John Ruffolo update

A brief update on John Ruffolo’s Maverix Private Equity, focusing on some staff turnover.
OPM 3 min read

If you don’t know what Maverix’s investment strategy is, you’re not alone. Typical private equity famously takes control of companies with a commando-style 100-day plan. But Maverix is content to back existing operators. In one case, they backed a roll-up with little operating history and three young founders (Agora Brands). That’s much closer to a venture strategy. This was the originally stated focus at Maverix in a TechCrunch article back in 2021:

Invest in “traditional businesses” that already produce at least $100 million revenue and are using tech to grow but could use an outside investor for the first time to really hit the gas.

I don’t know if the focus has changed, but I guess by calling the firm Maverix, founder John Ruffolo was being transparent. The last deal that Maverix announced was an investment in Miovision in April of last year.

One Managing Partner out

Maverix had a bit of a "bump in the road" in 2023. This news is a few months old, but the third "Managing Partner", who joined Maverix in 2021, has already left. That was Michael Wasserman. (The other Managing Partner Ruffolo recruited, Mark Maybank, is still there.) Wasserman was supposed to have a focus on the healthcare and wellness space. Fortunately, he had retained a role of "Senior Advisor" at his previous employer, the much bigger H.I.G. Capital. He has scrubbed his association with Maverix from LinkedIn, but the Internet never forgets:

The denial of Saint-Peter

To be fair, a similar thing happened to the original Messiah. Wasserman was the key partner involved in Maverix’s bet on Agora Brands, an e-commerce aggregator in 2022. Such aggregators have faced some headwinds lately. The most notable of these, Thrasio filed for bankruptcy last month, under the weight of a $495m debt load. The firm had raised $3.4B. Agora’s co-founder, however, went on a podcast claiming that they’re “in much better shape than most.”

Turnover at Maverix

Founding Partner John Mavriyannakis left Maverix in 2022. Another early partner, Naghar Rahmani left in February. Is there a pattern here? In its short history, you will recall that Maverix has also attracted a lawsuit from erstwhile partner, Chitra Anand. Apparently, Ruffolo’s tenure at OMERS was also marked by some turnover. Apparently, all the following people had the Managing Partner/Managing Director title, all lead deals during their tenure, and all left OMERS Ventures after a couple of years:

Peter Carrescia

Howard Gwin

Kent Thexton

Kevin Kimsa

and the late Derek Smyth

I have not researched all the whys and wherefores of these cases. Maverix has the support of billionaire developer Peter Gilgan, as part of his efforts to diversify away from housing and real estate. He's on the Maverix board of advisors. He's the one to watch.

Some previous pieces on John Ruffolo:

I don’t care for John Ruffolo
The “tech ecosystem” won’t be pleased with this one. Or will they?
I am Ruffolo-ing feathers again
Featuring former OMERS VC honcho John Ruffolo, now of Maverix Private Equity and drive-by smears of Jim Balsillie and Slippery Som.
More from OPM WIRE

John Ruffolo update

A brief update on John Ruffolo’s Maverix Private Equity, focusing on some staff turnover.
OPM 3 min read

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