Transparency, Quality, Trust, Passion, Gratitude, Fun. A Human-Centered Approach to Leadership and Investing.

Builders was formed to celebrate and support the entrepreneurs, leaders and "builders" that are crafting a better future. We are driven by a shared passion for creating a positive impact in the world. We are experienced operators and entrepreneurs ourselves, and our team has formed to leverage our collective expertise to guide and scale portfolio companies as they seek to address the pressing social and environmental challenges of our time. Last but not least, we share a humble appreciation for the opportunity to build something great together; for the unique chance to help build the next generation of authentic, purpose-driven companies.

General Partners

Tripp Baird

Cofounder & Managing Partner of the Builders Fund, a growth-stage private equity platform investing at the intersection of purpose-driven companies and the opportunity created by the need to solve the significant environmental and social challenges of our time. Tripp is focused on themes of sustainable food & ag, health, climate solutions/resource efficiency, and human elevation; to help fix our broken food system, address the healthcare crisis, decarbonize the economy, use our finite resources more efficiently, and to create a more equitable, sustainable future. Tripp serves on Builders’ Investment Committee and on the Boards of Traditional Medicinals, Urban Remedy, PosiGen, MIXT, and MPOWERD.

Tripp has invested in, secured funding for, and helped develop a number of other successful brands including Sambazon, Manduka, Planet Organic, Pure Organic, Faraday, CytoSport/MuscleMilk, Equator Coffees, BOGS Footwear, and Surftech among numerous others.

He was previously Founding Principal and a General Partner at Partnership Capital Growth (PCG) - a merchant bank focused in the areas of healthy, active and sustainable living. Helped build boutique consumer advisory/investment group from the ground up, leading investments and advising transactions in the areas of active lifestyle/outdoor recreation, sustainable products, wellness, and healthy food/bev. Other companies that Tripp advised and invested in include Anytime Fitness, KIND Bar, thinkthin, Gaiam, Vino Volo, TRX, and Ecover/Method.

Tripp was an associate at North Castle Partners (Equinox, Naked Juice), and a consultant for Bain & Company. He earned dual magna cum laude A.B.s from Harvard University.

Twice a NOLS graduate, Tripp also enjoys surfing and SUP, snowboarding, art/photography/painting, climbing, running distance. He is a certified yoga instructor (RYT 200). With better half, Shana; sons, Cillian & Ewan; pup, Yuki. Tripp is currently based in San Francisco.

Mike Dutton

Mike Dutton is a co-founder and managing partner of Builders and sits on its investment committee. He most recently served as CEO of Dolphin Capital Group, a Utah-based private equity firm investing in emerging growth businesses. Mike has participated in the startup and growth of several companies as an operator. He was the CEO of Winder Farms, building it from a small dairy delivery business to a leading online grocery delivery business with over $40M in revenues. He was also the Executive Chairman of Manduka, one of the world’s leading yoga brands. He also helped build Home Financial Network leading to its successful $220M sale to Sybase. Mike previously co-founded Genus Group which he sold to International Data Group; and Dyad Security, an IT security firm that was acquired by Outpost 24. He previously worked at Accenture and Microsoft. He currently serves on the boards of Winder Farms, Urban Remedy, MPOWERD and Ragnar Events. He received a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and an MBA from Stanford University.

Mike lives at the base of the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, and spends most winter weekends skiing with his wife and 3 kids. He also enjoys mountain and road biking, and is a volunteer ride leader for the Lone Peak High School Mountain Bike team.

Katharine Hawthorne

Katharine is a Vice President with Builders where she is involved in investing, fundraising, and portfolio company management.  While earning her MBA at Berkeley, she served as a Principal on the Haas Sustainable Investment Fund, leading investments in energy efficiency and renewables, sustainable infrastructure and healthcare companies.  Katharine previously worked with Patamar Capital, Citibank, and Tiedemann Advisors, and began her career as a finance and contracts manager at UCSF, where she oversaw a $50 million annual portfolio and negotiated over 30 transactions with federal, corporate, and philanthropic funders in the healthcare and life sciences industry.  She holds a B.S. in physics from Stanford University and an MBA in finance with honors from the University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business.

Based in the SF Bay Area, she can be found commuting on her bicycle, hiking in the hills, catching up on last week’s Economist, or cooking spicy food. 

Amelia Ahl

Amelia is the Director of Impact Management and Measurement at Builders, where she oversees impact reporting, B Corp Certification, and the tracking of key performance indicators across the portfolio. After earning a degree in International Studies and Global Security from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Amelia worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Washington, D.C. and then at the Traditional Medicinals Foundation, where she supported community engagement in the company’s supply chain in Rajasthan, India. Her focus on sustainable and regenerative business models that support the health of people and the planet led her to pursue an MBA in sustainability from Presidio Graduate School. She is also a graduate of Lift Economy’s Next Economy MBA program, which fosters a community of people building systems that benefit all life.

Amelia lives on unceded Huichin Ohlone land in Oakland, CA where she is an avid cook and a proud member of her community garden.

Thomas Knowles

Thomas Knowles joined the Builders Fund in 2016 from our partner, Gratitude Railroad. Like Builders, GRR is an investment partnership created by proven entrepreneurs, operators and investors with a common belief that business and capitalism can be a force for helping solve critical social and environmental issues. Prior to GRR, Thomas led corporate development and strategy for a leading outdoor ecommerce company, Backcountry, and a publicly traded software as a service company, Liveperson (NASDAQ:LPSN). He also spent five years in investing roles with SVB Capital, the venture capital arm of Silicon Valley Bank. Thomas graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Economics. Raised in Seattle and a 10 year stint in San Francisco Bay Area, Thomas now lives in Park City Utah with his wife Jessie and their three children.

About: Quiet vs. loud; beer vs. wine; leading vs. following; Montana vs. California; country music vs. anything else, family vs. friends; rain jacket vs. swim suit, non-fiction vs. fiction

John Ryan

John Ryan manages the accounting and reporting functions of Dolphin Builders LP. He has 30 years of experience in finance and accounting and has specialized in partnerships for the last 20 years, first as manager of financial planning and analysis for Pillsbury Winthrop LLP (one of the country’s largest law firms), then as controller for Genstar Capital. He currently serves as chief financial officer of Genstar Investment Corporation on a part-time basis, and also provides back-office services to other private equity funds and fund managers. His past and present clients include A3 Alliance LLC, Allegiance Capital Equity Partners LLC, American Industrial Partners, BISYS Private Equity Services Inc., Earlybird LLC, Gratitude Management LLC, Partnership Capital Growth LLC, Proof Ventures LLC, Sea Change Management LLC, Silicon Valley Finance Group, and TBL Management LLC. John is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Ann MacDougall

Co-Founder & CEO Dunollie Fund, COO Acumen, President, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Builders Fund Investment Committee

Howard Fischer

Gratitude Railroad Co-Founder; Founder Basso Capital Management; Builders Fund Investment Committee

Eric Jacobson

Gratitude Railroad Co-Founder; Founder Dolphin Capital; Chairman Winder Farms and Ragnar Events; Founder and President Home Financial Network; Builders Fund Investment Committee

Blake Kirby

Founder Chairman of Inovar, Inc., Managing Member, Bandon LLC.

Michael Bush

CEO Three Day Blinds; CEO Anchor Blue Retail Group; CEO Bally North America; COO Movado; Bain & Company

Matt Eggers

Yardi Energy, Tesla Motors; SunRun; Bloom Energy; Genentech; Morgan Stanley

Sami Inkinen

Founder Trulia; Microsoft; McKinsey & Co

Monty Sharma

CEO of Curves and Jenny Craig; Former CEO of Atkins Nutrition; Naked Juice; EAS

Jeremy Latrasse

Co-founder Twitter; Co-founder Message Bus; Heavy Bit; Square; Sightglass Coffee

Steve Kahn

Founder dELiA*s, Inc.; Founder iTurf; Paine Webber

Eleanor Mulvaney & Richard Seamans

CEO, Seamans Capital

Alex Chang

Co-founder One Technologies

Dean Factor

Founder and frmr. CEO of Smashbox Cosmetics

June & Harold Hochberger

Founders of Mrs. Green’s Natural Markets

Howard Wolk

President, Cross Country Group

Kamran Shamsavari

CEO & President, Xandex, Inc.

Peter Miller

Chairman, The Essential Baking Company

Jules Kaufman

Frmr. Chief Legal Officer, Coty, Inc.

Jeffrey Kushner


Mats Lederhausen

Former Chairman Chipotle / MD McDonalds Ventures, Chairman ROTI Mediterranean Grille

Mark Retzloff

Chairman Flock Accelerator; Board Traditional Medicinals, Natural Habitats Grp.; Co-founder The Organic Center; Co-founder/CEO of Aurora Organic, Horizon Organic Dairy, Alfalfa's Market