Applied Real Intelligence (“A.R.I.”), a venture debt investment firm that provides innovative financing solutions to high-growth, VC-backed companies, announced that Jonathan Easton and Wendell Sammons have joined its investment team as Managing Directors.
Commenting on the additions, Zack Ellison, MBA, MS, CFA, CAIA, A.R.I.’s Founder and Managing General Partner, stated, “A.R.I. empowers institutional investors and family offices by providing access to innovation as an asset class while democratizing the availability of capital for founders of early-stage companies. Jonathan and Wendell further strengthen our ability to provide financing solutions to pioneering VC-backed companies in recession-resistant sectors and underserved segments of the startup ecosystem.”
Jonathan Easton, Ph.D. (c), MSM, MFE, CAIA, has more than 15 years of investment experience. He began his career as a consulting actuary, later becoming portfolio manager and acting head of the Japan desk at AMP Asset Management (now Janus Henderson Investors), responsible for $2 billion of assets. Mr. Easton then moved to Schroders in Tokyo as Senior Fund Manager, where he oversaw $35 billion of assets. He founded his own alternative investment firm in 2001, raising $500 million and winning runner-up “Best New Fund” from AsiaHedge magazine. In 2009, Mr. Easton moved to the U.S. and earned master’s degrees in Management, at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Financial Engineering, at UC Berkeley. He is also a Ph.D. (c) in Finance from EDHEC Business School in France. In 2016 he set up the Astana International Exchange, a key national project of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which began operations in 2018, where he continues to serve as Independent Director and Chair of Audit Committee. He is Advisor to the Board of the Global Stock Exchange, a second-generation stock exchange that has pioneered the tokenization, trading, settlement, and custody of securities through blockchain methodologies and proprietary FinTech systems and protocols. Mr. Easton additionally serves on the Ethics and Advocacy Committee of the CFA Institute and is an Executive and Deputy Chair of CAIA in Southern California.
Wendell Sammons, MBA, has over 10 years of investment experience. He is an expert in the lower middle market credit space. His expertise includes business development, origination, underwriting, and relationship and portfolio management. He began his career as a consultant for publicly traded healthcare and biotechnology companies at Thomson Reuters. In 2010, Mr. Sammons became Associate Director of the Global Healthcare Group at UBS Investment Bank, where he worked on IPOs, M&As, spin-offs, debt and equity financings, and sponsor-backed transactions. He then joined Wells Fargo as Principal Relationship Manager, responsible for complete lending cycles across all industries of sub-$200 million revenue companies. Most recently, Mr. Sammons worked at Capital One, where he was responsible for expanding the bank’s commercial footprint in tech-enabled treasury management. Mr. Sammons holds a BA in Economics from Swarthmore College, where he was a McCabe Scholar, and an MBA from Notre Dame, where he received the Frank Potenziani President’s Fellowship.