We support entrepreneurs that boldly reshape mobility.
After decades of building and scaling companies of global significance in the media and telecom space, Ralph has spent the past decade after co-founding Fontinalis building the firm and supporting mobility founders on their own entrepreneurial journeys. He has deep operational, strategic, and board experiences to draw on as startups with global ambitions look to bring emerging technologies to market.
Ralph has served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Booth American Company (BAC), a private investment firm focused on broadband media and telecommunications, and he has built companies in the United States, Europe and South America. He co-founded European Cable Capital Partners with Goldman Sachs, ultimately resulting in Diamond Cable Communications, Plc merging into NTL (AKA: Virgin Media), forming the largest broadband telecommunications provider in the U.K..
Ralph previously served on the boards of three of Fontinalis’ portfolio companies: Parkmobile International (acquired by BMW), Synovia Solutions (acquired by CalAmp), and SQLstream (acquired by Guavus). Additionally, Ralph served for many years on the board of Grupo Clarin, S.A., headquartered in Buenos Aires, Argentina, helping develop their digital Broadband Telecoms strategy, resulting in the formation of Cablevision Holding S.A., the majority shareholder of Telecom Argentina (NYSE: “TEO”), the first Latin American company to build infrastructure for provisioning fully convergent services (Mobile and Fixed Line Telephony, Broadband Cable and Internet). Ralph is a past trustee of The Hotchkiss School, as well as The Henry Ford, a national landmark and American history museum in Dearborn Michigan. He is an active outdoorsman and has been involved with the Valley Floor Preservation initiative in Telluride, Colorado.
Ralph holds an AB degree from Harvard College with a concentration in economics.
Chris is a determined company builder, who works tirelessly with founders, management teams, and the boards of Fontinalis portfolio companies to make them successful. He has been rolling up his sleeves since the very beginning, co-founding Fontinalis over a decade ago. Chris believes first in extraordinary people and second in big ideas, bringing the best of both together throughout his career.
Chris has broad interests and has worked with the boards of companies in weather tech, microlocation, advanced materials, cargo software, industrial drones, industrial robotics, metal additive manufacturing, location based social networks, telematics, autonomous vehicles, and mobile payments. Chris currently serves on the Board of Directors of Tomorrow.io (f/k/a ClimaCell), Humatics, Nano-C, SmartKargo, and Verity Studios and serves as a Board Observer for Vecna Robotics and VulcanForms. Previously, Chris served as a Director of Life360 (IPO in May of 2019) and Synovia Solutions (acquired by CalAmp in April 2019). Chris also served as a Board Observer of nuTonomy (acquired by Delphi/Aptiv in November 2017) and Parkmobile (acquired by BMW Group in January 2018).
Prior to Fontinalis, Chris worked for LaunchCapital, an early stage venture capital firm, where he evaluated and executed early-stage principal investments. Previously, Chris worked at Highbridge Principal Strategies (now known as “HPS”), a multi-billion-dollar private equity and mezzanine investment business. Prior to business school, Chris worked at UBS in New York.
Chris earned his Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Yale School of Management and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University. Chris works in Boston and is a happy father of three. He loves outdoor activities and the mountains and the societal benefits of the Fontinalis investment strategy.
Bill is a lifelong futurist on urban mobility and the environment. As a founding partner of Fontinalis, his vision for Fontinalis is to make it a world-renowned partner of companies dynamically improving these two arenas.
Bill also serves as the Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company. Prior to joining the Board of Directors in 1988, he held positions in manufacturing, sales, marketing, product development and finance. In 1999, he became Chairman of the Board of Directors, and served as chief executive officer from 2001 – 2006. During his tenure as CEO he took the company from a $5.5 billion loss to three straight years of profitability. He also played a critical role in stewarding the company through the 2008-2009 economic crisis and to its resurgence as a market leader.
In 2000, under Bill’s leadership, Ford published its first corporate citizenship report outlining the economic, environmental and social impact of company products and operations around the world. In 2004, he led Ford Motor Company’s efforts to redevelop the Ford Rouge Center, the world’s largest brownfield reclamation project, and transformed it into a model of lean, flexible and environmentally-responsible manufacturing, saving millions of dollars in energy and other costs. Bill championed the Ford Escape Hybrid, the world’s first hybrid-electric sport utility vehicle, and has led efforts advance Ford’s investments in connected, electrified and autonomous vehicles. In 2018, he championed the acquisition of Michigan Central Station which will be the centerpiece of a new mobility innovation district in Detroit’s historic Corktown neighborhood.
Bill’s charitable, volunteer and business efforts are highlighted by his commitment to the city of Detroit. As Vice Chairman of the Detroit Lions football team, he led efforts to build a new, environmentally friendly stadium in Detroit – Ford Field. He is a member of various non-profit and for-profit boards including Business Leaders for Michigan and The Henry Ford, a national landmark and American history museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
Bill holds a Master of Science degree in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University.
Laura started her career off by quickly advancing to become the CFO and Compliance Officer for a diversified broadband cable and telecoms company and then took over those same responsibilities for the parent organization as it evolved into a private equity investment management firm in partnership with Goldman Sachs. She advises companies across the Fontinalis portfolio on operating issues, complex transactions, financial reporting, and governance issues, leveraging her extensive experience.
Since 1994, Laura has served as Executive Vice President and the CFO of Booth American Company (BAC). As CFO, Laura oversaw all finances of BAC’s media and telecommunications holdings and parent company operations. From 1994 to 1998, she managed the financial, operational and accounting responsibilities of BAC’s U.S. Cable Television Division and was responsible for the financial oversight, monetization and divesture of numerous businesses. In 1998-99, Laura managed the process that ultimately led to the successful sale of BAC’s U.S.-based assets for $853 million. After the sale of the US assets, Laura has taken a direct role in formulating monetization strategies for the remaining assets in BAC’s portfolio, including Cablevision Holding S.A., the majority owner of Telecom Argentina. Prior to joining BAC, Laura held similar positions for 12 years at Maclean Hunter, a Canadian cable television and telecommunications company with assets in the U.S.
Laura served on the Board of Directors for Hangar (acquired by AirMap), and as a Board observer for Parkmobile (acquired by BMW) and SQLstream (acquired by Guavus Inc.). In her capacity as CFO for Fontinalis, Laura manages a team of professionals that oversees all aspects of financial reporting, governance and compliance, transaction and legal due diligence and shareholder relations.
Laura earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. She lives in Grosse Ile, Michigan with her husband and son and enjoys cooking, hockey and playing golf.
Chris has spent his career working with both emerging companies and large incumbents in the venture and mobility ecosystems. He is particularly interested in innovators that are reshaping large industries, and he enjoys lending his experience to support founders operating across such themes as supply chain transformation, automation & workforce efficiency, and the future of commerce & trade.
Chris currently serves on the board of directors of two Fontinalis portfolio companies, FreightWaves and Karamba Security, and previously served on the board of directors of TransLoc (acquired by Ford Smart Mobility in 2018) and as a board observer of Synovia Solutions (acquired by CalAmp in 2019). He also worked closely with the firm’s investment in Telogis (acquired by Verizon in 2016).
Chris is active throughout the venture community and serves on the oversight committee for the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation—a statewide program that funds translational research at the university level. He is also an active member of the Michigan Venture Capital Association, of which he currently serves on the membership committee.
Prior to joining Fontinalis in 2011, Chris spent five years at Stout, a leading independent advisory firm that provides investment banking, valuation, dispute consulting, and management consulting services. While at Stout, he served many industrial and automotive clients and played an important role in advising private equity and venture capital clients on a variety of transaction, tax, and financial reporting matters. He also worked on the private equity and venture capital team at the University of Michigan’s investment office.
Chris earned his Bachelor of Business Administration (with distinction) from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and is a CFA charterholder. He lives in Plymouth, Michigan with his wife and son.
Dan is excited by the far-reaching impact that new mobility solutions are already making across countless industries globally, and he has a soft spot for ambitious entrepreneurs who recognize the breadth at which mobility technologies can be applied. As a firm believer that you don’t always have to re-invent the wheel to revolutionize an industry, Dan has an equal appreciation for bold “moonshot” ideas and for finding innovative ways to apply proven technologies to legacy processes and solutions.
Currently, Dan serves as a Board Observer to Ouster and CelLink, but you’ll find him regularly engaged across the broader portfolio (most frequently with Ike and Elementum) and since joining Fontinalis in 2014, Dan has played an active role in the investment and due diligence processes for most of Fontinalis’ portfolio companies.
Previously, Dan spent his early career supporting entrepreneurs and business owners to grow and exit their companies through his role as an investment banker with PMCF. During his time at PMCF, Dan worked primarily with manufacturing companies where he gained an appreciation for building (and moving) physical goods and the importance of staying ahead of the competitive curve by prioritizing robotics, automation, and supply chain initiatives.
Dan is a life-long Michigander, growing up in Metro Detroit and earning his Bachelor of Arts degree from the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University where he was a member of the Honors College. He took a brief hiatus from Michigan, spending a year in Nashville while earning his Master’s degree in Finance from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Business. Dan is an avid golfer and will look for any opportunity to get out on the course, but mostly you’ll find him at home spending time with his wife, son, and their dog.
Gabe is drawn to audacious founders addressing big problems in mobility. This often means working in undefined addressable markets on the frontiers of technology. He is a city nerd, passionate about climate tech, and interested in supporting companies of lasting significance.
He currently serves as a Board Observer of Verity Studios and works closely with a variety of portfolio companies including Humatics, SmartKargo, and VulcanForms. Additionally, he has played a key role in numerous other Fontinalis investments, including sourcing and conducting due diligence for the seed investment in nuTonomy (acquired by Delphi/Aptiv in November 2017).
Prior to re-joining Fontinalis in 2018, Gabe worked at Improbable in London, where he helped bring massive-scale simulation to the gaming, defense, and telecommunications markets. Gabe began his career at Fontinalis in the Detroit office while serving as a Venture for America fellow. His previous professional experiences include time in investment banking and public finance at Citi, as well as a gap semester working in the Domestic Policy Council’s Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation at The White House during the Obama administration.
Gabe earned his Master’s degree in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. Gabe holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Harvard University, where he concentrated in Social Studies and captained the Harvard Men’s Rugby team. He often can be found walking the streets of Cambridge with his dog and wife.
Jake seeks out entrepreneurs building transformative companies that push the boundaries of what is possible to solve complex challenges. He has a desire to empower exceptional founders that build, scale, and enable next-generation technologies that ultimately improve lives and create value in the world around us.
At Fontinalis, Jake takes an active role in identifying and evaluating investment opportunities, in addition to collaborating with and monitoring portfolio companies’ operations, strategies, and capital formation. He is also responsible for leading due diligence and financial modeling efforts, contributing to the firm’s financial reporting and valuation processes, and supporting the team in research.
Jake is also active throughout the venture ecosystem and local community serving as an alumni fellow member of the Michigan Venture Capital Association, a venture advisor to GoingVC—a premier professional development program for entering and advancing careers in the venture and startup world, and is a member of the Partners Committee for Karmanos Cancer Institute where he helps lead capital raising efforts that fund research and innovation to fight cancer.
Prior to joining Fontinalis, Jake was in the investment banking group at William Blair in Chicago where he engaged in numerous sell-side and buy-side M&A, equity, and debt financings across a variety of industries. During his time, he enjoyed working hand-in-hand with management teams, positioning growth-oriented companies to ultimately find attractive investment and exit opportunities. Today, he applies the same thinking and pedigree to help startups navigate the company-building process, emphasizing product and technical innovation through all phases of growth.
Jake earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the Farmer School of Business at Miami University (Ohio). While at Miami, he took leadership positions in investment banking and asset management organizations, in addition to supporting mentorship programs. In his free time, Jake enjoys golf, endurance sports, and intramural leagues such as softball, and values his time most adventuring with family and friends on the lake in up north Michigan.
Mark provides deep cross-border operational, engineering and strategic experience to companies in the transportation & manufacturing sectors.
Prior to Fontinalis, he served as the President of International Operations for Ford Motor Company (Ford Motor). Mark’s responsibilities included running Ford Motor’s international operations (Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa) as well as running their affiliate companies globally: Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Mazda (with an annual business scope of $95 billion in revenue, 40 manufacturing plants, 170,000 employees, 4.2 million vehicles sold through 10,700 dealers). He spent 32 years at Ford Motor in a variety of executive roles, managing or setting-up operations in South America, Turkey, Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa. He also served as Product Development Director of Ford Japan, Director of Corporate Strategy, Plant Manager, as well as a variety of engineering & manufacturing positions.
Mark is widely acknowledged for his negotiating and diplomatic skills. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Fontinalis portfolio company CelLink, as well as for PACCAR Inc. (NASDAQ: PCAR) and Valparaiso University. He is a past board member of SQLstream (acquired by Guavus), Dana Holding Corporation (NYSE: DAN), YRC Worldwide (NASDAQ: YRCW), HP Pelzer Group, the U.S.-China Business Council, the National Bureau of Asian Research, the International Advisory Board for the President of the Republic of the Philippines and a former member of the Board of Governors for MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Mark holds a Master of Science degree in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a Sloan Fellow. He also holds a Master’s degree in Engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master’s degree in Economics from University of Detroit. Mark earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Valparaiso University.
Mei-Wei Cheng brings considerable international executive leadership experience to Fontinalis.
From July 2010 to April 2014, he served as the CEO of Siemens North East Asia and President & CEO of Siemens Ltd., China, where he had full responsibility for all of Siemens’ activities in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mongolia. Prior to joining Siemens, Mei-Wei served as Chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Company (China) Ltd., as well as Corporate Group Vice President of Ford Motor Company. Mr. Cheng also held executive positions at GE, including corporate vice president, regional executive and president of GE Appliance—Asia, and chairman and CEO of GE China Ltd. He began his career at AT&T, where he last served as president of AT&T China.
Mei-Wei currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of LEAR Corporation and NIU Technologies, as well as non-executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of HCP Packaging and INTERPLEX HOLDING. Mr. Cheng previously served on the Board of Directors of Seagate Technology PLC (2013 to 2018) and Diebold, Inc (2009 to 2013). He served as a member of the Magna International’s China Advisory Board (2015 to 2018), Magna Technology Advisory Board (2017 to 2018) and CRH International China Advisory Board (2015 to 2018). He is also a Senior Advisor to ICONIQ Motors and Lumileds.
Mei-Wei is dedicated to the promotion of understanding between China and the world. He was a Vice Chairman of “Committee of 100” and was elected to the Board of Governors of American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham) for several years and was the Vice Chairman of AmCham in 1996. He also served as Advisors to the governments of Shaanxi, Wuhan and Zhengzhou.
Mei-Wei holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering / Operations Research from Cornell University, an MBA from Rutgers University, and he is a graduate of Dartmouth’s Tuck Executive Program and MIT’s Program for Senior Executives.
In addition to his work with Fontinalis, Gabe is Co-Founder and Partner in Cityfi, an Advisory Services Firm that specializes in facilitating complex change in cities with public and private sector clients, often in the technology and mobility sectors and with triple-bottom-line outcomes. Gabe has advised governments and companies worldwide on innovation in cities including Singapore where Gabe has been a visiting fellow for the Centre For Livable Cities, working on creating a “car-lite” city-state.
Gabe is also the former Commissioner of the Chicago and Washington DC Departments of Transportation. In both cities, he revamped technology platforms and government processes while focusing on putting people first on city streets. This included launching two of the first and largest bikeshare systems in the U.S. and building protected bike lanes and better pedestrian infrastructure for vulnerable citizens citywide, as well as facilitating private services like carshare and rideshare that could help each city’s mobility goals. As DOT Chief, he worked to bring a new Riverwalk to Chicago as well as the breathtaking Bloomingdale Trail, 100’s of miles of bike lanes, new policies combined with technology solutions to revamp parking, permitting, and many other arcane government processes. Gabe honed his creativity and leadership skills working in business, including Zipcar, where he served as Vice President, Bikes USA as national Director of Stores and his own electric powered, organic food truck chain, On The Fly.
In 2015, Gabe also published Start-Up City with David Vega-Barachowitz on Island Press, a manifesto on revamping how (and how fast) we innovate in cities and rethinking public-private partnerships with a triple-bottom-line approach as technology shapes a dramatically different future. Gabe sits on the boards of Transit Screen, Carma and Streetsblog, and advises companies including Spin, Numina, Miles and Cabana.
Paul Mascarenas is an experienced automotive executive who has led the development and implementation of the technology strategy and planning activities at a global OEM.
Paul most recently served as the Chief Technical Officer and Vice President of Research and Advanced Engineering at Ford Motor Company. During his 32-year career at Ford, Paul played an instrumental role in the development and launch of many of Ford’s global products, including the F-Series, Explorer, Mustang, Taurus, Fusion, and Focus models. As Chief Technical Officer he led the establishment of the company’s Silicon Valley Research and Innovation Center while playing a central role in developing the company’s next generation mobility strategy. In 2015, Paul was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to the automotive industry.
Currently, Paul is a member of the Board of Directors of BorgWarner, The Shyft Group, ON Semiconductor and US Steel. In addition, he served as the 2019 President of SAE International and the 2014-2016 President of FISITA, two of the world’s leading mobility engineering organizations.
Paul holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of London, King’s College and received an honorary Doctorate degree from Chongqing University in China in 2013.
Kyle Messman joined Fontinalis as a Venture Partner on the heels of leading two successive successful strategic exits as the CFO of enterprise SaaS companies that were built from entrepreneurial roots into very large businesses.
Kyle brings extensive financial and cloud software experience to Fontinalis. Kyle’s most recent leadership role was as the Chief Financial Officer of Velocify, a SaaS based sales acceleration platform acquired by Ellie Mae in November 2017 for $128 million. Prior to that, Kyle was an angel investor and the Chief Financial Officer of Telogis, a prior Fontinalis portfolio company that provided cloud based fleet and mobile resource management solutions to large enterprises, until its acquisition by Verizon (NYSE: VZ) for $900 million in August 2016. Kyle currently serves as Managing Director of South Bay Ventures, a venture capital firm he founded in 2018 to make early-stage investments in cloud technology and business services companies. Additionally, Kyle serves on the Board of Directors of a number of privately held business.
As a Chief Financial Officer of two high growth enterprise SaaS businesses over the past decade, Kyle has led the development of the long-term strategic plans, annual budgets, audits and financings to support company growth in conjunction with overall investor strategy. While at Telogis, he led the process of raising over $200M in equity and debt capital to fund growth and completed six acquisitions prior to the Company’s sale.
Prior to Telogis, he led the corporate financial planning function for a major public semiconductor manufacturer. Kyle previously spent several years as an investment banker focused on mergers and financings in the technology services and software sectors.
Kyle earned a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in Finance from the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University.
Emily Warren brings a wealth of experience in transportation technology policy and shared mobility services to Fontinalis.
After starting her career as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill and advising local governments on public infrastructure finance, Emily joined Lyft on its first day of operations in 2012. During her tenure there, she founded several operational departments and led national teams focused on transportation policy, public transit partnerships, and community engagement as Lyft expanded across all 50 states. Emily later joined Lime, where she founded the central policy and research team as the company scaled its electric scooter service to 100 cities and 15 countries. As Senior Policy Advisor at Nelson\Nygaard, a national transportation consulting firm, Emily now advises cities, companies, and public transportation agencies as they design policies and programs harnessing the benefits of emerging mobility technologies.
Throughout her career, Emily has distinguished herself as a principled advocate for the potential of technology to build more sustainable urban transportation systems. Her lucid policy analysis, deep knowledge of transportation, and commitment to the public interest have allowed her to bridge the often contentious divide between cities and mobility startups, resulting in creative policy solutions and trusted relationships that move the industry forward.
Emily earned a B.A. in Political Science and Gender Studies from the University of California, San Diego and an M.P.A. in Public Finance from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the advisory board of the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies and a board director for the nonprofit Shared Use Mobility Center and Boston’s LivableStreets Alliance.