Our Story

The Employee Stock Option Fund was formed by Stephen Roberts, Jimmy Lackie, and Scott Chou in 2012. The ESO Fund founders and team members have extensive experience in venture capital, private equity, and operations at entrepreneurial companies. ESO has developed a flexible due diligence strategy and transaction protocol to rapidly evaluate and close transactions.

Departing employees of venture backed companies are often faced with the dilemma of either exercising their stock options immediately or letting the options expire worthless. This decision can be especially complex given the high failure rate and the long holding periods for startup companies. Who knows what can go wrong down the line? Moreover, some employees will face Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) requirements as the result of exercising stock options which can create additional financial distress.

The ESO Fund takes the risk out of exercising options. The Fund gives holders of options in select venture backed companies the possibility of future upside by providing the cash required to exercise their options and pay the associated taxes. If the stock becomes valueless, the Fund, not the employee, bears the loss. Individuals who have already exercised can obtain similar benefits under the same non-recourse terms.

Team

Employee one

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Jimmie Lackie

Jimmy has over three decades of experience in venture capital, private equity and alternative investment management. Serving as a director, board observer, consultant and/or investor in start-up and later stage businesses across multiple sectors including: telecommunications, information technology, energy, insurance, finance, real estate, specialty retail and medical devices.
Jimmy began his career trading commodity futures with Cook Industries, Inc., Dunavant Enterprises, Inc., Refco, Inc., and Lackie Trading Inc.

Stephen Roberts

Stephen has extensive experience in sourcing, structuring, and managing venture investments. He has been involved in all aspects of entrepreneurial businesses, including line management, capital allocation, personnel management, sales, and marketing.  Prior to co-founding ESO, Stephen was involved as a founder or investor in numerous wireless communications businesses and private equity opportunities. Stephen graduated cum laude from the Harvard Law School and summa cum laude from Mississippi State University and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Employee two

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Scott Chou

Scott has been in the venture capital industry since 1997 and was recently recognized by Always On as a Top 100 venture capitalist. He completed the prestigious Kauffman Fellows Program in 1999 with Onset Ventures and later joined Gabriel Venture Partners in early 2000 where he focused on research labs for fundamental innovations. Scott’s first investment at Gabriel was in the seed round of NextG Networks which eventually sold to Crown Castle for $1 billion. Scott’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with honors from Caltech as well as master’s degrees from Harvard University and Stanford University.

Employee three

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Tony Tsao

Tony Tsao has extensive experience in venture capital, alternative investing and investment banking for high-growth technology and healthcare companies. He is responsible for all aspects of the ESO Fund’s investment process, including sourcing, structuring, executing, and managing transactions with employees of venture-backed companies. Previously, Tony served as a Principal at Western Technology Investment, a leading venture debt fund. Prior to WTI, he was a Vice President at Saints Capital managing direct secondary investments, and an Investment Manager at H&Q Asia Pacific focused on early to late-stage venture capital. He began his career in investment banking with Lehman Brothers in New York and London. He earned a BS in Economics, cum laude, and an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Employee four

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee five

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee five

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Team

Jimmie Lackie

Jimmy has over three decades of experience in venture capital, private equity and alternative investment management. Serving as a director, board observer, consultant and/or investor in start-up and later stage businesses across multiple sectors. Jimmy actively manages holdings in various hedge funds and in 2009, co-founded River Street Management, LLC, an advisory/management services company. Jimmy began his career trading commodity futures with Cook Industries, Inc., Dunavant Enterprises, Inc., Refco, Inc., and Lackie Trading Inc.

Jimmy Lackie

Jimmy has over four decades of experience in venture capital, private equity and alternative investment management serving as a director, consultant and/or investor in various stages of businesses across multiple sectors including: med tech (Active Implants, AccuVein), retail & POS tech (Hollywood Feed, JANAM), cyber security (LifeLock), insurance (GetInsured.com, Stillwater,Evergreen, Tri-States Direct).  In 2009, he co-founded River Street Management, LLC, an advisory/management services company. Jimmyserves as Chairman of the Board, Youth Villages, Inc., of Memphis, TN, and is on the University of Memphis Foundation Board of Trustees.  He graduated from the University of Memphis (1973-’76) cum laude in Finance.

Stephen Roberts

Stephen has extensive experience in sourcing, structuring, and managing venture investments. He has been involved in all aspects of entrepreneurial businesses, including line management, capital allocation, personnel management, sales, and marketing.  Prior to co-founding ESO, Stephen was involved as a founder or investor in numerous wireless communications businesses and private equity opportunities. Stephen graduated cum laude from the Harvard Law School and summa cum laude from Mississippi State University and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Stephen Roberts

Stephen has extensive experience in sourcing, structuring, and managing venture investments. He has been involved in all aspects of entrepreneurial businesses, including line management, capital allocation, personnel management, sales, and marketing. Early in his career, Mr. Roberts was a transactional lawyer. Prior to co-founding ESO, Stephen was involved as a founder or investor in numerous wireless communications businesses and private equity opportunities. Stephen graduated cum laude from the Harvard Law School and summa cum laude from Mississippi State University and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Stephen’s community activities include being a member of the Board of Directors of the Chickasaw Counsel of the Boy Scouts of America.

Scott Chou

Scott has been in the venture capital industry since 1997 and was recently recognized by Always On as a Top 100 venture capitalist. He is known for his focus on disruptive technologies and for authoring Maxims, Morals, and Metaphors – A Primer on Venture Capital. Scott’s educational background includes the Kauffman Fellows Venture Capital Program, a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with honors from Caltech as well as master’s degrees from Harvard University and Stanford University.

Scott Chou

Scott has been in the venture capital industry since 1997 and was recently recognized by Always On as a Top 100 venture capitalist. He is known for his focus on disruptive technologies and for authoring Maxims, Morals, and Metaphors – A Primer on Venture Capital. Scott’s passion for early stage technology ventures extends back to high school when he joined his first startup as a software engineer. He has since worked for five more technology ventures including Poqet Computer and ICE in addition to world-renowned research and development organizations such as Bellcore and IBM. His broad expertise in technology spans the industry from manufacturing to software development to chip design. Scott actively maintains his technical expertise as the creator of Oh Don’t Forget!, a popular mobile app for Android and iOS devices. He completed the prestigious Kauffman Fellows Program in 1999 with Onset Ventures and later joined Gabriel Venture Partners in early 2000 where he focused on research labs for fundamental innovations. Scott’s first investment at Gabriel was in the seed round of NextG Networks which eventually sold to Crown Castle for $1 billion. Scott’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with honors from Caltech as well as master’s degrees from Harvard University and Stanford University.

Tony Tsao

Tony Tsao’s professional experience spans venture capital,alternative investing and investment banking for high-growth technology and healthcare companies. He is responsible for all aspects of ESO’s investment process, including sourcing, structuring, executing, and managing transactions with employees of venture-backed companies. Previously, Tony worked in venture debt at WTI, private equity secondaries at Saints Capital, multi-stage venture capital at H&Q Asia Pacific, and investment banking at Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns. He holds BS and MBA degrees from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Tony Tsao

Tony Tsao has extensive experience in venture capital, alternative investing and investment banking for high-growth technology and healthcare companies. He is responsible for all aspects of the ESO Fund’s investment process, including sourcing, structuring, executing, and managing transactions with employees of venture-backed companies. Previously, Tony served as a Principal at Western Technology Investment, a leading venture debt fund. Prior to WTI, he was a Vice President at Saints Capital managing direct secondary investments, and an Investment Manager at H&Q Asia Pacific focused on early to late-stage venture capital. He began his career in investment banking with Lehman Brothers in New York and London. He earned a BS in Economics, cum laude, and an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Ken Goldman

Kenneth Goldman has over twenty years experience in finance and operations. Prior to ESO, he managed claims and pricing for PMI, where he helped develop predictive analytics for mortgage default risk. At ESO, Ken helps lead the client services team and specializes in risk management and continuous process improvement. Ken began his career as a financial analyst at the Thelen law firm and later operated his own consultancy in web development,financial modeling, project management and technology training. He began his education at Yale University and holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Cal State.

Ken Goldman

Kenneth Goldman has over twenty years experience in various finance and operations roles. Prior to joining the ESO Fund, he managed claims and pricing functions at the PMI Group, where he led a decision science team in developing predictive analytics for assessing mortgage default risk. At ESO, Ken manages the inside sales team and specializes in developing methodologies for rapid risk assessment and pre-qualification. Ken began his career as a financial analyst at the Thelen law firm and operated his own consultancy through the dot.com era, serving in diverse roles from web developer and financial tool builder to project manager and corporate technology trainer. He began his education at Yale University and holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Cal State.

Paul Yacoubian

Paul has a wealth of experience in investment fund management. As Chief Financial Officer of the firm, Paul oversees the accounting and investor reporting teams. Prior to ESO, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of a long/short equities focused hedge fund. As Chief Compliance Officer he led the firm through SEC Investment Advisor registration and implemented a firm-wide compliance program. He began his career in the tax division of a top public accounting firm where he led engagements for privately held investment partnerships. Paul graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Economics and Business Administration from Rhodes College and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Paul Yacoubian

Paul has a wealth of experience in investment fund management. As Chief Financial Officer of the firm, Paul oversees the accounting and investor reporting teams. Prior to ESO, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of a long/short equities focused hedge fund. As Chief Compliance Officer he led the firm through SEC Investment Advisor registration and implemented a firm-wide compliance program. He began his career in the tax division of a top public accounting firm where he led engagements for privately held investment partnerships as well as international transfer pricing studies for publicly held companies. Paul graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Economics and Business Administration from Rhodes College and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Chris Lu

Chris Lu is a graduate from Washington University in St. Louis. He studied computer science and finance and enjoys exploring the intersection of the two fields. Previously, Chris completed a technical internship in cyber security as a consultant for PwC. He worked with the CIO of a large Fortune 500 company to analyze and improve internal and external network security. Before PwC, Chris worked multiple summers for a wealth management firm in DC.

Chris Lu

Chris Lu is a graduate from Washington University in St. Louis. He studied computer science and finance and enjoys exploring the intersection of the two fields. Previously, Chris completed a technical internship in cyber security as a consultant for PwC. He worked with the CIO of a large Fortune 500 company to analyze and improve internal and external network security. Before PwC, Chris worked multiple summers for a wealth management firm in DC.

Utkarsh Sharma

Utkarsh is a cum laude graduate from San Jose State University where he studied Finance and Computer Science. Prior to joining ESO, Utkarsh interned in Software Development at Waterline Data where he worked with REST APIs, Big Data warehouses and relational databases to automate business decision making. Before Waterline, Utkarsh interned at a small SaaS startup in Sunnyvale, CA where he developed technical skills in Android application design and startup development. Utkarsh is an active part of the Bay Area soccer community, playing semi pro on the weekends and refereeing youth and adult games.

Utkarsh Sharma

Utkarsh is a cum laude graduate from San Jose State University where he studied Finance and Computer Science. Prior to joining ESO, Utkarsh interned in Software Development at Waterline Data where he worked with REST APIs, Big Data warehouses and relational databases to automate business decision making. Before Waterline, Utkarsh interned at a small SaaS startup in Sunnyvale, CA where he developed technical skills in Android application design and startup development. Utkarsh is an active part of the Bay Area soccer community, playing semi pro on the weekends and refereeing youth and adult games.

Nairie Krikorian

Nairie Krikorian has fifteen years of experience in sales and operations roles. She is a relationship manager at ESO; her primary role is to guide clients through the process of making educated decisions regarding their stock options.She’s also a founder of HES, an organization that assists students in the Middle East to make informative decisions and acts as a gateway to higher education institutions in the U.S.Nairie holds a Finance degree from San Jose State University. She is actively involved in the community and also a board member of the Armenian Cultural Foundation.

Nairie Krikorian

Nairie Krikorian has fifteen years of experience in sales and operations roles. She is a relationship manager at ESO; her primary role is to guide clients through the process of making educated decisions regarding their stock options.She’s also a founder of HES, an organization that assists students in the Middle East to make informative decisions and acts as a gateway to higher education institutions in the U.S.Nairie holds a Finance degree from San Jose State University. She is actively involved in the community and also a board member of the Armenian Cultural Foundation.

Andrew Moeckel

Andrew Moeckel is a graduate from The Washington University in St. Louis School of Engineering and Applied Science. He was a dual major in Computer Science and Economics, and looks to pursue the relationship between these disciplines. Andrew previously worked with Dr. Andrew Sherman and the Yale HPC Division to facilitate use and optimize the Yale HPC Cluster. Before that, he worked on tech startups through T-Rex, a Saint Louis based incubator.

Andrew Moeckel

Andrew Moeckel is a graduate from The Washington University in St. Louis School of Engineering and Applied Science. He was a dual major in Computer Science and Economics, and looks to pursue the relationship between these disciplines. Andrew previously worked with Dr. Andrew Sherman and the Yale HPC Division to facilitate use and optimize the Yale HPC Cluster. Before that, he worked on tech startups through T-Rex, a Saint Louis based incubator.

Bill Yu

Bill is an extremely versatile individual and avid investor who has developed an appetite for it on his personal time, and he loves that he can assist others financially through his engagement at ESO Fund. He graduated in 2014 from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he enjoyed taking, teaching, and creating classes with a focus on computer science and neuroscience. Throughout his career, Bill has held the position of software engineer, intern, teacher, researcher, analyst, associate, and shooting guard while working with his university, the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, First Data, and Northrop Grumman corporation.

Bill Yu

Bill is an extremely versatile individual and avid investor who has developed an appetite for it on his personal time, and he loves that he can assist others financially through his engagement at ESO Fund. He graduated in 2014 from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he enjoyed taking, teaching, and creating classes with a focus on computer science and neuroscience. Throughout his career, Bill has held the position of software engineer, intern, teacher, researcher, analyst, associate, and shooting guard while working with his university, the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, First Data, and Northrop Grumman corporation.

Employee six

Position

Decrepit enlightenment society chaos ultimate merciful. Merciful truth snare inexpedient sea insofar.

Jordan Long

Jordan Long is a graduate from Wake Forest University where he majored in Mathematics and Economics, and aims to leverage his knowledge in data analytics in the Silicon Valley startup landscape. Jordan previously worked at Telemundo and DidjaTV in a research capacity, working with audience profiling and the deviation from traditional linear television use. Jordan grew up in the Bay Area where he was an All-County baseball player and is an avid sport fan, music enthusiast, and movie lover.

Jordan Long

Jordan Long is a graduate from Wake Forest University where he majored in Mathematics and Economics, and aims to leverage his knowledge in data analytics in the Silicon Valley startup landscape. Jordan previously worked at Telemundo and DidjaTV in a research capacity, working with audience profiling and the deviation from traditional linear television use. Jordan grew up in the Bay Area where he was an All-County baseball player and is an avid sport fan, music enthusiast, and movie lover.

Connie Sprague

Connie brings more than 25 years of diverse bookkeeping, financial reporting, and tax compliance experience to her role in accounting at the firm. She has spent her career operating multiple business functions in a variety of companies in the financial services and real estate industries. Her best practices approach helps the firm’s partners and clients successfully execute complex transactions in both the front and back office. Connie earned her degree in Accounting from the State Technical Institute at Memphis.

Connie Sprague

Connie brings more than 25 years of diverse bookkeeping, financial reporting, and tax compliance experience to her role in accounting at the firm. She has spent her career operating multiple business functions in a variety of companies in the financial services and real estate industries. Her best practices approach helps the firm’s partners and clients successfully execute complex transactions in both the front and back office. Connie earned her degree in Accounting from the State Technical Institute at Memphis.

Carol White

Carol White has over 30 years’ experience in office administration and accounting. She began her career at the University of Memphis in the Office of Financial Planning and Accounting, followed by Kimberly-Clark Corporation as the Assistant to the Financial Manager. She then spent 12 years at Auto-Chlor System where she prepared annual sales and expense budgets, and monthly reporting for 30 corporate-owned branch locations. Carol joined Lackie Trading, Inc. in 2006, and began working with the ESO Fund in 2012. Carol attended the University of Memphis.

Carol White

Carol White has over 30 years’ experience in office administration and accounting. She began her career at the University of Memphis in the Office of Financial Planning and Accounting, followed by Kimberly-Clark Corporation as the Assistant to the Financial Manager. She then spent 12 years at Auto-Chlor System where she prepared annual sales and expense budgets, and monthly reporting for 30 corporate-owned branch locations. Carol joined Lackie Trading, Inc. in 2006, and began working with the ESO Fund in 2012. Carol attended the University of Memphis.

This innovative service promotes and enables a healthier relationship between companies and employees. I my opinion it's valuable to employees and great for the overall tech environment and economy. It is good for nobody when employees feel trapped because they can't afford to leave. In less extreme cases exercising can be expensive and somewhat risky and this is simply a good smart hedge and a good square deal. Brilliant!

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