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.

Matt Rho

Matt Rho

Managing Director, Investments

Matt Rho is a Managing Director of Investments at 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.

Jamie Nichols

Jamie Nichols

Associate

Jamie is an Associate at Avivar Capital. He received his MBA from UCLA Anderson with a focus on Social Impact and Finance. Prior to his Masters, Jamie served as Chief Operating Officer for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, where he leveraged over 300 public/private partnerships to distribute 11 million meals annually. During his tenure Jamie doubled the supply of healthy, locally sourced produce and helped position the Foodbank as a regional leader in nutrition literacy and food system reform.

Prior to the to his work in food systems, Jamie worked with the Harlem Children’s Zone, AmeriCorps, and United States Senate, where he helped develop evidence-based policy in the fields of education and conservation. Jamie is interested in leveraging the capital, efficiency, and flexibility of the private sector to provide triple bottom line outcomes, and he recently launched a company with UCLA Anderson Venture Accelerator. A native of Maine, Jamie studied at Union College and Columbia University for his undergraduate degree.

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.

Brian Wasige

Brian Wasige

Advisor

Brian Wasige is an Advisor at Avivar Capital, where he supports the team with investment diligence, thematic research and analysis. He started his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers supporting clients across various industries, typically as an analyst. His most recent assignment involved resolving disputes between a multi-national retail bank and its customers, small and medium-sized enterprises, who had purchased “tailored” business loans. He liaised with one of the bank’s executive steering committees to resolve disputes involving deals totaling more than $50 million in transaction value. 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 Anderson Venture Impact Partners, the school’s student-led venture capital 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

 

Juan Zavala, CFA, CAIA

Juan Zavala, CFA, CAIA

2019 Spring Associate

Juan Zavala previously worked at Siguler Guff & Company, a multi-strategy private equity firm with over $13 billion in AUM. Juan was actively involved in deal execution as well as analyzing and monitoring direct equity and fund investments for Siguler Guff’s Small Buyout Opportunities Funds. Prior to Siguler Guff, Juan worked at Cambridge Associates in their private equity group where he researched and analyzed various private equity managers, strategies, and markets. Juan is currently a 2nd year MBA candidate at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and is majoring in Finance and Entrepreneurship & Innovation. In the summer of 2018, Juan interned at Credicorp Ltd., the largest financial services holding company in Peru where he supported the corporate M&A team in valuing and bidding on an asset management business based in Colombia. At Wharton, Juan is a member of the Senior Investment Team of Wharton Impact Investing Partners and leads the diligence for deals in the education technology space. He is also the President of the Wharton Hispanic American MBA Association and a member of the board for the Wharton Latin American Student Association. Juan holds a B.A. in Economics and a Minor in Mathematics from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a CFA Charterholder and a CAIA Charterholder. Juan is a dual citizen of Peru and the U.S.

Carlos Peña

Carlos Peña

2018 Summer Associate and 2019 Spring 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 earned his MBA from CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business where he served as 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.

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.

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 Summer Associate

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 Summer Associate

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.