Michael Banks, venture partner, ESO Fund

ESO Fund adds Michael Banks as venture partner

The Employee Stock Option Fund (ESO Fund), a specialist in stock option financing for employees of venture-backed companies, has appointed Michael Banks as a venture partner.

Banks (pictured) is the founding partner of Windy Hill Capital, a seed capital fund, and has spent the last 16 years with leading venture firms investing in entrepreneurs at compelling technology companies like Pure Digital Technologies, Peregrine Semiconductor, Tapjoy, Silverpop and Kanjoya.

"As a board member of a variety of successful start-ups, I became aware that many departing employees were struggling financially to exercise their vested equity positions. As an investor, I saw the opportunity to provide option financing to these departing employees allowing them to share in the potential upside of their start-up without incurring significant cost," says Banks. "The opportunity to work with a fund that provides a valuable service to entrepreneurs while offering attractive potential returns to investors was a perfect match."

"Michael's reputation as a supportive company-builder and his long-term success as an investor have allowed him to establish relationships and trust with both the entrepreneurial and venture capital communities," says Stephen Roberts, co-founder and managing partner of the ESO Fund. "His deep network and investment acumen complements our mission of identifying attractive employee share purchase opportunities at outstanding venture-backed companies."

Banks has been a consultant and entrepreneur but got his start in venture capital in 1997 with Intel Capital where he managed Digital Media and new technology investments. In 2001, he joined Steamboat Ventures, Disney's venture capital arm. More recently, he was a partner with Palisades Ventures and lead media and enterprise software investments for DE Shaw Ventures before founding Windy Hill Capital in 2012.

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