FOUNDER & CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER
Mitch founded Treetops in 2008 out of a desire to help catalyze small businesses to success. He runs Treetops' fund management businesses in sustainable agriculture and aquaculture. He is also responsible for Treetops' co-management of the Gawa Microfinance Fund, which invests in rural and agricultural focused microfinance and SME focused financial institutions across the developing world. Prior to founding Treetops Capital, Mitch was Managing Director in the structured finance group at Bank of America's investment bank in London. He then joined Credit Suisse in New York where he ran global syndicate and a multi-billion dollar trading book. Mitch earned a Master from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and a B.S. from the State University of New York at Binghamton. More recently, Mitch served as an advisor at the 2015 Fish 2.0 conference in San Francisco, where he helped select and pool viable, impact-oriented seafood businesses for investors to consider for investment. He moved to Maine in 2010 and lives in Cape Elizabeth with his wife, two children and their dog Skylar.
Nick has over 25 years of experience in the aquaculture business, both in the commercial sector and in R&D. He earned his Masters and PhD in Aquaculture at the University of Stirling, Institute of Aquaculture in Scotland. His commercial production experience includes rainbow trout, European turbot and Atlantic halibut in the UK, Canada, and the US. Nick was the Director of the University of Maine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research 2001-2014. The CCAR is both a business incubation facility and a center for applied aquaculture research, development and demonstration. Projects at CCAR included land-based halibut aquaculture, cod farming, sea urchin farming, polychaete worm production, seaweed culture and integrated aquaculture systems. Nick has designed and overseen construction of many of the facilities at the CCAR including the 24,000 SF marine hatchery building and over 40 purpose built marine recirculation systems for a wide variety of invertebrate and vertebrate species from egg through market size. Nick also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board.
Based in Romania, George oversees management at the investee level and is focused on developing and implementing Treetops Capital's agribusiness strategy. Prior to joining Treetops Capital, George was the Deputy CEO at Banca Commerciala Carpatica. He oversaw lending, portfolio monitoring, and loan work-out, while also creating new agricultural and equipment financing products. He has held management positions at a number of financial institutions during his career, including Head of Corporate Sales at Millenium Bank Romania, Bucharest Regional Manager for Bancpost and Regional Head of Credit at Banca Transilvania. He also founded a consulting firm which provided banking and accounting consultancy services to the Romanian financial community. George is currently the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Banca Romana de Credite si Investitii. He holds an MBA magma cum laude from the Canadian-Romanian MBA Program endorsed by Ottawa University and HEC Montreal with a Specialization in Finance. He also attended the Agricultural Institute Bucharest and Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest. He lives in Bucharest with his wife.
DIRECTOR, ALGAE & SHELLFISH
Born and raised in Maine, Tollef says he has salt water in his blood. After stints as a commercial fisherman, captain of international marine salvage expeditions, and seafood restaurant owner, Olson entered the world of aquaculture in 1994, conducting site surveys for aquaculture operations along the Maine coast. Concerned by his observations of rapidly declining populations of sea urchins and mollusks due to over-fishing, Tollef founded Aqua Farms, LLC in 1998 to cultivate rope grown mussels utilizing technology adapted from European aqua farms. Over the course of many years he witnessed the dramatic increase in overseas cultivation and consumption of edible seaweed and recognized the opportunity for cultivated seaweed in North America. He is now working on his second Maine seaweed cultivation venture, Ocean's Balance, through which he aims to get seaweed on the plates of consumers throughout the continent. Tollef, his mussels and cultivated seaweed have been variously featured on Martha’s Stewart’s TV show, The Food Channel with Alton Brown’s Good Eats, and written about in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Seafood Source, The Japan Times, NBC's Today, Gastropod, and Maine Magazine. Olson is also a partner and staff member at the Macroalgae Nursery and Research Cluster in the University of New England's Marine Science Center.
PORTFOLIO COMPANY ADVISOR
John is a value creator in entrepreneurial environments for companies at growth stage or inflection points, focusing in niche market and limited-entry sectors. He creates value through capital, market and operational strategies. John's principal-based initiatives are primarily in partnerships between entrepreneurial and institutional capital – both as a principal or senior officer of the owner and as asset manager of private equity funds. John was the CEO of a $30 million development company, and co-founder of a $125 million senior housing portfolio. He has had bottom-line performance responsibility for dozens of initiatives as well as several vertically-integrated operating companies.
DIRECTOR, MARKETING & INVESTOR RELATIONS
Lisa has close to 20 years of experience working with investment funds and financial institutions. She was a Vice President at BNY Mellon in New York and Paris where she managed complex relationships with large clients. She was recruited by a hedge fund administrator when she moved to Maine, and managed client and external vendor relationships. She joined Treetops in 2015 to work on the aquaculture side of the business, which combines perfectly her love of the Maine coast with her natural people skills. She is a board member of the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project and provides volunteer interpretation services for asylum seekers. Lisa earned a Master in International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and a B.S in Economics and French from Lehigh University. She lives in Portland with her husband, daughter and their cat Chaussette.
Dragos Vranceanu is a partner in Treetops Capital, based in Bucharest, Romania and manages the Romanian operations. He is also a founding partner and currently leads RPF Development, the Romanian sister company of Treetops Capital that invests and develops green affordable to middle income housing. Dragos has spent his entire career working and investing in Romania. Prior to founding Treetops Capital and RPF Development, Dragos founded 1112 DNA, Inc, which invested in Romanian SMEs in a variety of industries. Dragos holds a Master's degree in Economics from the University of Bucharest and a Bachelor's degree from University of Massachusetts Amherst. He lives in Bucharest with his family.
DIRECTOR, FINANCE & ACCOUNTING
Mike has more than 25 years of experience in accounting and financial management of manufacturing and distribution-based enterprises including the nationally recognized Barber Foods, as well as Native Maine Produce and Specialty Foods. He has been instrumental in building infrastructure for rapidly growing organizations that operate in highly competitive, evolving business environments. His efforts focus on identifying and quantifying sustainable, value-added opportunities and their implementation. His expertise is focused in financial and operations analysis, business processes, information systems and controls. At Treetops, Mike manages financial reporting and monitoring for the fund management business. He also oversees reporting and analysis associated with Treetops' co-management of the Gawa Microfinance Fund. Mike earned an M.B.A. and a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Southern Maine. He resides in Portland with his wife.