Topanga Partners Profile
Topanga Partners is a private equity firm based in Pittsburgh, PA that invests in early stage companies primarily in the life sciences and technology sectors. In addition to passive venture investments, we also consider M&A transactions, recapitalizations, and Alpha/Beta stage investments. Depending on size and stage, we can also provide operational and strategic services to mitigate risk to investors, drive capital efficiencies, and build enterprise value.
JOHN HATHAWAY - Managing Partner
John manages the General Partner for Topanga and is the founder of Pittsburgh based private equity firm Primerock Capital. Primerock invests its own capital in various private equity sectors, and through its affiliates manages multiple private funds and companies. John has more than 25 years of experience in asset management, capital structure and formation, mergers and acquisitions, sales and marketing, and finance. Early in his career, he personally managed over $1 Billion of retail client assets for several wall street banks. Subsequently on the private equity side, John has led hundreds of transactions, including in the real estate, manufacturing, technology, and financial sectors. He serves on the boards of multiple privately held companies, and maintains a large network of partners and co-investors. John holds a degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
Justin Starr, PhD - ChiEf operating Officer
Justin has been involved in technology scouting and technical operations management for more than a decade. His last role was CTO of RedZone Robotics, a Pittsburgh-based developer of robotic systems for inspection of wastewater collection systems. Justin oversaw the development of multiple robotic platforms, sensing systems, and the launch of a new cloud version of the company's asset management software. He was a part of team’s successful exit in 2018. Prior to joining RedZone, Justin was a technology scout for PreScouter, Inc. - a Chicago company that performs technical due diligence and scientific analyses for corporate clients. Justin has worked on 200+ projects for PreScouter and serves as a Senior Scientific Advisor. With QinetiQ North America's Technology Solutions Group, he worked on several defense projects, including funded DARPA proposals focusing on artificial intelligence for anti submarine warfare, autonomous self-assembling maritime platforms, and other subjects. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science from the University of Virginia and his Master and Doctoral Degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Florida. Justin has authored more than 11 technical papers and published case studies, and is co-inventor on 4 issued patents and more than 8 pending patents.
Konstantin Bokarius - ChiEf Technology Officer
A Silicon Valley native with over 15 years of management experience, Konstantin leads engineering and directs the technological strategy for Topanga. After several years of conducting atmospheric research at the NASA/AMES Research Center, he joined Virtual CSR, a startup that provided telecommunication software to Fortune 500 companies. He then led engineering efforts at White Sky to deliver security software to over 10 million consumers. Most recently he oversaw the acquisition of White Sky to lead the R&D division and build privacy products at Identity Guard as Sr. Director of Engineering. Konstantin is co-inventor on 3 issued patents and has co-authored 5 scientific articles published in peer reviewed journals and presented at industry conferences.
Katie Wunder - Senior Associate
Katie handles high level product strategy and customer success at Topanga, and has worked with Topanga and its affiliates since 2015. She has held various managerial positions in Topanga’s portfolio companies, including running several early stage companies as CEO/COO, leading them to successful product launches and exits. Prior to joining Topanga, Katie was recognized as an award winning top performer with a national insurance company. She spent post graduate time teaching English in Thailand and has dual degrees in English and History from Clemson University.
About Our Portfolio Companies
InClinica guides companies through early stage FDA clinical trials and also owns equity stakes in early stage life sciences companies, including positions in both SkinJect and Periovance.
Postamo is an online platform that makes it fast and easy for real estate agents to connect with home sellers and buyers through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Postamo gives agents the opportunity to advertise their local expertise, listings, brand and more so they can grow their business.
Health eTools is an electronic health records (EHR) system created specifically for school nurses using Human Centered Designed. Serving more than 700 schools across the country, Health eTools works in conjunction with a school district’s existing Student Information System to help school nurses confidentially track, manage and report on the health of their student population.
Nestigator is an award winning online platform used by over 200,000 real estate agents nationwide. Nestigator makes Home Buying and Selling easier by connecting consumers with local real estate experts ready to assist on demand.
sharp edge labs
Sharp Edge is bringing a new class of targeted biosensors to drug discovery and trafficking biology. Fluorogenic Activating Modules (or FAMs) provide a more accurate and detailed detection method for cellular trafficking that is amendable to high-throughput screening and more detailed follow-up.
Periovance’s PSR system is a patented, non-surgical treatment and product for periodontal disease that is currently in FDA Trials.
SkinJect’s patch is a patented, non-surgical treatment for basal cell carcinoma that is in the pre-clinical stage with the FDA.