Investment Team

Tom Smith

Managing Partner

Tom has more than 20 years of experience in the venture capital business, spanning early- and expansion-stage venture investing, as well as large leveraged buyout transactions. Prior to founding Savano, he was a co-founder and General Partner of SmithDefieux Capital Partners, a pioneer of venture direct secondary investing. Before SmithDefieux, Tom was General Partner with Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds, where he led several highly successful early-stage technology and Internet-related investments.

Previously, Tom was General Partner with Edison Ventures, where he co-directed the firm’s highly successful communications investment portfolio. He started his career as Vice President of Chase Manhattan Capital Corporation, the private equity affiliate of The Chase Manhattan Bank, where he worked with Gus Koven.

Tom served as a Director of the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association for 12 years. Tom earned his MBA, Beta Gamma Sigma, from U.N.C. Chapel Hill and a BS, Magna Cum Laude, from Elizabethtown College.

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Bion Ludwig


Bion has over 11 years experience in the growth equity business. Bion joined Tom in 2008 and as a founding member of the Savano team, has been instrumental in formulating and executing Savano’s direct secondary investment strategy. As a Principal in BSDCP I and then Partner in SCP II, Bion has sourced and led many of the firm’s investments including Upwork (NASDAQ: UPWK), Silver Peak, Nintex, Endgame, DrFirst, Automattic, Simplus and Fastly (NASDAQ: FSLY). While at Savano, Bion attended the Kauffman Fellows Program and is a member of the Class 18.

Prior to joining Tom and Gus at SmithDefieux, Bion was a member of the Financial Management Program at Genworth Financial, GE Capital’s finance assurance arm. Bion has been active with startup companies since founding his first venture in 2002. His sixth and final startup became one of the top 800 sites on the Internet and was acquired in late 2006. Bion is a published author and his book about his last startup sold over 25,000 copies worldwide.

Outside of Savano, Bion is an avid pilot and cyclist. He also sits on the Gen C Board of the Nature Conservancy. Bion graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Economics. Bion is married with one child.

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Gus Koven

Operating Partner & Chief Compliance Officer

With more than 25 years of experience in the private equity business, Gus has extensive hands-on experience in leveraged buy-outs, as well as early-stage and expansion-stage investing. Additionally, Gus has more than a decade of experience in corporate mergers and acquisitions and business development.

Prior to co-founding Savano, Gus was a General Partner and co-founder of SmithDefieux Capital Partners. Before SmithDefieux he was a Managing Director of Knickerbocker LLC’s private equity investment program, where he managed both direct investments and private equity/venture fund LP commitments. Previously, Gus was General Partner with Edison Ventures, where he led numerous successful growth-stage investments in the software, financial services and business services sectors. Prior to Edison Ventures, Gus was Vice President of Corporate Development at The Chase Manhattan Bank and later became President of the Chase Manhattan Capital Corporation, where he led the highly successful private equity business. Gus started his career in a corporate development role with Union Carbide.

Gus earned his MBA from Columbia University and his BE from Stevens Institute of Technology.

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Mark Collins

Advisory Partner

Mark has over 30 years of venture capital and private equity experience, with over 15 years of experience in managing assets for high net worth clients as a partner and the founder of the Private Equity Group at Brown Advisory. Mark is also responsible for initiating Brown Advisory’s alternative asset investments, including venture capital, private equity, hedge funds and other specialty capabilities. 

Prior to working at Brown Advisory, Mark was an investment banker at First Boston. He has also served in the International Division of the U.S. Treasury Department, as well as U.S. Director to the World Bank. Subsequently, Mark was a partner at Trinity International, where his responsibilities included development of emerging markets private equity funds.

Mark is currently the Chairman of the Dillon Trust Company, as well as a director of several private companies and a trustee/advisor for several family offices. Mark earned his MBA from Columbia University and his BA from Middlebury College.

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kyle adkins


Kyle has over seven years of private/growth equity investing, M&A, and advisory with growth-stage, mid-market, and large-cap companies primarily in technology and tech-enabled services. Kyle joined Savano in 2016 and is based in Washington, DC.

Before joining Savano, Kyle worked as an associate at both Golden Gate Capital in San Francisco and The Halifax Group in Washington, DC where he gained a combination of investing and operating experience through the sourcing, evaluating, and managing/negotiating of mid-market buyout investments as well as supporting and working in-depth with several portfolio companies on key corporate initiatives.  Prior to that, Kyle began his career as an investment banking analyst at J.P. Morgan in their Technology, Media, and Telecom group in New York working on both buy-side and sell-side advisory work, initial public offerings, and debt financings.

Kyle earned a S.B. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with minors in Management and Political Science.

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Matt good


Matt has over seven years of investment banking, M&A, and operating experience with growth companies. Matt joined Savano in 2015 and is based in Baltimore.  Prior to joining Savano, Matt was Director of Corporate Development at Genesis HealthCare, a NYSE-traded health services company, focusing on acquisitions of skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers.  Matt previously gained extensive operating experience at High Street Partners, a venture-backed, international business services company.  HSP was successfully sold in 2014 to Nair & Co., a portfolio company of HgCapital.  Matt began his career as an investment banking analyst at Signal Hill advising middle-market companies on M&A and financing transactions. 

Matt earned a B.S. in Finance from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia.

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pierce dunn

Venture Partner

Pierce is chairman of the Haines Company, the largest wholesale distributor of floor coverings in North America. He serves on the YPO International Board as vice chair and chair of the Strategy Committee. YPO  is the leading global organization of CEOs with over 24,000 members in 130 countries. Pierce was a partner and Senior Advisor with Brown Advisory from 2007 through 2013 and served as a director of Brown Advisory Funds plc. Pierce has over 30 years of entrepreneurial experience, including service as CEO of the Kirk Stieff Company and co-founder and chairman of MIRCON, an environmental services firm serving the commercial real estate and property & casualty insurance industries.
Previously, Pierce served as Managing Director-Europe for TESSCO Technologies and began his career as an attorney at Venable.
Pierce earned his MBA from Loyola University, his JD from Georgetown University and his BA from Princeton University.


Venture Partner

Ann Bilyew has more than 20 years of experience investing in and leading healthcare companies.  She served as an investing partner and board member to MDeverywhere.  She then joined the company full-time as its Chief Executive Officer in 2007.  Prior to MDeverywhere, she served as General Partner of Advent International and as a member of the Investment Committee and led or participated in many of Advent’s investments.  Prior to Advent, she spent five years with APM/CSC Healthcare, which was acquired by Computer Sciences Corporation as the foundation for CSC Healthcare.   

Bilyew received a BS degree Summa Cum Laude from the University of Kansas and a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.


Venture Partner

Frank Tower.jpg

Frank Tower is president of the Square 1 Bank Division and executive vice president of Pacific Western Bank. Prior to Pacific Western Bank's acquisition of Square 1, Frank served as executive vice president of Square 1's banking practice on the East Coast. Previous experience also includes roles as senior vice president and senior credit officer during his 10-year tenure at Silicon Valley Bank. He was also a founding general partner of Gold Hill Capital, an independent venture debt firm, and has over 20 years of experience financing high growth, venture-backed technology and life science companies.

He earned a BS in Finance and Investments from Babson College.

Coral Bruce

Executive Assistant

Coral joined Savano in January 2019 and supports the team as Executive Assistant.  Coral comes to us with an energetic attitude having substantial prior experience in banking, corporate marketing, and most recently spending over 8 years with the QuestMark Partners team in Baltimore. 

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