Investment Capital Advisory Committee

This committee will provide advice, insights, and recommendations to SBA on matters broadly related to facilitating greater access and availability of patient capital investment in support of our shared bottom line: small businesses.



SBA's Office of Investment and Innovation established the Investment Capital Advisory Committee (ICAC) to serve as an independent source of advice and recommendations to SBA on matters relating to institutional investment market trends, innovation, and policy impacting small businesses, including, but not limited to, access and opportunity to patient capital investment.

ICAC members will examine the challenges facing capital markets, investment managers, small businesses, startups, every entrepreneur and the stakeholders supporting them in these subject areas and recommend policy and programmatic changes to help strengthen and refine SBA’s programs and services to better facilitate the flow of investment capital to undercapitalized small businesses.

ICAC will provide information and recommendations on how SBA can:

  • Promote greater awareness of SBA investment and innovation division programs and services.
  • Cultivate greater public-private engagement, cooperation, and collaboration.
  • Develop or evolve SBA programs and services to address long-term capital access gaps faced by small businesses and the investment managers that seek to support them.

Committee members

Arjun Gupta is the Founder and Chief Believer of TeleSoft Partners, a venture capital firm which he founded in 1996. TeleSoft was licensed by SBA for two SBICs covering 1997-2012.  Arjun invests directly in portfolio companies and fund-of-funds investments.  Over the last 25 years, he has invested directly or indirectly in over 250+ private technology companies, resulting in 150+ acquisitions and IPOs  (including 60+ unicorns). Over this period, Arjun raised cumulative capital commitments of over $1+ billion.  He was on the Forbes Midas List of the Top 100 Venture Capital Investors in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.  Earlier in his career, Arjun was a strategy consultant for high-tech clients with McKinsey & Company and a software engineer and product specialist for Tektronix, Inc.  In 2001, Arjun launched a family foundation. The foundation or Arjun personally has supported numerous non-profit projects.  
Arjun is a passionate outdoorsman.  He was a Liaison Officer with the Indian Mountaineering Foundation and has climbed with 6 Himalayan expeditions to peaks over ~20,000 feet. He was a member of the 100th Anniversary Ski Expeditions to the North Pole and to the South Pole. Arjun was elected a Fellow of the Explorer’s Club (USA); a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society (UK), and FAO of the UN appointed Arjun a Mountain Partnership Goodwill Ambassador. 
Arjun received his MBA from Stanford University, MS and BS (Phi Beta Kappa) in Computer Science from Washington State University, and BA (Honors) in Economics from St. Stephen’s College (India).  Arjun is an Advanced Leadership Fellow (ALI) from Harvard University and a Henry Crown Fellow and Trustee of the Aspen Institute. He is a co-founder and former co-chair of YPO Aspen.  Arjun is a naturalized US citizen and lives in Colorado. 

Mr. Kopfinger is a Senior Vice President of TD Bank, N.A., based in Philadelphia, Pa. He is responsible for managing and monitoring the Bank’s Small Business Investment Company ("SBIC") portfolio comprised of more than 80 venture capital, mezzanine, and lower middle market buyout fund investments. He joined TD Bank and its predecessor Bank in 2004. 

Mr. Kopfinger represents the Bank as a Limited Partner, Advisory, Valuation, and/or Audit Committee member in many of its venture and mezzanine fund investments. He has coached and judged venture-backed companies for the Mid-Atlantic Venture Conference, the Three Rivers Venture Fair, Early Stage East, and the NJ Venture Conference. Before joining TD Bank, Mr. Kopfinger worked for FleetBoston Financial, now Bank of America, and with Comerica Bank’s Technology & Life Sciences Division. He has also worked with Fortune 1000 companies, providing them with structured finance and other credit and non-credit products, with his prior employers - Bank Hapoalim, PNC, and Mellon Banks. He has more than 40 years of progressive financial experience. 

Mr. Kopfinger is on the Board of the Small Business Investors Alliance (SBIA). He previously served on the Boards of the University City Science Center, the nation's first urban research park, from 2009-2022 and on the Delaware Tamanend Foundation, where he is a registered tribal member. His professional affiliations include the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) and the SBIA. He is a frequent speaker for the OCC, the Federal Reserve Bank, Capital Roundtable, and the SBIA on SBIC investing. 

Mr. Kopfinger graduated from DeSales University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. He also attended Widener University and was an MBA Finance Candidate. 

Alice Beverly Cole’s career spans legal, investment banking, manufacturing, entertainment, federal service, and entrepreneurship. Her employers included Union Carbide, Eastman Kodak, Walt Disney, Office of Thrift Supervision, FDIC, and the SBA. Beverly’s congenial manner and contagious smile have worked in her favor, supporting her collaborative approaches to problem solving. 

She has received accolades throughout her career for structuring complex investment banking, real estate transactions, and in mergers and acquisitions while at Eastman Kodak. During her tenure with Walt Disney, her executives supported her team’s efforts in strategic sourcing and vendor/ supplier inclusion. The company and Beverly received US Senatorial, Congressional, State, County, local, and international recognition for achievements in real estate construction, hospitality, packaging, technology, and entertainment areas. Beverly utilized quantitative methods to present suggested approaches, always showing cost savings, increased corporate revenues, increased customer attendance, and positive media coverage as her goals.  

Beverly is a native Virginian who graduated from Boston University, Fordham Law School, and University of Penn (The Wharton School). She has served as a consultant and sits on several public, private, and non-project boards. She has held Governor and State appointments. Beverly has been a nationally and internationally sought-after speaker on various topics, including supplier/vendor inclusion, sustainability, health care, and wealth creation. The Secretary of Interior recently appointed her to the board of the National Park Foundation. 

Beverly is a board member with Bank OZK and Founders First Capital Partners and a consultant to other small emerging impact funds. Beverly serves as the Manager of her family’s real estate business and leads a nonprofit fostering her passion for sharing her family’s knowledge on wealth building, real estate, and board service.  

Brett Palmer has led the association representing the Small Business Investment Companies (SBIC) and the institutional Limited Partners that invest into SBICs for over 15 years.  He is a leading authority on SBICs and small business investing. Mr. Palmer has a deep background in public and economic policy, having served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Legislation, and as Congressional staff, including service in the Policy Office for the Speaker of the House. 

Mr. Palmer holds a degree in history from Davidson College. 

David Corpus is Executive Vice President-Bank President of Stellar Bank (STEL). He has been in the banking industry for the past 37 years. David’s areas of expertise include commercial, industrial and commercial real estate transactions. He also has extensive experience in bank mergers, acquisitions, and de novos. David serves on the Teacher Retirement System of Texas Board of Trustees (appointed by Former Governor Rick Perry in 2013 and Reappointed by Governor Greg Abbott in 2019), which governs $200 billion in assets and is the 5th largest public pension fund in the United States and 13th largest globally. In addition, David sits on the following boards: Harris County Housing Finance Corporation, Harris County Community Land Trust, and Tejano Center for Community Concerns, Inc. 

David is also a former adjunct professor (Finance, Management & Economics) for the Houston Community College Systems. David’s board service with public, private, and non-profit organizations spans more than 35 years. David holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Management (BAS) and a Master of Business Administration in Finance (MBA) from Our Lady of The Lake University at San Antonio, Texas. 

Derek Schmidt is a Director at BlackRock and leads a team responsible for managing institutional investor relationships. Derek is based in Chicago, Illinois, and has over 20 years of experience working with institutional investors to build, allocate, and invest their capital across the public and private markets.  
Before joining BlackRock, Mr. Schmidt was a Managing Director at Concord Health Partners, where he led the firm's fundraising efforts and was a member of the firm's investment committee focused on making venture capital and growth equity investments into emerging healthcare businesses. Before Concord Health Partners, he served as the Director of Private Equity at Marquette Associates, where he focused on portfolio construction within alternatives and manager selection as he chaired the firm's Alternative Investment Committee and was a member of the firm's OCIO Committee. Before Marquette Associates, he was on the institutional investment teams at Piper Jaffray and William Blair, investing across global equities within institutional investment funds.  

Mr. Schmidt holds a B.S.B.A. in business finance from The Ohio State University. He is a CFA charter holder and a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of Chicago, as well as a CAIA charter holder and a member of the CAIA Association. Mr. Schmidt currently serves on the board of the Center Foundation for Anixter Center and sits on both the Investment Committee and Finance Committee for Anixter Center. 

Jane Veron is CEO and co-founder of The Acceleration Project (TAP), a nonprofit that empowers small businesses to accelerate their growth. TAP is creating a more equitable and inclusive economy by providing advisory services to under-resourced small business owners across the country. Since co-founding TAP in 2012, Jane has grown the organization to nearly 200 consultants who serve thousands of small business owners annually. TAP’s areas of expertise include finance, operations, strategy, marketing, and support throughout the entire capital lifecycle.   
In addition to her leadership of TAP, Jane is the President of EJA Industries, a holding company for middle market private equity investments. Previously, Jane worked in strategy and marketing at Bain & Company and American Express.   
Jane’s commitment to public service led her to serve as Mayor of Scarsdale, New York, from 2021 to 2023. Before that, she was Deputy Mayor and a Trustee of the Village of Scarsdale from 2016 to 2020. Jane has held many civic leadership positions, including Chair of the Scarsdale Planning Board and President of the Scarsdale League of Women Voters. 
Jane has received numerous awards: the Scarsdale Mayor’s Award for Exceptional Leadership; the Daily Point of Light Award (an organization founded by President George H.W. Bush); Crain’s Notables in Nonprofit and Philanthropy; the 2021 Global Game Changer award from TalentNomics for “Walking the Talk”; Westchester Magazine’s 2022 “914Inc Top Women in Business”; and the 2023 Harvard Business School Latino Alumni Association’s (HBSLAA) Distinguished Alum in the Latino Community Award for leading TAP's work with Latino business owners.   
Jane currently serves on the Harvard Women’s Leadership Board, the Regional Plan Association Board, and the Nonprofit Westchester Board. Jane earned a BA magna cum laude from Yale University and an MBA with honors from Harvard Business School. 

JoAnn Price is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fairview Capital, one of the largest minority-owned investment companies in the United States with over $10.5 billion under management since inception. JoAnn is a member of the firm’s investment committee and manager of all Fairview-sponsored funds. Before co-founding Fairview, she served as President of the National Association of Investment Companies headquartered in Washington, D.C. She serves on several national advisory committees and private equity advisory boards. JoAnn became the catalyst for significant change in how institutional investors approached diversity through investment. Fairview’s pioneering efforts shaped industry initiatives around emerging managers and diversity in private equity investment.  
Ms. Price serves on the boards of the Apollo Theater Foundation in New York City, The Connecticut Museum of Culture and History, and The Village for Families and Children. She is the Vice Chair of Trinity Health of New England’s hospital system board, as well as the Chair of the Blue Hills Civic Association board. Additionally, JoAnn serves on the board of advisors for the Wilson-Gray YMCA and on the board of visitors for Howard University’s School of Business. JoAnn is also a recent Past Chair of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving board in Hartford, CT. Another rewarding endeavor of Ms. Price over the last few years has been the building of a 501(c)(3) organization, The Brother Carl Hardrick Institute for Violence Prevention, where JoAnn serves as its Co-Chair.  
In 2023, JoAnn earned a position on Forbes’ 50 over 50 list. Ms. Price is a graduate of Howard University. 

Maria serves as the President and CEO of REDF – a venture philanthropy that invests in and drives demand for businesses that break down barriers to employment. They partner with social entrepreneurs — providing capital, capacity, and community — to amplify the success of their businesses and the people they employ. Before REDF, Maria served as CEO of Cara Collective – a nationally recognized employment social enterprise helping people experiencing homelessness and poverty return to hope, jobs, and opportunity.  
Maria serves on the 2022 Entrepreneurship & Economic Mobility Task Force for the state of California and on the advisory boards of Procure Impact, First Women’s Bank, the Leadership Society Initiative, and the University of Chicago Inclusive Economy Lab. She is a 2008 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow, a 2012 American Marshall Memorial Fellow, a 2018 Vital Voices Global Ambassador, a former co-chair within Mayor Lightfoot’s 2019 transition team, a 2020 Presidential Leadership Scholar, and a 2022 Distinguished Alumni in Public Service from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, from which she received her MBA. 
A social impact enthusiast, advocate, and entrepreneur, Maria knows firsthand that we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, and our job – or, more like our opportunity – is to pave the way for others to stand on ours. She writes about that journey as it relates to her time leading Cara in Voice and Vocation: A workforce practitioner’s guide to building hopes, jobs, and opportunity. 

Melissa L. Bradley is the Founder and Managing Partner of 1863 Ventures, a business development program that accelerates New Majority entrepreneurs from high potential to high growth. 
Melissa serves as a General Partner of 1863 Venture Fund, a Venture Partner at NextGen Ventures, and an advisor to Reign Ventures and the Halcyon Fund. She is a board member of Ureeka, a small business platform company she co-founded and sold, Eat the Change, Motley Fool Foundation, and AEO. She is also a member of the Milken Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Asset Management Initiative, Goldman Sachs’ One Million Black Women Advisory Council, Launch with GS Advisory Council, Fast Company Executive Board, Square & Forbes Small Business Advisory Team, as well as the Target Accelerators Entrepreneurs Advisory Council. Melissa is the former Co-Chair and current National Advisory Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship member. In 2022, she was awarded the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Alliance Excellence Award for Impact, named to the Forbes 50 Over 50 list for social entrepreneurship and the Washington Business Journal’s Power 100 list. 
Melissa is a Professor of Practice at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Over the last two years, she was commended with the Entrepreneurship Faculty Excellence Award, the Joseph F. LeMoine Award for Undergraduate and Graduate Teaching Excellence, the Peter W. Gonzalez, Jr. Award for Excellence in Adjunct Faculty Teaching, and The Ideas Worth Teaching Award, which celebrates exceptional courses that are preparing future business leaders to tackle society’s largest challenges and create a more inclusive, just, and sustainable version of capitalism. Melissa has produced two major research projects, Small Business Survivability Study for New Majority Entrepreneurs and Cost of Being a New Majority Entrepreneur. 
Melissa's educational background includes graduation from Georgetown University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the School of Business and a Master’s degree in Business Administration in Marketing from American University in 1993. 

Michael B. Staebler is a former commercial practice partner with Pepper Hamilton LLP. He led Pepper’s SBIC practice and was co-chair of the firm’s Funds Services Group. He also was a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Mr. Staebler concentrated his practice on the formation and operation of Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs), venture capital and private equity funds, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance and governance. He is particularly experienced in the formation, management, and operation of SBICs.  Since 1994, he has assisted in the formation and licensing of approximately 260 SBICs and also helped in the formation of numerous other private investment firms. He has regularly served as counsel to SBICs, venture capital, and private equity firms, as well as public employee pension funds in connection with their investment activities throughout the United States. 
Mr. Staebler has served on numerous federal and state advisory committees concerning venture capital and economic development.  He served as a member of the board of directors of Ann Arbor SPARK and on the executive committee of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. He also has served as a director of the Michigan Strategic Fund, a public agency that created and administered a wide variety of venture capital and economic development programs in Michigan. Mr. Staebler has chaired the SBIC and Venture Capital Subcommittee of the Small Business Committee of the American Bar Association.  In 1992 and 1993, he served on an informal committee of the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies (NASBIC) to negotiate and draft new SBIC implementing regulations.  From 1975 to 1980, Mr. Staebler served as president and chief executive officer of Michigan Capital and Service, Inc., a licensed SBIC in Ann Arbor, Michigan, before its sale to NBD Bank, N.A. 
Mr. Staebler is an active participant in community affairs. He has served on numerous advisory boards of a number of academic units and institutes of the University of Michigan (including technology transfer, entrepreneurship, life sciences, public policy, and law). He has served as a director for such civic organizations as the City of Detroit Building Authority, the Michigan Strategic Fund, United Community Services of Metropolitan Detroit, the American Heart Association of Michigan, and the Legal Aid and Defender’s Association of Metropolitan Detroit. 
Mr. Staebler is a frequent speaker on venture capital, has conducted numerous seminars on organizing and operating SBICs, and for five years served on the faculty of NASBIC’s Venture Capital Institute. 
Mr. Staebler has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America. Mr. Staebler earned his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School in 1969, following his graduation from Harvard College in 1966 with a B.A., magna cum laude, in American history. 

Samer is an Investor at Insight Partners, where he co-leads the 20/20 Vision Capital Fund, a $118M fund of funds investing into underrepresented, emerging managers. He manages sourcing, diligence, and post-investment support for the fund. Prior to Insight, Samer was the Interim CEO at BLCK VC, the professional organization for Black venture investors. Samer was the first hire at BLCK VC, building the organization’s strategy, programs, internal operations, the State of Black Venture Report, and community engagement strategy to increase diversity and inclusion in the venture ecosystem.  

Prior to BLCK VC, Samer was a Program Officer at VentureWell, where he led U.S. Department of State programs to build startup ecosystems in emerging markets. Samer led initiatives to train and mobilize angel investors, source and support early-stage STEM innovators, and build partnerships with local entrepreneur support organizations. Samer holds a Master’s in Global Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Austin Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Policy and a Bachelors in Economics from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Sharon B. Heaton is the CEO and Founder of sbLiftOff, a national mergers and acquisitions advisory firm specializing in commercial and government contracting companies with revenues between $7 million and $100 million. Known as one of the country’s leading small business advocates, Heaton publishes in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Washington Business Journal and is a popular speaker in business circles. Her new book, LIFT OFF: 12 Things to Know Before Selling Your Company, a guide for the small business owner seeking a transition, will be published by Forbes in 2024.   
“I founded sbLiftOff to serve those special people who sit at their kitchen table, come up with an idea, start a business, hire people, pay their taxes, and fuel our economy. These business owners are the backbone of the American economy,” says Heaton. 
Heaton has served as a senior staffer on the US Senate’s Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, the Senate’s Finance Committee, and the Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works. Her government policy work focused on ensuring fair and efficient markets and providing capital to small businesses. Early in her career, she served as a judicial clerk on the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.    
In the private sector, Heaton worked for the global law firms of Skadden Arps and Latham & Watkins and Columbia Energy Group, a Fortune 500 diversified energy utility operating in ten states. She co-founded Wellford Energy Group, an investment bank serving clean energy and low-carbon companies. 
Heaton holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School and a B.A. from Barnard College.  

Ms. Swider is a VP of Investments at MassVentures, one of the oldest venture firms in the US. Its fund is focused on early-stage deep-tech startups and university spinouts based in Massachusetts. In that role, she is responsible for sourcing and selecting fundable startups and supporting their growth with both capital and technical assistance. Before working at MassVentures, Stacy served as the Director of the SBIR Center of Excellence at the UMass Lowell Research Institute. Previously, she had a career in materials science and applied physics focused on crystalline materials for semiconductors, nuclear detectors, and optics. She was also a startup co-founder and worked in various roles in the industry.

She has a BS in Materials Science from MIT. 


Supplemental information

Contact us

For general information:

U.S. Small Business Administration
Office of Investment and Innovation
409 3rd St., SW
Washington, DC 20416

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Last updated April 4, 2024