Surge Ventures (Surge), a new SaaS venture studio initially targeting the financial services and wealth management industry, announced its launch today with a significant seed investment from Virgo Capital, a global private equity firm. Surge will work on building the next generation of game-changing SaaS companies to tackle emerging compliance risks such as advisor data governance, client privacy obligations management, user entitlement management and holistic Personally Identifiable Information (PII) posture assessments.
Sid Yenamandra, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Surge Ventures said, “As the wealth tech and financial services industry adopts more technologies based in Data and AI and is dealing with an increase in recent data-related enforcement actions from regulators, we identified a serious product innovation gap in the market and a lack of new technologies coming from established tech providers to pro-actively address data compliance risks unique to this industry.”
“We created Surge Ventures to not just provide investment capital but actually build-up and grow multiple start-ups with hands-on operational support from Day 1. Whether it’s helping to design a high-quality product for the wealth management space on an accelerated ‘go-to-market’ timeframe, or recruiting the co-founders and executive team, or making first client introductions, we believe Surge Ventures is filling a major void in the venture investment and wealth landscape today.”
Mr. Yenamandra has a history of successful exits as a Silicon Valley based entrepreneur. Most recently, he was CEO and Founder of Entreda, acquired by K1 Investment Management and Smarsh in 2020. He was the visionary behind Entreda’s award-winning cybersecurity compliance software and worked closely with regulators for years before unveiling its platform to specifically address SEC and FINRA guidance. Before being acquired by Smarsh, Entreda was the #1 provider of cybersecurity compliance software by market share to financial services and wealth management firms. Clients included industry leaders such as Advisor Group, LPL Financial and Kestra. Prior to Entreda, Mr. Yenamandra served as VP of Product and Marketing at venture-funded, Plato Networks, which was acquired by Netlogic and then Broadcom for $4B in 2012. He also led an NSA-funded project at HIFN to build data security technologies to protect US-critical infrastructure.
Virgo Capital, the well-respected software private equity firm, is the founding investor in Surge Ventures and has provided initial seed capital of $10 million. Beyond the seed capital, by partnering with Virgo capital, Surge benefits from decades of SaaS investment, growth and scale experience as well as access to capital to do targeted add-on acquisitions. Founded in 2005 in Austin, Texas, Virgo Capital is focused on investments in software and technology-enabled services companies. Virgo Capital has made 11 platform investments to date plus several add-on acquisitions made by its portfolio companies. Virgo’s investments include leading software companies like Korbyt in the workplace experience space and Zello in the voice-first communication space. Virgo has successfully exited five investments with cumulative exit value of well over $300 million, including the recapitalization of Sayers Technology by Mosaic Capital Partners and the sale of Accruent to TA Associates.
Hemanth Parasuram, co-founder and Managing Partner of Virgo Capital said, “We are excited to provide seed capital for a venture studio platform like Surge Ventures. We have known Sid for years and have followed his career closely. His track record as an entrepreneur and executive is impressive. We recognized that Surge Ventures was developing a new kind of innovation platform and we needed to be a part of it.”
Surge has established an Advisory Board comprised of seasoned executives and influencers from across the FinTech and wealth management sectors. The Board will serve as strategic counselors to Surge’s leadership, as the firm executes its unique vision and growth plans. The inaugural members of the Board include:
- Jason Lish – Chief Security Officer, Lumen Technologies. Mr. Lish has over 25 years of experience in global IT environments and is a prominent information technology executive with demonstrated success in developing secure business-focused services while adhering to regulatory requirements. In his current role at Lumen Technologies, he provides leadership, strategic direction, and oversight for all corporate security functions, including physical security, fraud management, and corporate cybersecurity. Prior to Lumen Technologies, Mr. Lish served as Chief Security, Privacy, and Data Officer at Advisor Group, Chief Information Officer at Alight Solutions and held senior security-oriented leadership positions at Charles Schwab and Honeywell International. He also proudly served in the United States Air Force as a Systems and Intelligence Analyst.
- Larry Roth, CPA, JD – Managing Partner of RLR Strategic Partners a strategic consultancy and M&A advisory firm affiliated with Berkshire Global Advisors. In addition to leading strategic investments on behalf of the firm in closely held wealth management and wealthtech businesses, he also advises senior management teams and boards of directors across the financial services industry. Additionally, Mr. Roth provides comprehensive mergers & acquisitions solutions, delivered in association with Berkshire Global Advisors. Having previously served as CEO of both Advisor Group and Cetera Financial Group – two of the largest independent wealth management firms in the country – Mr. Roth continues to serve as a Board member for multiple public and private wealth management and wealthtech companies. He has structured dozens of value-creating transactions as an investment banker, and has successfully acquired, grown and sold financial services businesses as an entrepreneur and private investor.
- Neil Daswani, PhD- Chief Information Security Officer, QuantumScape and Co-Director, Stanford Advanced Cybersecurity Program. Mr. Daswani has served in a variety of research, development, teaching, and executive roles at Symantec, LifeLock, Twitter, Dasient, Google, NTT DoCoMo USA Labs, Yodlee, and Bellcore. He has been both a security entrepreneur, having co-founded Dasient, which was acquired by Twitter, and has also served as a Chief Information Security Officer at LifeLock and at Symantec’s Consumer Business Unit. Mr. Daswani has dozens of technical articles published in top academic and industry conferences (ACM, IEEE, USENIX, RSA, BlackHat, and OWASP), and he has been granted over a dozen U.S. patents. Neil is also co-author of two security books including Big Breaches: Cybersecurity Lessons For Everyone and Foundations of Security: What Every Programmer Needs To Know.
- Matthew Martin – Senior Vice President and Deputy Chief Information Security Officer, LPL Financial. In this role, Mr. Martin leads LPL’s Advisor Security program, security M&A, nearshore & offshore security, and the business information security officers. A proven executive leader within information security and risk management, he is focused on enabling the business to grow by proactively discovering, monitoring, assessing, and prioritizing risks. Mr. Martin looks to drive accountability, authority, and responsibility for security within organizations, while balancing the need to take on risk through business growth. He has extensive experience leading and implementing various security functions at Fortune 100 financial services organizations. Mr. Martin also holds several Information Security and Risk Management certifications.
- Geoff Moore – CIO, Valmark Financial Group. Mr. Moore has over 25 years of experience in technology and financial services. In his role, Mr. Moore works with ValMark’s multiple lines of business to drive efficiency and help streamline processes through digital innovation. In 2020, the Valmark tech team was awarded runner up for Tech Team of the Year by the Greater Cleveland Partnership, for their innovative internal MyCase platform. Prior to joining Valmark 13 years ago, he held information technology leadership positions at Cohen & Company and Sequoia Financial Group. He was also a managing partner at CyGem, Ltd. Mr. Moore has spoken at numerous industry conferences on topics ranging from cybersecurity to advisor practice management. He is also a regular contributor on LinkedIn.
- John Rostern – Senior Vice President and Global Lead – Cloud & Infrastructure Security Services at NCC Group. Mr. Rostern has more than 40 years of experience in IT and information security, specializing in areas related to governance, risk and controls (GRC). In his role at NCC, a global provider of cyber security and software resilience services, Mr. Rostern is responsible for the Global Cloud Security and GRC practice areas as a member of the global leadership team. His prior roles include leadership positions at Ernst & Young and KPMG US, as well as Jefferson Wells International, Health Management Systems and Coalfire Systems. Over his career, Mr. Rostern’s technical background and expertise has been successfully applied to clients of all sizes in a variety of industries.
“I am extremely excited to be part of the Surge Ventures team given their unique and efficient model of bringing together investment capital, deep industry knowledge, a strong industry advisory network and a smart operations team to offload start-ups to focus on product and clients. The Financial Services and Wealth Management industry needs innovative, yet usable, data governance and compliance solutions and Surge is positioned to bring multiple innovative companies to market that address various facets of the data compliance conundrum,” said Mr. Lish.