Chief Executive Officer and Director
Lee Einbinder, our Chief Executive Officer and a Director since inception, has over 30 years’ experience as an M&A and capital markets advisor to financial services and FinTech companies. He is Chief Executive Officer and a Director of FinServ I. Previously, until 2019, Mr. Einbinder was a Vice Chairman at Barclays responsible for senior client relationships across the financial services industry, including banks, specialty finance, financial technology, asset management and financial sponsors. Mr. Einbinder was at Barclays since the acquisition of Lehman Brothers in 2008, and during that time was also co-Head of the Financial Institutions Group and a member of the Investment Banking Operating Committee. Prior to joining Barclays, Mr. Einbinder worked at Lehman Brothers from 1996 to 2008, where he was Head of the Specialty Finance group and founded the Financial Technology group. He previously worked in similar capacities at CS First Boston and Salomon Brothers. Mr. Einbinder is expected to serve as a Director of Katapult upon the closing of the business combination with FinServ I. He received his MBA with Distinction from the Wharton School and his BSE cum laude from Princeton University.
President and Director
Howard Kurz, our President and a Director since inception, has over 30 years’ experience as a successful institutional investor and asset manager. Mr. Kurz was the founder and has been serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Lily Pond Capital Management LLC (“LPCM”), an alternative investment manager headquartered in New York since 2001. Most recently, LPCM was the investment manager of a Private Equity Fund (Lilypad Investors I) which provided early stage operating capital and expertise to an array of alternative investment management firms. Before founding LPCM, from 1997 to 2000, Mr. Kurz was Managing Director and Head of North American Financial Markets at The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc. Additionally, he was responsible globally for Foreign Exchange, Emerging Markets, and principal investments and was a senior member of the division’s Executive Committee. Prior to RBS, Mr. Kurz was a Managing Director at Lehman Brothers where he headed the Multi-Markets Proprietary Trading unit. He is President, Chief Financial Officer and a Director of FinServ I. He received his BA from University of Pennsylvania.
Robert Matza retired as President, Partner and member of the Executive Committee of GoldenTree in 2019 after almost 14 years at the firm. Mr. Matza joined GoldenTree in 2006 and managed GoldenTree’s business management infrastructure, which provides operational support to GoldenTree’s investment products and client franchise. During his time at GoldenTree, Mr. Matza was part of the senior management team that oversaw significant growth in assets under management (from approximately $7 billion to over $30 billion), long only and alternatives (private equity and hedge funds), product lines and personnel. Prior to GoldenTree, Mr. Matza served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Neuberger Berman, Inc., as well as a member of its Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and following its acquisition by Lehman Brothers, a member of Lehman Brothers’ Management and Investment Committees. He joined Neuberger Berman in 1999 as a Principal, and led the team that successfully completed the initial public offering of Neuberger Berman in November of that same year. Between 2000 and 2003, he negotiated and completed several acquisitions and lift outs. In 2003, Mr. Matza negotiated the $2.6 billion sale of the company to Lehman Brothers. Assets under management grew from approximately $55 billion to over $107 billion from the time that Mr. Matza joined Neuberger Berman, until he left at the end of 2005. Mr. Matza’s industry experience prior to 1996 includes 16 years with Lehman Brothers and its predecessor companies, where he last served as Managing Director, Chief Financial Officer and a member of the Operating and Investment Committees. In 1996, he joined Travelers Group as its Treasurer and became Deputy Treasurer of Citigroup after Travelers and Citicorp merged in 1998. While at Citigroup, he served on the Finance, Investment and Merger & Acquisition Committees. He began his professional career at Coopers and Lybrand. Mr. Matza currently serves on the Board of Managers (as well as audit and compensation committees) of AG Artemis Holding LP, the holding company of Advisor Group Inc., a privately owned network of independent broker-dealers that was purchased by a private equity firm for $2.3 billion in 2019. He is also serving as a Senior Advisor to Algorand, a blockchain company focused on the commercialization of the secure blockchain to transact for global institutions. Mr. Matza is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board and the Board of the Center for Institutional Investment Management of the University at Albany’s School of Business. Mr. Matza earned his bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany, his MBA in Finance from New York University and he is a Certified Public Accountant.
David Smilow has over his career managed portfolios of alternative fixed income assets and secured investments, including railcars, real estate securities, and distressed assets. He has also sponsored and been an officer or director of numerous related start-up companies. Mr. Smilow is a founder and partner of ITE Management, which manages roughly $1.5 billion invested in transportation assets. From 2006 to the present, he has been Founder and Managing Partner at D.Aaron Asset Management, a venture capital and angel investing platform. From 2001 to 2011, Mr. Smilow was the Founder and Chairman of Jefferson National Financial (“JNF”), an insurance company offering variable annuity and other retirement products. Mr. Smilow oversaw investment activities and strategic planning for JNF, which is now part of 1st Nationwide. In addition, Mr. Smilow was the Founder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Information Officer of TeleBanc (now E*Trade Bank) from 1989 to 2001. Under his direction, TeleBanc became among the largest Internet banks worldwide before its sale to E*Trade in 1999. Prior to founding TeleBanc, Mr. Smilow was a fixed income portfolio manager and trader at Goldman Sachs and Drexel Burnham Lambert. He has also taught and lectured at Harvard Business School, New York University, and The Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Smilow holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from The Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Val Soranno Keating
Val Soranno Keating has been senior advisor to a number of private equity firms in the U.S. and Europe since 2017 as Chief Executive Officer of Sagamore Group LLC, a private equity consulting firm. From 2009 through 2015, she was a member of the Group Executive Committee and the Chief Executive Officer of Barclaycard, the global payments division of Barclays. Before joining Barclays, Ms. Soranno Keating held a variety of executive positions and was a member of the Global Management Team at American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) from 1993 through 2009 including President, Travelers Cheques & Prepaid Services, Executive Vice President Global Commercial Services, Executive Vice President Global Merchant Services, Emerging Global Businesses & Network Expansion, and Vice President Corporate Strategic Planning. Prior to that, she was a management consultant at AT Kearney, Inc. from 1985 through 1991, and at the Amherst Group Limited from 1991 through 1993. Ms. Soranno Keating has served on a number of boards over the course of her career, including American Express Incentive Services from 2001 through 2007, Travelers Cheques Associates Ltd. from 2002 through 2007, Harbor Payments, Inc. from 2008 through 2009, Barclays Bank of Delaware as Chairman of the Board from 2010 through 2015, Visa Europe from 2011 through 2015, Apexx Fintech Limited from 2017 to 2020, Engage People Inc. since 2018, OneMain Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:OMF) since 2018 and CPI Card Group, Inc. (OTCQX: PMTS) since 2018. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Business Administration from the Lehigh University College of Business.
Michael Vaughan has since 2019 been a Venture Partner at Oak HC/FT, a healthcare and fintech venture capital fund, where his focus is on investing in and advising growth-stage fintech businesses. Previously he served from 2011 to 2019 as Chief Operating Officer at Venmo, a mobile payments system owned by PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) since 2013. As one of Venmo’s earliest employees, he helped lead the company from its Series A funding round in 2011 through two strategic acquisitions. Prior to Venmo, Mr. Vaughan played a pivotal role in growing innovative companies in the wireless space, financial services industry and event ticketing market. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2019, he has served on the board of Stem Disintermedia Inc., an arts royalty and payments platform, and since 2020 he has served on the board of CIBO, an agricultural technology platform.