Our Team2020-10-01T22:46:50+00:00

TRUSTED ADVISORS

our team

We don’t set out to be different for the sake of being different. We have a clear set of values and a distinct set of skills. It is entrepreneurial experience that has set us on our path. We bring unique insights and uncompromising advice to every situation. We owe our success to the passion and dedication of our clients.

shaf dewani

PRINCIPAL

Shaf Dewani

Shaf’s 25-year professional history combines consumer brands, retailing, management, entrepreneurship, international business, investment and transaction services.

His Executive roles include brand management in Pacific Brands, Globe International and Ripcurl, as well as investment management for Besen Private Equity.

Shaf’s entrepreneurship includes establishing master franchises for Cacharel, Paul & Joe, Coast and Karen Millen, in which he ran the 70-door, Melbourne-to-Beijing, Asia-Pacific portfolio.

As an ‘insider’ in retail and luxury circles he is able to utilise his broad contact base for M&A, capital raising, partnering and strategic planning.

Global retailers, investment banks, PE and HNWI investors seek him out for his insights and thinking, especially in fashion, luxury goods, home and design, food concepts and multichannel retailing.

He wrote RMIT’s Luxury Brand Management course and has taught Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Shaf holds a BA and BComm (Monash) and an MBA (AGSM).

Shaf is married with three children. He seeks out challenges, like the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker – a most rewarding accomplishment. Shaf is also the CSO (Chief Style Officer) at Edison!

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jason ellenport

PRINCIPAL

Jason Ellenport

Jason has spent over two decades founding, growing and advising early stage and fast growth businesses— specialising in Technology, Food & Beverage and Health & Wellbeing.

His work ethic and business acumen has been a lifetime in the making. As an an 8 year-old, he would wake at 6am on Saturdays, jump the fence to the local golf course, find lost golf balls and wash them before selling them back to the golfers on the 9th tee! When he wasn’t selling golf-balls he was riding a morning and afternoon paper-round for pocket money.

Jason has spent over two decades founding, growing and advising early stage and fast growth businesses – specialising in the Technology, Food & Beverage and Health & Pharmaceutical sectors.

Jason built a successful career in technology, and was one of the founding team of ASX listed Adslot Ltd (ASX:ADJ), Tradeslot and Vertical Talent (sold to Drake International in 2008). One of Jason’s most career defining moments was being on-team in Australian organic yoghurt upstart five:am, playing a pivotal role in its establishment and growth as a Senior Executive and later as an advisor to the Founder in the spectacularly successful sale to P Z Cussons in 2014.

Jason is passionate about helping entrepreneurs from a position of common knowledge and shared experience – and is a current member and sitting Board Director of Entrepreneurs Organisation. As a business owner he has demonstrated capability in strategy, planning, management and execution. On the transaction advisory side, his experience includes M&A, capital raising and advisory. He relishes working with business owners, families and their stakeholders – bringing perspective and empathy from his own entrepreneurial experience to clients’ situations.

Jason holds a BA, BBus (Banking & Finance) and MBA (Melbourne & ESADE, Barcelona).

He is married, with one child and loves travel, golf, his beloved Tigers and conspiring with an identical twin brother to confuse all and sundry!

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oliver kysela

Strategy & Transformation Lead

In 12 years as a CFO in the challenging and changing retail environment, Oliver has never been involved in an executive team which didn’t deliver EBIT dollar growth for a full financial year, including in years of declining sales.

His core guiding principles are being uncompromisingly customer and data insights led in maximising enterprise value, cash flow and return on capital employed. Oliver’s responsibilities have extended beyond Finance, Treasury, Legal/Company Secretariat and Risk into Strategy, Transformation, IT and Supply Chain.

Oliver was a Chartered Accountant for 6 years at Ernst & Young before moving into the retail sector for 17 years, 12 of those as Chief Financial Officer at Country Road Limited (also Executive Director), Spotlight Retail Group, Witchery Group, Country Road Group and Forever New Group.  Significant achievements include central roles in Gresham Private Equity’s sale of Witchery Group to Country Road Limited (~$172m), privatising Country Road Limited to Country Road Group (~$200m), integrating Witchery Group into Country Road Limited post-acquisition (creating a ~$900m turnover group with 12% EBIT), building a greenfield Omni Fulfilment Centre (~$53m), driving first mover advantage in harnessing customer behavioural data to right-size channels/networks and renegotiate landlord rents, securing ~$600m of retail and property syndicated debt post GFC, brand tear downs and refresh (Country Road, Witchery, Forever New) and leading remedial and stabilisation phases for Retek (Oracle) and SAP implementations.

More recently, Oliver has moved into Management Consulting and Board Advisory roles where he has advised organisations such as Mecca Cosmetics, Hawthorn Football Club, Limestone Coast Wines, Hinkler Books, Mustad Australia and Silk Laser Clinics.  He is a qualified Chartered Accountant (CA), a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD), a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (F Fin) and holds a Bachelor of Business (Acc) from RMIT.

Oliver is married to Lesley with three young children – twins Astrid & Liam and their older sister Lenna. His passions are Hawthorn Football Club, Wine, Horse Racing, Golf, Bunnings and hovering over his Webber BBQ on a Saturday afternoon/evening.

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truman tang

ASSOCIATE

Truman Tang

Truman’s experiences at The University of Melbourne place him in a unique position to pursue his passion: unlocking potential in people and businesses.

With a strong analytical mindset developed through a background in mathematics and finance, Truman enjoys applying his problem-solving skills in a business context, deriving business solutions and market insights grounded in the numbers.

He was previously involved leading the Actuarial Students’ Society as President, where he had the opportunity to enrich the university experience for actuarial students, and mentor those with similar aspirations. Currently, his efforts are directed toward a social impact NFP organisation, where he is leading a project evaluating potential solutions to overfishing in the coastal regions of Australia.

Truman will be graduating with a BCom (Finance, Actuarial Studies) and a Diploma in Mathematical Sciences (Statistics & Stochastic Processes) from The University of Melbourne.

Truman is also an aspiring wine collector, who loves nothing more than sampling the best wines straight from cellar doors all around Australia. Next stop – Chile!

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michael thompson

INVESTMENT DIRECTOR, PRIVATE EQUITY

Michael Thompson

Michael has 12 years of experience in private equity, funds management and corporate M&A advisory.

Michael was previously an Investment Director at Archer Capital, one of Australia’s oldest and most successful private equity firms.

More recently, Michael was an Investment Director at Livingbridge, a leading UK private equity firm headquartered in London with $3 billion in capital under management, focused on expansion capital investing.

Michael has considerable experience across all facets of private equity, including deal sourcing, investment appraisal and approval, transaction execution, capital raising, investee supervision, investee exits and investor reporting. Michael represented both Archer Capital and Livingbridge on the Board of investee companies, as well as provided additional executive assistance to support growth initiatives and key projects. Michael’s investing experience spans several sectors including Healthcare, Retail & Consumer, Food & Beverage and Technology.

Michael also has experience as an operational executive and as a business owner. Michael served for six months as General Manager of Franchising at Craveable Brands during Archer Capital’s ownership, a business with 600 stores and over 200 franchisees. Michael has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Western Australia.

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malcolm thornton

INVESTMENT COMMITTEE CHAIR, PRIVATE EQUITY

Malcolm Thornton

Malcolm is a widely respected business leader with a successful track record of venture capital investing, corporate business development and start up experience.

He is highly regarded as a trusted investor representative and an experienced company board director.

Malcolm spent 12 years with Starfish Ventures, a leading Australian Venture Capital fund manager with over A$400M in funds raised and 60 companies invested in. Malcolm was a member of the Investment Committee for Starfish Technology Fund I and Starfish Technology Fund II and represented the Funds on 13 investees boards.

More recently, Malcolm was the Head of Corporate Development of ANZ for Cisco, where he was a member of the Senior Leadership Team and sat as an Investor Representative for its ANZ portfolio. Malcolm was previously a Director of the Australian Investment Council, where he served on the Venture Capital and the Research Committees.

Malcolm holds a BAppSc (QUT), MAppSc (QUT) and an MBA (Melbourne)

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the late
ben cowen

Ben Cowen

Ben was a visionary. Ben was an adventurer. Ben was an enthusiast in everything he did.

Ben never failed to inspire, both in business and in life.
Ben paved his way as an M&A lawyer at Corrs Chambers Westgarth and as an investment banker with Deutsche Bank, Rothschild & Co and Gresham Partners. He then stepped away from investment banking to co–found, launch and operate camp, hike and adventure megastore, Anaconda, before founding Edison Partners in 2006. Ben’s legacy is one of impeccable standards, quality and excellence.
We remember with love and fondness our business partner and great friend.