DETROIT, MI & BOSTON, MA – December 2, 2014. Fontinalis Partners (www.fontinalis.com), a venture capital firm strategically focused on next-generation mobility, today announces the formation of a new Special Venture Partner (SVP) program and the appointment of five inaugural members: Mark Schulz, Luis Blaquier, Mei-Wei Cheng, Gabe Klein, and Paul Mascarenas.
The Fontinalis SVP program will enhance and further leverage Fontinalis’ strategic capabilities by supporting Fontinalis’ portfolio companies’ efforts to reach new markets and by acting as valued advisors to their leadership teams. The program will be led by Mark Schulz, a Founding Partner of Fontinalis since 2009.
“On behalf of the team at Fontinalis, I am pleased to welcome these individuals to our partnership,” said William C. Ford, Jr. (“Bill Ford”), Founder and Partner. “We founded Fontinalis on the premise that a deep, strategic focus with an actionable network could help scale the best mobility companies globally, and this program represents our commitment to that thesis.”
Mark Schulz is an executive with deep cross-border operational, engineering and strategic experience in the transportation sector. A Founding Partner at Fontinalis since its launch in 2009, Mark has been an important member of the Fontinalis team and sits on the Boards of two portfolio companies: ParkMe and SQLstream. Mark also currently serves on the Board of Directors of Dana Holding Company and PACCAR Inc. Prior to Fontinalis, he spent 32 years at Ford Motor Company in a variety of executive roles, most recently as the President of International Operations, where he ran Ford’s international operations (Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa) as well as its affiliate companies globally (Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Mazda). Mark holds Masters degrees from MIT, University of Michigan, and University of Detroit. Mark earned his Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from Valparaiso University.
Luis Blaquier is a distinguished financial professional with an exceptional transactional track record and Latin American network. Luis currently serves on the Board of Directors for Grupo Clarin, Argentina’s largest media conglomerate, and Arcor, Argentina’s largest food products company. Additionally, Luis is a Partner of Grupo Pegasus and a former Executive Director with Goldman Sachs, where he worked for over 13 years in the United States and Argentina. At Goldman Sachs, he was the former head of Goldman Sachs’ investment banking activities in the Southern Cone region of South America and its Latin America Energy and Power practice. Luis holds a degree in Economics from the Universidad Catolica Argentina and an MBA from Dartmouth University’s Tuck School of Business.
Mei-Wei Cheng is a respected executive with considerable cross-border operational experience. Until April 2014, he served as the CEO of Siemens North East Asia and President & CEO of Siemens Ltd., China, where he had full responsibility for all of Siemens’ activities in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mongolia. Prior to joining Siemens, Mei-Wei served as Chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Company (China) Ltd., as well as Corporate Group Vice President of Ford Motor Company. Mei-Wei also held executive positions at GE, including Corporate Vice President, Regional Executive and President of GE Appliance—Asia, and Chairman and CEO of GE China Ltd. He began his career at AT&T, where he last served as President of AT&T China. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Seagate Technology. Mei-Wei holds a Bachelor degree in Industrial/Operations Research from Cornell University, an MBA from Rutgers University, and he is a graduate of Dartmouth’s Tuck Executive Program and MIT’s Program for Senior Executives.
Gabe Klein is a thought leader in urban mobility with a distinguished private and public sector background. Most recently, Gabe served in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration running the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), where he transformed CDOT into a model for innovation while implementing initiatives in record time, including the Chicago Riverwalk project and Chicago’s bike sharing program, Divvy. Prior to CDOT, Gabe was Director of The District Department of Transportation in Washington D.C. under Mayor Adrian Fenty and was instrumental in implementing a variety of initiatives—including DC Streetcar, expanded Circulator bus service, and Capital Bikeshare—while balancing the budget. Gabe also held leadership roles at Zipcar, the largest car sharing company in the U.S., where he helped establish Washington D.C. as the nation’s largest car sharing market, and Bikes USA, the nation’s largest bicycle retailer at the time. In addition to his role at Fontinalis, Gabe currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Bridj, a data-driven transportation company that provides flexible mass transit solutions. Gabe holds a Bachelor degree in Marketing and Management from Virginia Tech University.
Paul Mascarenas is an executive with considerable experience leading the development and implementation of the technology strategy and planning at a global automotive OEM. Paul most recently served as the Chief Technical Officer and Vice President of Research and Advanced Engineering at Ford Motor Company. During his 32-year career at Ford, Paul played an instrumental role in the development and launch of many of Ford’s global products, led the establishment of the company’s Silicon Valley Research and Innovation Center and played a central role in the company’s connected car strategy. Paul is a member of the Board of Directors of ON Semiconductor and President of The International Federation of Automotive Engineering Societies (FISITA). He holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of London, King’s College and an honorary Doctorate degree from Chongqing University in China.
“I cannot think of better individuals to launch this new program with,” commented Ralph Booth, Founder and Managing Partner. “We continue to see tremendous opportunities in next-generation mobility and we look forward to engaging them in a variety of value-added initiatives.”
About Fontinalis Partners
Fontinalis Partners, founded in 2009 and with offices in Detroit and Boston, is a venture capital firm focused on next-generation mobility. The firm was founded in 2009 by Bill Ford, Ralph Booth, Chris Cheever, Chris Thomas, and Mark Schulz. Fontinalis invests across all facets of the world’s mobility systems on a stage- and size-agnostic basis. Fontinalis is not affiliated with Ford Motor Company. More information is available at www.fontinalis.com.