About the Firm

Avivar Capital is a U.S.-based SEC registered investment advisory firm focused on managing impact investment portfolios and developing impact-driven funds and families of funds on behalf of clients. Avivar assists foundations, banks and other institutional investors in the design and execution of impact investing strategy for financial, social and environmental return. The firm’s professionals bring domestic and international experience to serve as investment strategists, deal and fund structurers, asset managers, due diligence providers, coaches, trainers, market researchers, facilitators, and evaluators.

Meet our Team

Tina N. Castro, CFA

Tina N. Castro, CFA

Managing Partner

Tina is a Managing Partner and co-founder of Avivar Capital, bringing over 15 years of experience in the fields of finance and investment management. Tina co-leads the firm’s overall business activities and serves as an impact investment advisor to Avivar’s clients providing guidance on the development and execution of impact investing portfolios and funds. Prior to founding Avivar, Tina spent more than five years as the Director of Impact Investing for The California Endowment (TCE) and prior to that, six years in the Investment Management Division at Goldman, Sachs & Co. At TCE, a health-focused private foundation with over $3 billion in assets, Tina developed financing vehicles and strategies that delivered solid financial returns, leveraged significant additional investment capital and supported TCE’s Building Healthy Communities goals. This included the California FreshWorks Fund, a $272 million public-private partnership loan fund to finance supermarkets and other forms of healthy food retail in underserved communities throughout the state as well as TCE’s $101 million Program-Related Investment portfolio focused on healthy food retail, community health centers, affordable housing and community lending. Tina has designed and built impact investing portfolios and funds on behalf of clients ranging from large national and regional private foundations to local community foundations including authoring Impact Investing Policy Statements, Impact Investing Procedures Manuals and designing social and financial tracking systems using customized dashboards as well as conventional portfolio management systems. Tina is a CFA Charterholder, has an MBA in Finance from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and an MA in International Affairs with a focus in International Business from the University of Miami. She earned a BA Cum Laude in International Relations with a focus in Latin America from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Tina currently sits on the board of Aeris Insight and is an Adjunct Instructor co-teaching a graduate course on impact investing at USC.

Lisa Richter

Lisa Richter

Managing Partner

Lisa Richter is a Managing Partner and co-founder of Avivar Capital. Previously, Lisa co-founded and led GPS Capital Partners, a national consultancy that assisted foundations and other institutions to design and execute impact investing strategies. Lisa co-leads Avivar’s overall business activities, bringing over two decades of fund management and investing experience spanning asset classes, return expectations, geographies and issue areas, and frequently incorporating place-based or sector focus to increase equitable access to opportunity. Clients range from small to the nation’s largest independent and community foundations, banks and institutional investors, with interests ranging from place-based outcomes to theme-based strategies that apply traditional asset allocations to earn market-rate expected returns. Lisa authored the Grantmakers In Health Guide Impact Investing, co-authored Equity Advancing Equity (a guide to community foundation impact investing) and co-authored a rural community foundation impact investing guide. She co-designed the Mission Investors Exchange Institute where she continues as a lead trainer. Through early 2006, Lisa led the National Community Investment Fund, a national Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that places equity and debt in development banking institutions and built its national network of development banks and credit unions that increase asset building credit and financial services. Prior to that, Lisa assisted foundation, bank, government and community-based clients to create or expand development financing initiatives in urban, rural and tribal communities throughout the U.S. Lisa is a Senior Fellow with The Philanthropic Initiative, and serves or has served as a director or advisor to the Center for Community Development Investments of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (where she currently also serves as scholar-in-residence), Bank of America National Community Advisory Council, Dignity Health’s Community Economic Initiatives Subcommittee, American Journal of PreventativeMedicine, CDFI Coalition, Chicago Community Loan Fund, US Social Investment Forum, and New Markets Tax Credit Coalition. She holds a BA and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Lisa is an Adjunct Instructor co-teaching a graduate course on impact investing at USC.

Daniel Tellalian

Daniel Tellalian

Managing Partner

Daniel is a Managing Partner and co-founder of Avivar Capital, bringing nearly 20 years of economic development, real estate management, social entrepreneurship and impact investment experience to the firm. Daniel is the firm’s lead on a food investing and bioscience investing, as well as active in place-based community development initiatives, due diligence, and pipeline development activities. Prior to joining the firm, Daniel was a Principal and 13-year partner at Emerging Markets, Inc. (EMI), an economic development consulting firm that assists the private sector to responsibly pursue business opportunities in low-income areas nationwide. During that time Daniel led client engagements in the firm’s regional banking and food retailing sectors, assisting a number of successful financial institutions and supermarket operators in California and nationally. His primary client services included market research and sectoral analysis, real estate siting and entitlements, customer segmentation, community marketing strategy and campaigns, strategic partnership design, deal sourcing and structuring, workforce development, and community relations. Daniel also consulted broadly with clients on strategic grantmaking initiatives, market expansion strategies, and investment opportunities for traditional and impact investors. He served as the co-designer and lead for deployment of the California FreshWorks Fund, the nation’s largest healthy food financing initiative, originating over 70 successful transactions and $62 million invested into healthy food enterprises in the state. Daniel consulted on the redesign of a FreshWorks Fund 2.0, as well as the Michigan Good Food Fund, both ongoing statewide food financing initiatives. His connection to both Food Funds is ongoing. Daniel is also retained by economic development entities to attract new investment to underserved communities. He has recently consulted with Los Angeles County on the design of strategic funds dubbed the Catalytic Development Fund (real asset redevelopment) and Bioscience Investment Fund (early stage venture). Daniel has consulted with enterprises seeking to secure investment, as well as investors seeking to place investments. A proponent of neighborhood-scale development, Daniel has more than a decade of working knowledge designing and executing place-based initiatives and was a founding board member of the Center for Place-Based Initiatives (now known as the Emerging Markets Development Corporation). He also serves as an advisor to Nielsen, the world’s leading information source of what consumers buy and watch, to help ensure that underrepresented segments are adequately engaged and measured in market research. He is also an advisor to the LA Cleantech Incubator’s stated goal of securing a diverse and inclusive company portfolio. Prior to his role at Emerging Markets, Daniel enjoyed successful career stints as a real estate and land use attorney, commercial developer, certified public accountant, nonprofit executive and alternative lender. A licensed CPA and attorney in California, Daniel draws upon an economics degree from the Wharton School of Business and graduate degrees in law and business from UC Berkeley. He was awarded an Echoing Green fellowship for social entrepreneurship in 1998 and remains active in fellow selection. Daniel remains active in civic efforts locally. He served four years on the Los Angeles Workforce Investment Board, the nation’s second largest, lending sector-specific counsel to the City. He is also a founding board member and three-term board chair of RiverLA, tasked with responsibly developing the 51-mile corridor adjacent to the Los Angeles River; and a founding member of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, tasked with reworking the region’s food system, and a Senior Fellow at USC’s Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab. Daniel lives in Los Angeles with his wife Monica and two daughters. He speculates he is the City’s only Puerto-Rican/Armenian resident.

Anita Foster

Anita Foster

Analyst

Anita Foster is an Analyst at Avivar Capital. Previously, Anita served as a Development Specialist at The Center for Working Families (TCWFI), an Atlanta nonprofit organization providing skills training, childcare assistance and wrap around services to local residents. Anita managed TCWFI’s fundraising, including individual donor cultivation and solicitation. Previously, Anita served as a Development Consultant to Boys Speak Out in Atlanta and a Development Intern for Students First in Sacramento. Prior to that, she provided research, fundraising, marketing and project support to the United States African Development Foundation in Washington, DC, The Potomac Research Group Holdings in Washington, DC (recently acquired by Hedgeye Risk Management), and the Ghandi Manav Kalyan Society in Rajasthan, India. In 2014, Anita founded Linlex Ventures, an impact investing firm providing research and capacity building assistance to social entrepreneurs in the United States, South Asia and East Africa. In 2016, she was recognized as an Apex Society and Porsche Cars of North America Power 30 Under 30 awardee for professional and community excellence. Anita holds an MA in Sustainable Development: International Policy and Management from the School of International Training Graduate Institute and was selected to participate in the Yale School of Management Global Pre-MBA Leadership Program. She earned her BA in International Studies from Spelman College, where she served as Student Government Association President and a Student Representative on Spelman College’s Board of Trustees.

Matt Rho

Matt Rho

Senior Advisor

Matt Rho is a Senior Advisor with Avivar Capital, providing transaction advisory services including supporting the team with due diligence, financial modeling, investment structuring and monitoring. Previously, Matt was the founding Managing Director of New Richmond Ventures (NRV), an early-stage venture capital firm focused on backing social entrepreneurs in Central Virginia. Prior to that, he was the COO and CFO of PrecisionIR, a private equity-backed provider of online investor relations services to over 2,000 public companies globally. Prior to PrecisionIR, Matt was a Partner at SV Investment Partners, a private equity firm managing $275 million in committed capital focused on buyouts and growth equity investments in middle-market technology, media, and telecommunications businesses. He began his career at JP Morgan, where he was an investment banking Analyst in the firm’s Global Energy M&A practice. Matt holds an MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France and a B.A. in International Relations from Brown University.

Theresa Wilson

Theresa Wilson

Advisor

Theresa is an Advisor at Avivar Capital. She comes to Avivar Capital after supporting a $50M impact portfolio at Omidyar Network. At Omidyar Network Theresa focused on research, analysis, due diligence, and operations to facilitate pipeline development and portfolio management. Previously Theresa worked in SME Private Equity at the IFC, supported the Market Dynamics team at Results for Development, and served as a Kiva Fellow working to launch Kiva’s US-based micro finance platform. Before Kiva, she served in the U.S. Peace Corps in the Republic of Georgia and Costa Rica where she started a sewing cooperative, coordinated small community infrastructure projects, and supported women’s economic development initiatives. Later, as a program coordinator, Theresa engaged corporations, foundations, and government to support volunteers in the field. Theresa holds an MBA and MA in Global Affairs from Yale University where she was a Forte Fellow, Executive Director of the Yale Journal of International Affairs, and co-chair of the Yale Philanthropy Conference. She earned her BS in finance and in interdisciplinary business management with a marketing minor, magna cum laude, from Miami University.

Yu Gu

Yu Gu

Advisor

Yu previously served as an investment advisor at Credit Suisse Singapore, where she provided investment advice to private banking clients across asset classes. A 2017 Summer Associate at Avivar Capital, Yu has passed all three levels of the CFA exam and is currently an MBA candidate at the Wharton School, where she concentrates on Finance and Management. Under Wharton Global Impact Consultants, Yu led a project to help an education foundation in Kyrgyzstan to improve education quality and plan their endowment fund. Yu holds a Bachelor of Science degree (1st Class Honors) in Quantitative Finance from the National University of Singapore where she graduated from the University Scholars Program and was listed on the President’s Honor Roll. Yu grew up in mainland China and spent eight years in Singapore.

Brian Wasige

Brian Wasige

Advisor

Brian Wasige is an Advisor at Avivar Capital, where he supports the team in researching edtech investments. He started his career at PwC Consulting supporting clients across various industries with project management, data analysis, and modeling. Most recently, he reviewed the sale of structured derivative products for a large banking client. Brian graduated with an MBA in Finance from the UCLA Anderson School of Management where he founded the school’s impact investing group and co-founded its student-run impact investing fund. Concurrently, Brian completed the Impact Investing Program at the University of Oxford. Brian holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Glasgow where he graduated with 1st Class Honors and received the Brown Prize in Engineering – awarded on the basis of academic excellence. He is a native of Kenya and grew up in Germany and Scotland.

Our Alumni

Helena Hong

Helena Hong

2018 Summer Associate

Helena Hong was a 2018 Summer Associate at Avivar Capital. She is currently an MBA candidate at UCLA Anderson School of Management, where she is specializing in Finance and Social Impact. At Anderson, Helena serves as Co-President of the student-run impact investing fund, VP of Impact Investing & Social Finance for the Net Impact club, and a mentor for the Riordan MBA Fellows and Project Echo programs.

Prior to business school, she worked at the Smithsonian Institution Office of Investments, supporting the management of the $1.5 billion endowment and its diversified assets. During her time at the Smithsonian, she was responsible for portfolio monitoring, reporting to the Investment Committee, and overseeing the undergraduate summer internship program. Helena was born and raised in Boston, MA and holds a BBA in International Business from George Washington University, where she was a Presidential Scholar in the Arts.

Imani Johnson

Imani Johnson

2018 Summer Associate

Imani was a 2018 Summer Associate at Avivar Capital. Her professional experience prior to joining the firm centered on community organizing and youth development. She served as an AmeriCorps member, bringing STEM education and programming to the youth and families of the High Point community in Seattle, WA and, she successfully opened a STEM centered before- and after- school program site for the West Seattle YMCA. Since then, Imani has assumed a title of financial journalist for R.Legacy magazine, she educates and encourages people to take hold of their finances. She has worked and consulted for education programs across the United States, namely, Freeman Capital, where she produced a digital 31-day financial education program. She also held the title of President of Sister Circle, an organization that supports the black graduate and PhD women of USC.

Imani rallies alongside people, communities, and organizations that seek to uplift and empower disenfranchised persons. Her goal is to deploy strategic capital and initiatives in low-income communities, where the members not only have a voice but lead the innovation. Imani is a full time student at USC’s Marshall School of Business pursuing a M.S. in Social Entrepreneurship. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Spelman College where honored as Woman of the Year 2014 for her social justice and community development work.

Carlos Peña

Carlos Peña

2018 Summer Associate

Carlos started his career as an analyst at Deloitte, conducting research and performing valuations of public and private businesses. Following his time in the corporate sector he transitioned to non-profit microlender Accion Chicago, where he coached startups and secured over $1,000,000 in financing for 100+ low- to moderate-income entrepreneurs.

He is currently pursuing an MBA from CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business and is the acting Managing Director of the Deming Center Venture Fund, a graduate student-run investment fund that provides capital and resource support for emerging companies based in the Colorado market. Originally from Ecuador, Carlos came to the U.S. to attend the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated with a double degree in Finance and Economics. He is also a graduate of Frontier Market Scouts, an award-winning training program that prepares fellows for careers with social enterprises and impact investment organizations in the US and abroad.

Yu Gu

Yu Gu

2017 Summer Associate

Yu previously served as an investment advisor at Credit Suisse Singapore, where she provided investment advice to private banking clients across asset classes. A 2017 Summer Associate at Avivar Capital, Yu has passed all three levels of the CFA exam and is currently an MBA candidate at the Wharton School, where she concentrates on Finance and Management. Under Wharton Global Impact Consultants, Yu led a project to help an education foundation in Kyrgyzstan to improve education quality and plan their endowment fund. Yu holds a Bachelor of Science degree (1st Class Honors) in Quantitative Finance from the National University of Singapore where she graduated from the University Scholars Program and was listed on the President’s Honor Roll. Yu grew up in mainland China and spent eight years in Singapore.

Christine Onyung

Christine Onyung

2017 Summer Associate

Christine Onyung was a 2017 Summer Associate at Avivar Capital. She is a dual MBA/MPA student at the Wharton School and Harvard Kennedy School. Leading up to graduate school, she worked in the global trading analytics team at BlackRock (BLK), reporting on metrics used to improve trading costs associated with BLK’s $4 trillion AUM. Previously Christine worked in fixed income portfolio management at PIMCO, in the insurance team managing over $100B AUM.

Christine is interested in private/public partnerships and in the triple bottom line, through which private capital not only generates above and market-rate financial returns but also has measurable, positive social and environmental impact. Most recently, Christine interned at the Reinvestment Fund, in the K-12 Education group, performing research on the charter school landscape nationwide for potential expansion of the Reinvestment Fund into new states. Subsequently, Christine interned in the healthcare group at William Blair’s investment banking arm. Christine has studied abroad in France at INSEAD and holds a BA in Economics and French from the University of Pennsylvania.

Alejandra Revueltas

Alejandra Revueltas

2017 Summer Associate

Alejandra Revueltas was a 2017 Summer Associate at Avivar Capital. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Social Entrepreneurship at USC Marshall School of Business. Prior to Business School, Alejandra worked as Business Manager Associate at J.P. Morgan Chase in Mexico City, where she worked in the expansion of private banking in the country, specializing in financial products’ implementation. While her time at J.P. Morgan she also served as member of the Charity Committee, being responsible for the employees’ engagement and the execution of various non-profit’s programs to foster in young people an entrepreneurial spirit and help them better understand the economic system.

Alejandra is passionate about creating positive social impact through unique business models and social innovation. Her main interests lie in improving access to education, and impact investing. Currently, she’s developing a social enterprise to empower women in underserved communities in Mexico through education and employment. Alejandra was born and raised in Mexico and holds a BA in Financial Administration from Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico City, with an International Business certificate from Fudan University in China.

Celeste Abou Negm

Celeste Abou Negm

2016 Associate Intern

Celeste Abou Negm was a 2016 Associate Intern at Avivar Capital. She is currently pursuing her MBA at UCLA Anderson School of Management, where she is also a Forte Fellow. At Anderson, Celeste serves as the Vice President of Community Relations for the Anderson Real Estate Association. Prior to business school, Celeste worked as the Operations Manager at BlueLabs, a political data analytics company with origins on the Obama Campaign. At BlueLabs, she established and managed business operations as the company grew rapidly. Celeste spent two years in Southwestern Ethiopia as a Peace Corps Volunteer, collaborating with agricultural extension workers to introduce appropriate technologies to small-holder farmers. She also worked on entertainment merger investigations as a paralegal at the United States Justice Department, Anti-Trust Division. Celeste holds a BA in Economics from Swarthmore College.

Brian Wasige

Brian Wasige

2016 Associate Intern

Brian Wasige is an Advisor at Avivar Capital, where he supports the team in researching edtech investments. He started his career at PwC Consulting supporting clients across various industries with project management, data analysis, and modeling. Most recently, he reviewed the sale of structured derivative products for a large banking client. Brian graduated with an MBA in Finance from the UCLA Anderson School of Management where he founded the school’s impact investing group and co-founded its student-run impact investing fund. Concurrently, Brian completed the Impact Investing Program at the University of Oxford. Brian holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Glasgow where he graduated with 1st Class Honors and received the Brown Prize in Engineering – awarded on the basis of academic excellence. He is a native of Kenya and grew up in Germany and Scotland.