TAG Corporate Development Presents: The Rise of the SPAC: Opportunities and Risks

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 (2:00 PM - 3:30 PM) (EST)


SPACs have been around for a while; however, 2020 is the year of the SPAC. A special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), is a “blank check” shell corporation designed to take companies public without going through the traditional IPO process. In 2014 SPACs raised $1.8bn, in 2020 they exceed that in one day. Year to date, SPACs have raised over $41bn 109 deals. Come listen to a panel of SPAC backers, experts and a CEO whose company listed through a SPAC to explain the opportunities and risks related to SPACs.


David Panton, Managing Partner, Navigation Capital Partners' SPAC Opportunity Partners

Opportunity Partners is an investment firm focused on building a diversified portfolio of investments in Special Purpose Acquisitions Companies (“SPACs”) utilizing three strategies: providing sponsor capital, leading investments in SPAC IPOs, and investing in and pricing Private Investments in Public Entities (“PIPEs”) for SPACs.  David is also a co-founder of Navigation Capital Partners LP, an Atlanta-based private equity firm that has made growth and buyout investments in middle market operating companies.  Its portfolio has included investments in 41 operating companies and assets under management of approximately $375 million. David is also the Chairman of Panton Equity Partners, a private family office, which he founded in 2012. 

David is also an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Finance at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.  David has served as a Board Member on over 15 companies, including Brand Bank (sold to Renasant Bank), Track Utilities (sold to CIVC Partners), SecureWorks (sold to Dell Technologies), and Exeter Finance (sold to Blackstone). David is a co-founder and former Chief Strategy Officer of American Virtual Cloud Technologies (NASDAQ: AVCT), which completed an acquisition of Computex Technology Solutions in April 2020. Between 2003 and 2006, David was a Vice President at Mellon. Previously, he co-founded and served as Managing Director of Caribbean Equity Partners, a private equity firm focused on investments in the Caribbean and Latin America. Prior to that, he was an Associate at Morgan Stanley in New York City, where he focused on mergers and acquisitions in Latin America and the Caribbean. David also served as CEO of CMP Industries, a publicly traded company in Kingston, Jamaica and is a former Senator in the Upper House of Parliament in Jamaica.   

David is Chairman of the Jamaican-American Chamber of Commerce of Atlanta, a former member of the Board of the Michael C. Carlos Museum of the Arts and is a former Trustee of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Atlanta, GA. David holds a Master Professional Director Certification from the American College of Corporate Directors. David received a Doctorate in Management Studies from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, a J.D. (with honors) from Harvard Law School, where he was elected President of the Harvard Law Review, and an A.B. (with high honors) in Public Policy from Princeton University. Born and raised in Jamaica, he resides in Atlanta, GA.

John Morris, CEO, Repay, Inc.

John Morris co-founded REPAY in 2006 and currently serves as both a member of the Board of Directors and the Chief Executive Officer. John oversees REPAY’s overall strategic and financial direction, including market strategy, organic and inorganic growth, and new end-market development. He has over 20 years of experience as an innovator and entrepreneur in the payments and financial technology industry.

Prior to REPAY, John served as the co-founder and president of Security Check Atlanta, a check verification and payment processor. During his tenure with the company, Security Check experienced significant growth by adding over 24,000 merchant locations and was named as Inc. Magazine’s 91st and 196th fastest-growing private companies in 2001 and 2002, respectively, before being sold in 2008.

From 1994 to 1997, John served in several corporate finance positions for Bass Hotels and Resorts (now IHG), including Director of Corporate Finance, where he worked on various capital projects and mergers and acquisitions. John began his professional career at KPMG serving as an associate where he earned his C.P.A.

John holds a Master of Accounting and a B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Georgia where he currently serves on the UGA Entrepreneurship Board.

Eklavya Saraf, Global Head of SPAC and Managing Director of New Listings, Nasdaq

Eklavya Saraf is Nasdaq’s Global Head of SPAC listings and a Managing Director of new listings. In his role, he advises companies on the process and benefits of listing on Nasdaq. Eklavya coaches early stage companies to leverage Nasdaq’s resources, and optimize financing opportunities and brand visibility. Eklavya helps develop Nasdaq’s relationships with investors, law firms, and other capital markets constituents. Some of Eklavya’s recent transactions include Royalty Pharma, Warner Music Group, PPD, Vroom, Peloton and Tradeweb.


Prof. Klaas Baks, Emory Professor in the Practice of Finance/Executive Director, Emory Center for Alternative Investments

Klaas P. Baks PhD is a recognized thought-leader in the alternative investments industry. The combination of cutting-edge academic insights and leading industry practices forms the foundation of his investment ideas and research. An award-winning professor and a frequent speaker on topics related to alternative investments, investing and entrepreneurship, he is known for a unique ability to combine original and useful business content with an engaging and dynamic speaking style.

Dr. Baks is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Emory Center for Alternative Investments and a Professor in the Practice of Finance at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. The Emory Center for Alternative Investments is a global leader in the alternative investments industry.

Dr. Baks’s research and teaching focuses on issues in alternative investments, entrepreneurial finance and investment management, and he has published papers in numerous academic and business journals, including the Wall Street Journal. He teaches courses in private equity, venture capital and distressed investing at Emory University and has been recognized with nine awards, including Emory University's highest award for teaching excellence, the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, the Marc F. Adler Prize for Teaching Excellence awarded by alumni and the Donald R. Keough Award for Excellence.

Dr. Baks is the Atlanta Chair with TIGER 21, North America's premier peer-to-peer learning network for high-net-worth investors. TIGER 21's approximately 800 members collectively manage more than $80 billion and are entrepreneurs, inventors and top executives focused on improving investment acumen, as well as exploring common issues of wealth preservation, estate planning and family dynamics.

Dr. Baks serves as director or advisor for over 13 companies and investment funds with over $1.5 billion in assets under management, including American Virtual Cloud Technologies (NASDAQ: AVCT), Buckhead One Financial (fixed Income), Peachtree Hotel Group (real estate), TWO Capital Partners (real estate), and Vistas Media Acquisition Company (NASDAQ: VMAC). An active member of the Atlanta community, Dr. Baks serves on the board of the Michael C. Carlos Museum and the Investment Committee of the Westminster Schools Board of Trustees.

Prior to joining Emory University, Dr. Baks held positions at Fuji Bank in Tokyo, Japan, Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong and the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC.

Dr. Baks studied at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (PhD in Finance), Brown University (Master’s in Economics), Groningen University (Master’s in Econometrics, cum laude) and Leiden University (Diploma in Japanese Language and Business Studies). He spent two years at Harvard University as part of his doctoral research at Wharton on the performance of actively managed mutual funds.

Born and raised in the Netherlands, Dr. Baks resides with his wife and son in Atlanta, Georgia.


Marc Borrelli, CFA, Vistage Chair

Marc Borrelli is a Vistage Chair. He has over 30 years of executive management; investment banking and strategy experience representing and advising companies and investors in all phases of corporate strategy, business development, origination, valuation, structuring, and closing M&A transactions.

Mr. Borrelli assists and coaches CEOs in his Vistage Groups to grow professionally and personally to realize their goals and increase the value of their businesses. The CEOs in his groups have businesses that cover a multitude of industries and range in size from $2 MM to $60MM in revenue.

Before becoming a Vistage Chair, he was an investment banker and had completed over 120 transactions with a combined value over $4 billion. Marc has advised on divestitures, private and public acquisitions (both hostile and friendly), and strategic equity and debt restructurings for clients' growth and operations. His industry experience includes without limitation, hospitality, financial services, industrial manufacturing, oil and gas, soccer clubs, and professional services.

Also, Mr. Borrelli has extensive international experience in developing and executing growth strategies domestically and internationally. He has managing and closing cross border multi-party transactions in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Australia.

Mr. Borrelli was born in South Africa, grew up in Europe, and    during his professional life has lived in the UK and the USA.

Marc obtained his Bachelor of Arts, Economics, Honors from Reading University in England and his Master of Business Administration and Juris Doctor, cum laude from Tulane University in New Orleans. Also, he has his Chartered Financial Analyst Designation, and Series 7, 24, 63, 79 and 99 FINRA licenses.

Mr. Borrelli served on the boards of The Jerusalem House, British American Business Group, and the Atlanta Society of Finance and Investment Professionals, and currently is on the board of Technology Association of Georgia’s Corporate Development Society and International Business Society.


Virtual Event
Event Contact
Rebecca Markusson
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 (2:00 PM - 3:30 PM) (EST)
Society - Corporate Development
Powered By GrowthZone