On naming my fund “Orchard Capital”
I named my venture capital fund “Orchard” after an afternoon spent trying to convince an amazing apple-grower to accept financing from me. This entrepreneur was a delightful man who grew lots of apples, but he had also developed the property into an entertainment destination (great activities for kids) and an equally enviable retail operation (it seems you can make almost any food item using apples as the base). He had an obvious affection for his apple trees, and while walking through the trees together, he said: “You know, we take good care of these trees, pruning, fertilizing, watering, and watching out for pests and disease, and if you are careful, it is amazing how much fruit each tree will give us, year after year”.
I thought: “That’s exactly the way I think about companies. Nurturing opportunities, managing risk, encouraging management, making sure they have enough capital, and adding new people with great ideas.” The name Orchard seemed to fit well.
The Investors in Orchard Capital
The investors in Orchard are a unique group. All the investors currently are, or have recently been, Presidents of companies with revenues between $10-250 million. All the investors are very active in various businesses have been investors in many other venture capital and private equity deals. The backgrounds of the investors is provided below:
George Butterfield: George Butterfield is the founder and CEO of Butterfield & Robinson, an active travel company which operates luxury biking and walking tours around the world. Mr. Butterfield is also Homorary Chairman of Butterfield & Vallis, a food distribution company in Bermuda and a past President of The Canadian Club.
James Butterfield: James Butterfield is President & CEO of Butterfield & Vallis, the largest food distribution company in Bermuda, and the Hamilton Warehouse Company. Mr. Butterfield is a director of several other Bermuda companies including Bermuda Electric Company, the electrical utility. Mr. Butterfield represented Bermuda in rowing in the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
Michael de Pencier: Michael de Pencier is CEO of Key Publishers Company which has ownership in several magazines including Toronto Life and Canadian Geographic. Michael is founder of Investeco, an environmental venture capital fund, and Chairman of the Green Living Show. He is a past Chairman of World Wildlife Fund - Canada and the Ontario College of Art. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1999.
Bryan Kerdman: Bryan Kerdman is the founder of Bryker Capital Corporation, a personal management company. Previously, Mr. Kerdman was a Managing Partner of Edgestone Venture Partners, which managed over $250 million in venture capital. From 1980 through 1995, Mr. Kerdman was President and founder of Bryker Data Systems which provided transaction processing services to large financial, government and commercial clients.
Ken Priestman: Ken Priestman is President of AutoClaimco, a firm which provides outsourced services to insurance companies. During 2001-2003, Mr. Priestman was the worldwide President of the Young Entrepreneurs Association.
Derek Riley: Derek Riley is the CEO of Yield Energy, an earley-stage waste biomass-to-energy company. Previously, Mr. Riley was Vice-President of BDP, which provided outsourced transaction processing services to Fortune 500 companies.
Greg Wolfond: Greg Wolfond is one of Canada’s most prolific serial entrepreneurs. Mr. Wolfond was Chairman and CEO of 724 Solutions Inc. (TSE: SVN & NASDAQ: SVNX), a wireless banking processing company, which had one of Canada's most successful IPO's in 2000, raising over $179 million, and soon thereafter achieving a market capitalization of over $11 billion. Previously, Mr. Wolfond was founder and CEO of Footprint Software, a banking applications software firm which was acquired by IBM in 1995.
Henry Wolfond : Henry Wolfond is Chairman & Co-Founder of Bayshore Capital Technologies, an investment company focused on real estate and information technology in financial services. Bayshore Capital has been an investor in and operator of several very successful companies including 724 Solutions, Footprint Software and iMoney.
Bill Young : Bill Young is President of Social Capital Partners, a philanthropic organization which makes investments in not-for-profit community organizations which can achieve tangible and financially quantifiable targets. Previously, Mr. Young was President and CEO of The Hamilton Group Limited, a TSE-listed computer services firm with operations in Canada, China and the USA.