Gavin is an entrepreneurial VC with a passion for investing and building Utah and the West. In 2008, Gavin recognized a need for both leadership and capital at the seed stage in Utah. Gavin worked with the Utah ecosystem to found Kickstart Seed Fund to fill this gap. Starting a seed stage firm focused on Utah during the Great Recession was not easy, but Kickstart is now the most active investor in Utah at the seed stage with 85+ investments.
Now into his second decade as a seed stage investor, Gavin was fortunate get his 10,000 hours in venture capital early in his career. Prior to Kickstart, Gavin was an analyst, associate and principal at vSpring Capital (now Signal Peak) where he developed a love for venture capital investing in the Mountain West Region. Before vSpring Capital, Gavin also worked as a Vertical Strategy Associate for Google and as a consultant in Monitor Group's Cambridge office where he advised clients on a range of strategic, operational, and organizational improvements.
Gavin received a Masters of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management and a B.A. in Economics (with Honors) from Brigham Young University. Gavin is a board member or observer on the boards of Adwallet, Chargeback, Chatbooks, Claravine, CloudApp, Grow, Localfluence, Lucid Software, Monarx, Photopharmics, Qzzr, Rackware, Spiff, and TaskEasy.
Dalton Wright is a partner at Kickstart Seed Fund. His roots go back to the early days, when he was the fund's first hire and joined Gavin Christensen to launch Kickstart in 2008. As an entrepreneur and investor, Dalton is an optimistic futurist who is passionate about helping startup founders pursue their visions for a brighter world.
A native of Utah, Dalton grew up in the state's vibrant startup ecosystem and has helped create community initiatives to support entrepreneurs such as Campus Founders Fund and Kickstart Collective. Dalton is a Director and Observer on several boards of directors, including Artemis Health, Big Squid and DirectScale, and is particularly interested in data analytics, artificial intelligence, SaaS and consumer applications.
Prior to becoming a partner at Kickstart, Dalton was a startup founder, and he later pursued an entrepreneurial opportunity in Mexico as a founding team member of the country's first early-stage tech fund, Alta Ventures, which raised $70M to back tech founders in Latin America. To date, Dalton has helped launch multiple funds that have raised over $200M in total to fuel innovation in emerging tech hubs.
Dalton enjoys representing Kickstart and Utah as a member of the Kauffman Fellows Society, a global network of venture capitalists that views entrepreneurship as a key to human progress and prosperity. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School, an MA in International Studies from the Lauder Institute, and a BA in Finance from the University of Utah, where he graduated summa cum laude.
Curt is a partner on the investment team at Kickstart, having joined the fund full-time in 2015 after four years on Kickstart’s investment committee. Prior to joining Kickstart, Curt was an active angel investor and board member/advisor for a number of Utah start-ups, including GroSocial, Calle, and Artemis.
Curt is a seasoned operating executive with CEO and general management experience in mid to large enterprise companies across multiple industries. His primary leadership experience is in senior roles in consumer products, IoT, and healthcare. As a result, Curt leads most Kickstart investments in those spaces as well as other SaaS and hardware investments in the portfolio.
In addition to his role as an investment partner, Curt leads Kickstart’s proprietary community platform, Kickstart Collective. Through this platform, Kickstart provides significant additional value-add to our portfolio companies through access to compelling content, trusted peer networks, and decision support tools.
At Kickstart Curt serves on the boards of Havenly, BrainStorm, eVisit, SalesRabbit, Vence, SimpleCitizen, Homie, Rags, SonderMind, and Taft. He is a board observer for TriLumina and Omadi.
* * *
After earning his MBA with honors from Harvard Business School, Curt joined McKinsey & Company in their Los Angeles office, working primarily with healthcare and financial services clients over his five years there.
After McKinsey, Curt served as Chairman and CEO of the Oregon Region of PeaceHealth, a major integrated health delivery system in the Pacific Northwest. During his tenure Curt completed two significant acquisitions and also pioneered the adoption and implementation of lean manufacturing in healthcare as the first healthcare provider in the world to do so.
After PeaceHealth, Curt joined Nike, Inc., where he served as Vice President of Global Strategy, overseeing corporate strategy and development activities for the company. After 4 years in this role, Curt transitioned into the position of Vice President and General Manager of Vision, Timing and Techlab. Curt’s team invented and productized Nike Plus, developing a relationship with the iPod team at Apple. This ultimately developed into one of the most successful growth initiatives in Nike’s history, moving significant market share in running and successfully bridging the worlds of digital, entertainment, and sports.
Continuing in a long tradition of completely discontinuous career experiences, Curt then did a stint in higher education, leading technology commercialization and economic development programs for two universities in Utah.
When not working with the best tech and consumer companies in the West, Curt can be found with family, in the saddle of a road bike, or skiing the amazing slopes of Utah.
As Administrative Partner of Kickstart Seed Fund, Alex is responsible for managing the financial reporting, tax compliance, and general back office processes for the fund. He is also actively involved in Kickstart’s investment and diligence process. He loves working with entrepreneurs and currently sits on the Boards of Bookly, Estify, Idaciti, and Reaction Data. Prior to Kickstart, Alex worked as Director of Finance at Signal Peak Ventures. He started his career with EY in the Assurance and Advisory Business Services. During his time there, he worked with a variety of public companies, start-up companies, and venture capital and private equity funds. He is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in the state of Utah. He received a Masters of Professional Accountancy and a B.S. in Accounting, with honors, from the University of Utah.
Brandon is an Associate at Kickstart Seed Fund and spends his time conducting due diligence, sourcing deals, and assisting portfolio companies as a board member. He joined Kickstart in October 2017.
Brandon previously worked as an analyst at Hines, a large international commercial real estate investment firm. During his time at Hines, Brandon was responsible for deal sourcing, due diligence, and asset management of a $275MM portfolio. Prior to Hines, Brandon worked as a consultant at RCLCO, where he assisted a variety of public and private clients make informed decisions by conducting financial and market feasibility analyses and conceptualizing development strategies.
Brandon received a B.S. in Business Management with an emphasis in Strategy from Brigham Young University and served as Student Body President during his senior year.
As office manager for Kickstart, Brianna keeps the background running smoothly. She spends her time coordinating with new companies, organizing events, and keeping the swag stocked.
Prior to Kickstart, Brianna spent a short time at Instructure and a few years at Red Leaf Resources, a startup oil shale R&D company, working as an office manager and implementing community outreach programs.
Brianna became passionate about helping startups when she led the Entrepreneurship programs at Utah State. She graduated with a degree in Public Relations from USU in 2012.
I think I have the best job at Kickstart. In my role as Director of Platform, I get to create experiences and interactions (as part of what we call the Kickstart Collective) where time-strapped leaders leave with actionable insights and having developed valuable lifetime connections. Add to that my work with talent recruitment for our portfolio companies, where I’m working to build Kickstart’s talent pool and working with candidates and founders to help them find amazing opportunities and perfect matches, and I couldn’t be happier.
I’ve always been passionate about bringing people together and producing programs that not only help form a community, but also add concrete value to that community. Our Kickstart Collective was formed to help facilitate learning and mutual support experiences for executives in our portfolio – and I think Kickstart’s community of talented founders and executives is unrivaled in our region. I’m constantly impressed by the collaborative effort to learn, inspire, and support. It’s humbling and inspiring to work with such an amazing group of professionals and I’m committed to continually experiment and find ways to better serve our portfolio as we help them solve tough challenges and build amazing businesses.
Prior to moving to Utah, I spent seven years in New York City managing events and developing value-add platforms for Bloomberg, McGraw-Hill, and Conde Nast Publications (specifically Bon Appetit magazine).
Education: B.A. in advertising and marketing communications, Brigham Young University