A Human-Centered Approach to Leadership and Investing.

Our team of experienced operators and entrepreneurs leverages our collective expertise to guide and scale portfolio companies as they seek to address the pressing social and environmental challenges of our time. We believe that great investments are built on the foundation of authentic partnerships, and that we can help drive outstanding returns for all stakeholders by working hand-in-hand to scale the platforms that will lead the future.

Team

Tripp Baird

Katharine Hersh

Mike Dutton

Amelia Ahl

Thomas-Knowles

Thomas Knowles

John Ryan

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Tripp Baird

Tripp Baird is the founder & managing partner of the Builders Fund and sits on its investment committee. He currently also serves on the boards of PosiGen Solar, Traditional Medicinals, Urban Remedy, 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 which did about $1 billion of transactions over the 7.5 years of his tenure. He helped build the boutique consumer advisory/investment group from the ground up, leading investments and advising transactions in the areas of sustainability, active lifestyle/outdoor recreation, health/wellness, and healthy food/bev. Other companies the firm advised and invested in include Anytime Fitness, KIND Bar, New Leaf Paper, thinkthin, Gaiam, Vino Volo, TRX, and Ecover/Method.

His early career included stops at Goldman Sachs (Global Equities Management), North Castle Partners (Equinox, Naked Juice), and as 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, and 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.

Katharine Hersh

Katharine Hersh is a Partner with the Builders Fund. Previously she 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. Katharine currently serves as a Board Director with Acelero Learning and as a Board observer with MPOWERD. 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, Katharine also serves on the investment committee of Kehilla Community Synagogue, and as a board member with Sharp & Fine, a contemporary dance company. She’s an active member of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, an avid hiker, reader of nonfiction, and fan of spicy food.

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.

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

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.

Investment Committee

Tripp Baird

Mike Dutton

Howard Fischer

Eric Jacobsen

Ann MacDougall

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Tripp Baird

Tripp Baird is the founder & managing partner of the Builders Fund and sits on its investment committee. He currently also serves on the boards of PosiGen Solar, Traditional Medicinals, Urban Remedy, 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 which did about $1 billion of transactions over the 7.5 years of his tenure. He helped build the boutique consumer advisory/investment group from the ground up, leading investments and advising transactions in the areas of sustainability, active lifestyle/outdoor recreation, health/wellness, and healthy food/bev. Other companies the firm advised and invested in include Anytime Fitness, KIND Bar, New Leaf Paper, thinkthin, Gaiam, Vino Volo, TRX, and Ecover/Method.

His early career included stops at Goldman Sachs (Global Equities Management), North Castle Partners (Equinox, Naked Juice), and as 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, and 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.

Howard Fischer

Howard is a 1981 graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelors of science degree in accounting and finance. He worked in accounting at Price Waterhouse and Solomon Brothers earning CPA designation before beginning his investment career. He worked at a hedge fund and several brokerage firms including Drexel Burnham and Smith Barney until he founded Basso Capital Management in 1994. Specializing in convertible securities hedging and then later SPAC arbitrage, Howard led the firm as CEO until he left at the end of 2022.

Howard was a fellow and senior fellow at the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University. His studies there led to the formation of Gratitude Railroad, an impact investment business which inspires, educates and catalyzes wealthy individuals, family offices and RIAs to invest in businesses whose product or service benefits the environment and social justice issues.

Howard serves on the boards of The Carbon Underground and 1% for the planet. He is a Steward and the Chief Evangelist at Gratitude Railroad, on the investment committee of The Builders Fund, and advises Bright Edge- the venture capital arm of the American Cancer Society’s endowment.

Howard lives in NY with his wife Randee and is an avid cyclist, skier, snow shoer, hiker and reader.

Eric Jacobsen

Eric serves on the Builders Fund Investment Committee and is co-founder and Conductor of Purpose of Gratitude Railroad. He is also co-founder of Dolphin Capital. Previously, Jacobsen was the founder and CEO of TNT Sound, Vice President of MECA Software, and Founder and President of Home Financial Network. 

Jacobsen chairs the boards of Ragnar Events and Winder Farms. He also sits on the boards of Innovation in Action’s Audacious Institute & Frank Hervey Cook Scholarship. Jacobsen received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and is a graduate of Harvard University’s Advanced Leadership Initiative, the intersection of Compassion and Capitalism.

Ann MacDougall

Ann MacDougall serves on the Builders Fund Investment Committee and is an independent board member and experienced executive. She currently serves on the boards of Opiant Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Atmos XR, Inc. She is the former Chief Operating Officer of Acumen, a global impact investment fund focused on goods and services for low-income customers in East and West Africa, Southeast Asia and South America. Before joining Acumen, Ann had a long career as a manager/lawyer, serving as a partner then Global Deputy General Counsel at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Ann sits on the Audit Committee of the Lycée Français de New York as well as the Advisory Boards of Equality Now and Global Citizen Year. She was recently a Ford Foundation Public Voices Fellow, and is an occasional OpEd contributor. Ann holds a B.A. cum laude from Tufts University, a J.D. cum laude from Brooklyn Law School, and was a 2013 fellow at the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative.

Builders

Mandeep Arora

Nordic Eye Ventures; CFO, iKitchens; CEO & Founder, Cantaloupe Systems

Bill Beecher

Board Director Hivebrite, WhizAI; Vistaar Technologies, i2 Technologies

Michael Bush

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

Alex Chang

Founding Partner difference.vc; Co-founder Undefeated Tribe – Crunch Asian Fitness, One Technologies, Friendzy

Matt Eggers

Breakthrough Energy Ventures; Tesla Motors; SunRun; Bloom Energy; Genentech; Morgan Stanley, PosiGen Board

Dean Factor

Founder and frmr. CEO of Smashbox Cosmetics

Harold Hochberger

Founder & President, Mrs. Green’s Natural Markets

June Hochberger

Founder & President, Mrs. Green’s Natural Markets

Sami Inkinen

Founder Trulia; Microsoft; McKinsey & Co

Steve Kahn

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

Jules Kaufman

Frmr. Chief Legal Officer, Coty, Inc.

Blair Kellison

Former CEO Traditional Medicinals; Sambazon Board; Om Mushroom Board Chair; Gimme Health Board; Urban Remedy Board; Straus Family Creamery Board

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