helping grow emerging growth companies. Our advisors have unique experience in managing venture funds, accessing government incentives, and investing capital market matters.
EARL PEEK, CPA FOUNDER & MANAGING PRINCIPAL: Mr. Peek, a CPA, has financed over 200 companies in his career. He is a former banker with a track record of at least 40 financing in seven years of commercial banking and the balance of his financing with a community development corporation (CDC) over a seven year period. Of the approximately 160 financing he managed while with the CDC, more than 70% were to LMI firms and consisted of more than $100 million in financing project cost. He has financed retail, food, real estate, manufacturing, hotel, construction, IT, and various government contracting clients. He managed loan portfolios averaging $30 million with two banks and was responsible for all of the commercial loan business development activities at a $350 million community bank. Mr. Peek syndicated up to $70 million in financing while at these commercial banks. Mr. Peek voted or was an observer on investing $5.5 billion into nearly 400 community banks, CDFIs, Community Banks and Credit Unions, 50 US. States and Territories who created revolving loan funds, venture capital funds, and loan guarantee funds creating over $15 billion in economic impact and access to capital.
Prior to re-launching Diamond Ventures, Mr. Peek was a Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Treasury. Mr. Peek was a voting member on the $1.5 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative and an observer on Investment Committees representing Secretary Geithner and Deputy Assistant Secretary Don Graves, Jr. on the $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF) Investment Committees, respectively. He was also a voting member on the $300 million CDFI Lending Fund. He was appointed to be a voting member on the Director Selection Committee whose role was to appoint board members to TARP bank recipients. Mr. Peek represented the US. Treasury on the Presidential Task Force for Veterans and led the Access to Capital subcommittee and the Appalachian Regional Commission.. His experience and contacts within the Federal Government will be leveraged to assist the Fund’s portfolio companies.
LONNIE SABOOR, PRINCIPAL: Mr. Saboor is one of the South’s leading development financiers. He has funded over 600 businesses in his career, piloted the development of several lending programs in underserved areas in the Southeast, and leveraged more than $500 million in bank financing and public and private capital to create over 10,000 jobs. He served for over 10 years as the president of the SBA local certified development company in Atlanta responsible for administering the SBA 502,503 and 504 program. , Of the approximately 600 businesses in all capacities CDC from 1979 to the present, more than 70% of the financings were to LMI firms and consisted of hundreds of millions of dollars in financing project cost in all aspects of the capital stack.
HUBERTUS (“BERT”) J. VAN DER VAART, PRINCIPAL: Mr. van der Vaart has served as current Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (“SEAF”) with over 25 years with SEAF. Under his leadership, SEAF has significantly increased its capital under management and improved its investment performance. SEAF has over $700MM in AUM and has created more than 25 funds in global markets such as in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East regions. SEAF enjoys a 32+ year track record and has multi-year track records and engagement with the USAID, OPIC, USAID, Soros Groups, European banks and Sovereign welt funds and a host of global and institutional investors both private and public. SEAF, headquartered in Washington, DC, has been recognized globally for socially conscious investing and impact investing.
SEAF has over $700MM in AUM and has created more than 20 funds in global marketers in Europe, Asia, Africa, and other global regions. SEAF enjoys a track record with USAID, PIC, and a host of global and institutional investors both private and public.
INDUSTRY ADVISORY BOARD AND AFFILIATIONS
To help source investments and build enterprise value in their portfolio companies, the Principals have formed an industry advisory board consisting of distinguished executives and community leaders (the “Board of Advisors”). Members of the Board of Advisors bring perspective, operational insight and senior level access to potential customers and suppliers for the Partnership’s portfolio companies. The Board of Advisors will be expanded when the Fund is open for investments by significant limited partners and other value added persons up to nine members.
The Board contains persons who have been widely acclaimed in their fields of endeavor. Mr. Thomas W. Dortch, Jr. led the 100 Black Men of America and is heralded as the Chairman Emeritus. He was reelected as national Chairman in 2017. Mr. Dortch is CEO of his entity which manages minority and disadvantaged programs for the U.S. DOT, City of Atlanta, and numerous government and private entities. He is also Chairman of Fulton-DeKalb Authority which manages and owns Grady Hospital, one of the major hospital authorities in the Southeast. Mr. Dortch has obtained and facilitated billions in minority and disadvantaged business contracting with DOT, Airports, and Transportation.
Dr. Fred Humphries, Sr. is a former member of the board of Wal-Mart and Brinker. He led Florida A&M University for years as President and was much aligned with the national media for recruiting minority leaders in competition with Harvard University. He is a historic and legendary educator and a template for HBCU management in America.
Dr. Dileep Rao is a national columnist for Forbes magazine and writes regularly on entrepreneurship. He is an award-winning instructor from the University of Minnesota. He also now led a clinical staff at Florida International University. He has been a co-manager and former Principal in Diamond. He is a leading business commentator and entrepreneurial instructor and has executed more than 300 financings.
Richard Venegar, a former Principal of Diamond, informally advises Mr. Peek and the Partnership and Diamond from time to time on deal structuring, financial modeling, tactical and strategic advice, and fund advice. While not formally a part of Diamond’s management, Mr. Venegar offers meaningful advice gathered from 40 years of SBIC and fund management that is institutional support for the investment thesis and a private equity track record with returns greater than the top 15% of like funds in their comparable vintage years.
Joel S. Kress is the founder and managing member of Z to A Ventures, LLC, a strategic advisory and consulting firm that focuses principally on assisting alternative asset management firms that are seeking to diversify and expand their capital and investor bases, and a vice president of V&A Capital, a New York-based merchant bank focused on investing in and advising European and U.S. middle-market companies. Mr. Kress was previously a principal and senior managing director for ICON Investments, a $2 billion alternative investment management group that manages and distributes a range of alternative investment products for individual and institutional investors. In that position, Mr. Kress was actively involved in all aspects of the firm’s business, including product development and capital raising, portfolio management and operations, risk management, compliance and investor relations.
Diamond also has a strategic advisory financing relationship with civil rights icon and former U.N. Ambassador, Andrew J. Young and Robin Tanya Watson, CEO of Year Up-Jacksonville and Dr. Satira Streeter, CEO of Ascensions Health Advisors in Washington, D.C.