Meet the Team

 


Paul L. Kessler  - Image

Paul L. Kessler

Founder and Manager

Mr. Kessler is recognized as an active deep value investor, financier, and venture capitalist. He has extensive experience with emerging growth companies, both public and private, which trade below their fundamental value for a variety of reasons. He will lead activist efforts when necessary with both company boards and executives focused on corporate governance and oversight, strategy, and alignment of interests with shareholders. He is well-versed at identifying deep value activist opportunities in a variety of industries including biotechnology, technology, energy, education and consumer products. He has broad experience in operations and finance, actively sourcing and identifying investment opportunities, and negotiating, structuring and re-structuring investment transactions. Mr. Kessler has guided and overseen over 650 investment transactions, whether as lead, co-lead, or syndicate investor, including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, venture capital, private equity, re-structuring and other capital market activities. Mr. Kessler’s vast networks of relationships have consistently provided the Fund with excellent investment opportunities.

His investments have focused on emerging growth public companies, private companies on the path to becoming public, and a select group of distressed companies (acting as either the Stalking Horse bidder or DIP lender).  As an investor he has invested, provided seed capital, and/or founded numerous successful companies including Cheniere Energy, Inc., Iovance Biotherapeutics, Inc., Cantango Oil and Gas Company, The Los Angeles Film School, Allis-Chalmers Energy Inc., Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Octa Therapeutics, Genspera, Inc., Research Solutions, Inc., Wizard World, Inc., Energous Corporation, Tellurian Inc., Bristol Luxury Group, Sugarfina, to name a few.  Additionally, Mr. Kessler co-founded Start Engine, LLC, which at the time of its founding was the largest technology incubator in Los Angeles, having launched over 50 technology companies, and is now a leading equity-based crowdfunding platform. 

Mr. Kessler has been a guest speaker on the subject of financing emerging growth public companies at a variety of forums, including The Pipe's Conference, Los Angeles Venture Association (LAVA), Wall Street Reporter's Pipe Conference, UCLA Anderson School of Management, and Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management.  He has attended courses at various colleges and universities, including Harvard Business School's Executive Education Program and UCLA's Extension Program. Mr. Kessler has passed the Series 65 Uniform Investment Advisor Examination.

Diana Derycz-Kessler - Image

Diana Derycz-Kessler

Co-Founder and Co-Manager

Ms. Derycz-Kessler co-founded BCA with her husband, Mr. Kessler, and acts as Co-Manager of BCA. In her role as Co-Manager, Ms. Derycz-Kessler participates in early-stage discussions and meetings related to potential investment opportunities and advises on complex business or legal issues concerning such opportunities. In addition, Ms. Derycz-Kessler meets with target companies and their management and boards while assisting to identify and secure potential candidates for board seats and executive leadership, and further advises on governance and corporate strategy. Ms. Derycz-Kessler also advises on specific strategies or key issues relating to existing portfolio companies or companies being considered for investment re-allocation.

Ms. Derycz-Kessler’s is an investor with a background in law, business and finance.  Her investments have included energy, biotechnology, technology, education, real estate and consumer products.  As part of these investments, she has assumed active operational roles, including a 17-year tenure as CEO of the media arts college The Los Angeles Film School, and manager of commercial property partnerships.  In February 2019, Ms. Derycz-Kessler became a founding member and director of PiMac Capital Advisors, Inc., a mortgage lending advisory company.  Since October 2019, Ms. Derycz-Kessler has been a member of the board of managers of Bristol Luxury Group LLC and Sugarfina Holdings LLC, the parent companies to Sugarfina USA LLC, a luxury candy retailer.  Currently Ms. Derycz-Kessler is a director of Tellurian, Inc. (NASDAQ: TELL), a natural gas company primed to provide low cost gas globally through production, liquefaction, transport and logistics.  

Ms. Derycz-Kessler’s early career began as a lawyer in the international oil and gas sector, working at the law firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP in New York.  Subsequently she joined Occidental Petroleum Corporation, overseeing legal for its Latin American exploration and production operations.  During 2016-2018, Ms. Derycz-Kessler was a partner in UNESCO’s TeachHer program, a private–public sector partnership bridging the global gender gap in education. Ms. Derycz-Kessler holds a law degree from Harvard Law School and a master’s degree from Stanford University in Latin American Studies.  She obtained her undergraduate “double” degree in History and Latin American Studies from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). 

Diana speaks Spanish fluently. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the State Bar of California and the American Bar Association. Ms. Derycz-Kessler has passed the Series 7, 24, 63 and 66 securities law examinations.

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Scott Kaufman

Institutional Investor in Residency

Scott Kaufman is an institutional investor in residency with Bristol and is a founding member of Barlock Capital Management LLC and Hillair Capital Management LLC.  He has over twenty years of experience investing in private and public companies, trading securities and managing investment portfolios.  He is proficient in investing across multiple levels of a company’s balance sheet--typically negotiating and structuring alternative investment vehicles directly with senior management with a constant focus on principal preservation typically through credit evaluation and asset backed lending while obtaining equity leverage through convertible features and equity kickers. Mr. Kaufman has served as an investment committee member, completing over $1 billion of investments in over 300 companies. He is proficient in all aspects of the development, growth and management of open- and closed-end alternative investment funds investing in both private and publicly traded companies.

Mr. Kaufman has extensive experience leading due diligence teams across multiple sectors, including manufacturing, clean tech, biotech, life sciences, technology, software development, military and defense, and insurance. He has taken numerous activist roles in portfolio companies through board of director representation, step-in interim CEO/CFO, management replacement and oversight, and strategic operational and financial development. Mr. Kaufman has created an exceptionally valuable network by developing and maintaining transaction sourcing relationships with investment banks, investor firms, and other third parties. He has overseen a large variety of management company operations, which has allowed him to establish and maintain relationships with auditors, administrators, prime brokers and other service providers and supervising employees as well.

Prior to Hillair, Mr. Kaufman was a Partner and Managing Director at Midsummer Capital, LLC, which managed a group of investment funds that specialize in the financing of small capitalization public companies through negotiated private placements.  In addition to investor relations and back office management, Mr. Kaufman was the senior portfolio manager responsible for deal sourcing, selection and structuring, due diligence, portfolio management, securities trading and post deal follow up. Prior to Midsummer, he was a senior trader at Knight Capital Group, Inc. Mr. Kaufman was instrumental in building and managing market making and proprietary portfolios based on fundamental and technical analysis.  He gained extensive experience in thinly traded securities in difficult markets on multiple exchanges and execution locations and proficiencies in the use of equity derivatives and hedging techniques to enhance the return of securities and optimize the risk-return profile of portfolios.

Mr. Kaufman received both a BA and a MBA from Columbia University.

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Amy Wang

General Counsel & Chief Operations Officer

Ms. Wang oversees the negotiation, documentation, and closing of investment transactions, monitors compliance with investment terms and securities regulations, supervises portfolio activity and operations, and manages the activity of outside counsel. During her tenure at BCA, Ms. Wang has overseen the negotiation and documentation of over 450 financing transactions utilizing various investment structures and instruments including common stock, preferred stock, convertible debt instruments and warrants.  Ms. Wang has also worked on numerous restructurings, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and private equity financings.

Ms. Wang earned her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and her undergraduate degree in Political Science, with a specialization in Business Administration, from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).  Ms. Wang is a member of the State Bar of California and the American Bar Association (Business Law Division).  Ms. Wang has also passed the Series 65 Uniform Investment Advisor Examination.

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Jason Nguyen

Associate

Mr. Nguyen is responsible for sourcing and analyzing new investment opportunities, performing fund valuations and other portfolio accounting duties, securities trading and portfolio management. Mr. Nguyen graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a Bachelor's Degree in Economics. 

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Sheila A.R. Meredith

Office Manager

Sheila A.R. Meredith supports BCA operations by maintaining accounting and administrative systems.  She supervises office services which include the preparation of company payroll, personnel records and accounting reports.  She implements standards and procedures for offices policies and designs office systems, layouts and equipment procurement and maintenance.  Ms. Meredith is also a California Commissioned Notary Public.  She received her B.A. degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.