We support entrepreneurs that boldly reshape mobility.
Chris is a determined company builder, who works tirelessly with founders, management teams, and boards. He believes first in extraordinary people and second in big ideas, bringing the best of both together throughout his career. Chris has been rolling up his sleeves since the very beginning, co-founding Fontinalis over a decade ago to become a world-renowned partner to companies improving mobility and the environment.
Chris has broad interests. He has worked closely with the boards of companies in weather intelligence, microlocation, advanced materials, cargo software, ecommerce delivery, industrial drones, AI, big compute, robotics, additive manufacturing, consumer mobile, social networks, telematics, autonomous vehicles, and digital commerce. Chris currently works with the boards of Carputty, Eva, Highland Electric, SmartKargo, Tomorrow.io, Vecna, Verity, and VulcanForms. Previously, Chris served as a Director of Life360 (IPO) and Synovia Solutions (acquired by CalAmp), and as a Board Observer of nuTonomy (acquired by Delphi/Aptiv) and Parkmobile (acquired by BMW). Chris has also led firm investments in and supported businesses spanning Ridehailing (Lyft), Car Sharing (Turo), and Food Delivery (Postmates). Prior to Fontinalis, Chris worked at LaunchCapital, an early-stage VC firm, and at HPS, a private equity and mezzanine investment business. Before business school, Chris worked at UBS, a large Swiss bank, and Alger, an asset manager focused on growth equity investing.
Chris earned his MBA from Yale and BA from Harvard. Chris works in Boston and is a happy father of three. He loves outdoor activities and the mountains and the societal benefits of Fontinalis investing.
In 2009, Ralph Booth, Bill Ford, and Mark Schulz—along with other founding members of the Fontinalis team—came together with a shared vision to build the preeminent investment firm supporting early-stage mobility startups by leveraging the founders’ vast experience and networks to help these emerging companies on their journey to becoming global leaders.
Ralph Booth has decades of experience investing in, building and scaling companies, specifically in the media, telecom and mobility space. In addition to co-founding Fontinalis Partners, Ralph has served as chairman of Booth American Company (BAC), a private investment firm, and co-founded European Cable Capital Partners with Goldman Sachs, ultimately resulting in the merger of Diamond Cable Communications into NTL (now known as Virgina Media), forming the largest broadband telecommunications provider in the U.K. He is a prior board member in Fontinalis portfolio companies Parkmobile International (acquired by BMW), Synovia Solutions (acquired by CalAmp), Streetline (acquired by Kapsch) and SQLstream (acquired by Guavus). He has also served on the boards of other prominent companies, including Grupo Clarin, S.A., headquartered in Argentina, where he helped develop the digital broadband telecom strategy, resulting in the formation of Cablevision S.A., the majority shareholder of Telecom Argentina.
Ralph is an active member of the Fontinalis investment committee and firm leadership.
Bill Ford has spent his career as a leader in the automotive industry with a deep focus on developing best-in-class products and services that benefit customers and society, while stewarding the company that put the world on wheels into the 21st century and providing tremendous opportunities for its 170,000+ employees. Bill joined Ford Motor Company in 1979 and was elected to the board of directors in 1988 (and has been its chair since 1999). He is known by many for his focused, long-term perspective and his industry leadership in driving innovation in smart vehicles, sustainability, and mobility services—both for Ford Motor Company, as well as the automotive and startup ecosystems broadly. Bill has been involved in volunteer, philanthropic, and business initiatives that serve the City of Detroit and Southeast Michigan, and he championed the acquisition of the iconic Michigan Central building in Detroit’s historic Corktown neighborhood to transform this former railroad station into the centerpiece of a vibrant new campus focused on building the new technologies and businesses of the future. He has also served on other boards of directors, including as a past board member of eBay (2005-2015).
In 2023, Bill Ford stepped down from both the investment committee and any operational roles in Fontinalis Partners as the firm expanded its partnership ranks. He is a proud supporter of the Fontinalis mission and a Founder Emeritus in recognition of his important role in founding the firm.
Mark Schulz provides deep governance and cross-border operational experience to companies in the transportation & manufacturing sectors. Prior to co-founding Fontinalis, he served as the President of International Operations for Ford Motor Company and his responsibilities included running Ford’s international operations (Asia Pacific, Europe, and Africa) as well as running their affiliate companies globally: Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, and Mazda (a business scope of $95 billion in revenue, 40 manufacturing plants, 170,000 employees, and 4.2 million vehicles sold). Mark is a current board member of Fontinalis portfolio company CelLink and a past board member of portfolio companies Parkmobile International (acquired by BMW) and SQLstream (acquired by Guavus). He also serves on the board of PACCAR (NASDAQ: PCAR) and NWTN Inc. (NASDAQ: NWTN), and he is a past board member of companies Dana Incorporated (2008-2018) and Yellow Corporation (2007-2009).
Mark is an active venture partner and continues to serve on the board of Fontinalis portfolio company CelLink.
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 areas as supply chain transformation, enterprise software, data & analytics, digital infrastructure, and AI & automation.
Chris currently serves on the board of directors of two Fontinalis portfolio companies, Chain.io and FreightWaves, and is a board observer for Highland Electric Fleets and Karamba Security. Chris previously served on the board of directors of TransLoc (acquired by Ford Smart Mobility) and as a board observer of Synovia Solutions (acquired by CalAmp). He has also worked closely with many of the firm’s other investments, including Telogis (acquired by Verizon), Postmates (acquired by Uber), and Turo.
Chris is active throughout the venture community and serves on the oversight committee for the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation—a statewide Michigan program that funds translational research at the university level. He is also an active member of the Michigan Venture Capital Association, and 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, transaction advisory, valuation, and a variety of specialty 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 briefly worked on the private 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 a Partner based in Fontinalis’ Detroit office, where he joined the firm as an Associate in 2014. Since then, Dan has become an active member of the investment team, leading or co-leading several of Fontinalis’ investments for which he currently serves as a board observer to, including CelLink, Sibros, Carputty, and ChipFlow. Dan also led Fontinalis’ pre-seed and seed investments in Drivly, and he previously served as a board observer to Ouster (NYSE: OUST) prior to its public listing in early 2021. In addition to his board roles, Dan remains engaged across the broader portfolio, and he has played an active role in the investment and due diligence processes for many of Fontinalis’ portfolio companies from Fund II onward.
Dan is excited by the far-reaching impact that new mobility technologies are already making across countless industries globally, and he enjoys thinking about how transformational technology shifts might impact how the world moves. 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 large but underappreciated opportunities.
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 also holds a 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, three sons, and their dog.
Gabe is drawn to audacious founders, undefined addressable markets, and new 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 Halo Industries and Verity and has led investments in Atomic Semi, Auto Motive Power (AMP), Hgen, Loop, Mitra Chem, Robust.AI, and Unfolded (acquired by Foursquare), in addition to multiple investments still in stealth. Gabe has played a key role in numerous other investments, including working closely with VulcanForms and sourcing Fontinalis’ seed investment in nuTonomy (acquired by Delphi/Aptiv in November 2017).
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, a gap semester at The White House during the Obama administration, and a summer MBA internship with Improbable in London working on large-scale simulation infrastructure.
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 lives with his wife, daughters, and dog in Montclair, NJ.
Amy is dedicated to supporting all stakeholders working at the intersection of policy, finance, and innovation in solving mobility challenges and the climate transition. As a practitioner across both the public and private sectors, Amy seeks to help mold sustainable cities of the future. Amy is an Associate at Fontinalis, and her responsibilities include deal sourcing, due diligence, and founder support across the portfolio.
Prior to joining Fontinalis, Amy was an investor focused on ESG and impact investing from philanthropy to investing across flexible capital solutions at Builders Vision, a Walton family office. Amy helped to identify the appropriate financial tools and impact investment opportunities across environmental awareness, healthy oceans, food and agriculture, and the creative economy. She started her career in principal investing in renewable energy infrastructure at Macquarie’s Green Investment Group and also worked in strategy consulting at EY-Parthenon across sectors such as consumer, non-profit, and industrials. Passionate about working at the forefront of innovation, Amy also has experience defining investment strategy and collaboration at Volvo Cars Tech Fund and Walt Disney Imagineering in R&D.
Amy earned a joint degree in Business Administration and Cinematic Arts from the University of Southern California (USC). She volunteers for the UN World Food Programme, the Asian Development Bank and IRTS, a non-profit bringing diversity and inclusion in media and entertainment. Amy lives in Boston and enjoys discovering new restaurants, sustainable fashion and pursuing creative endeavors from art to film-making.
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.
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. Emily advised cities, companies, and public transportation agencies as Senior Policy Advisor at Nelson\Nygaard, a national transportation consulting firm. She subsequently served as a Senior Manager for Public Policy at Amazon, working on the full scope of public policy issues including zero-emission vehicles, infrastructure, workforce development, and more. Emily now serves as Head of Public Policy at Embark Trucks, a publicly-traded autonomous trucking company.
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.