Our founding principles
A unique ecosystem
with deep and relevant industry, geographic and functional expertise
The Kharis Team
The founders bring a unique combination of private equity expertise and years of experience managing and partnering with prominent family offices. Our investment and support team comes with relevant investment, advisory and operational backgrounds, and is located in our offices in Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Laurent Vermer is an experienced investment executive and operator with specific sector expertise in consumer goods and the agroindustry. He joined Kharis Capital to lead selective investments in the consumer space, while maintaining his own consulting and investment activities in the global food- and agroindustry.
Prior to joining Kharis Capital, Laurent was an investment director with BeCapital, a private equity fund launched by Cobepa, which he helped raise and focused on European cleantech companies.
From 2004 to 2009, he served with AB InBev in M&A and sales management roles. Prior to that, he was working in M&A and Project Financing for Suez Energy, first in Brazil, then in Italy.
Laurent holds an M.B.A. from INSEAD and a BA degree from Solvay Business School. He is fluent in Dutch, French, English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.
Alexander Carlier* joined Kharis Capital in September 2015. He participates in the analysis and valuation of new investment opportunities, develops financial models for operational and investment purposes and provides support to the management of portfolio companies.
Prior to joining Kharis Capital, Alexander worked as Manager Business Modelling at E&Y in Brussels. Prior to that, he held similar positions in the consultancy and banking industry. During his career he was involved in many transactions on behalf of private equity funds and corporate clients across several industries (energy, consumer goods, infrastructure, etc.).
Alexander holds a Master’s degree in Commercial Sciences with a major in Accountancy and Taxation, in addition he is a Charted Financial Analyst.
*as permanent representative of Calibrated Capital bvba
David is in charge of administration, finance and data management.
David created a consultancy company in 2012, which focuses on organizational and finance support, assisting companies in a variety of sectors, including in computer retail sector (Redcorp) in cobalt production (GTL) and in the finance industry (Kharis).
David started his professional career as Sales & Finance Manager in Solbena, a textile company in Lubumbashi (Democratic Republic of Congo). After 10 years in DRC he founded a Brussels-based trading company, CRE, in 1999 and then 4 years later Zefood , a food production factory specialized in “dietary” meals.
He is also a co-founder and member of the board in PaperBrick, an investment company focusing on real estate certification.
David holds a master degree in management (“ingénieur de gestion”) from the Solvay Business School, which is part of the Université Libre de Bruxelles , and a “post graduate in international trade.
David is a member of Rotary club since 1989 and golfing is his main hobby. *permanent representative of Douenias C. & T. sprl
Lionel Schreiber joined Kharis Capital in 2016. He is a seasoned investment professional with cross industry and functional experience.
Prior to Kharis, Lionel worked for McKinsey & Company (management consulting), Cobepa (private equity) and Engie China (investments in energy projects).
Lionel graduated from Imperial College London and HEC Paris and is a Certified International Investment Analyst. He is fluent in English, Dutch and French.
Rajaa brings 20 years of PE and industry experience in Consumer- and Food-related sectors across Europe and emerging markets, where she developed long- term trust-based relationships and networks, in particular with Family Offices and entrepreneurs. She joined Kharis Capital in 2016 to head the Syndicate and Partnerships. Before Kharis, Rajaa was the founding partner of Maera Capital, an advisory and co- investment boutique dedicated to private investors with a focus on consumer and agribusiness investments.
There, she sourced, executed and monitored a number of direct investments on behalf of international family offices and companies. Rajaa ´s Private Equity career started at Draper Fischer Jurvetson, the leading US Venture firm before joining Lazard European Private Equity Partners, of which she was a founding principal.
She became later an Associate Director at Change Capital Partners (www.changecapitalpartners.com), a PE fund that focused on European mid cap investments in the consumer/FMCG/retail sectors. ?
Rajaa ´s first work experience was at Procter & Gamble where she led brand management projects in the Household Products division in France, the UK and Germany during 4 years.
She holds a number of mandates as a non- executive director with family investment holding companies and is a Trustee of Positive Planet UK, a registered charity. Rajaa is a graduate of HEC Grande Ecole in France and holds an INSEAD MBA.
She speaks English, French, German, Spanish and Arabic.
She is the elected Chairwoman (2018-2020) of Luxembourg Private Equity Association (www.lpea.lu). As such, she is a regular guest speaker at PE conferences in Europe and is a mentor for young talents keen to enter the PE industry.
Marc Benatar has a strong corporate development, operational and investment background in the healthcare and consumer space. Prior to joining Kharis Capital, he worked over 8 years with 3i in the London and Paris offices focusing on the healthcare and consumer spaces. He then spent over a year with in a family owned private equity firm on consumer transactions. He started his career in corporate development with Waste Management and then General Electric for over 10 years across Europe where he held broad range of international managerial positions lead numerous acquisitions and divestitures.
His extended network, multi country deal making experience and hands-on operational exposure allows him to secure and manage transactions with a genuine ability to contribute to the performance of the businesses alongside the leadership teams. Marc was raise in Democratic Republic of Congo and graduated from Solvay Business School in 1992
J. William Tavelli
J. William Tavelli, a California native based in Zug, is our Swiss Office Representative driving Kharis' Organizational Ecosystem.
J. William brings with him over 20 years of international financial & marketing expertise and has been responsible for actively leading connectivity among our Family Office Investor base since 2015.
Prior to joining Kharis, J. William served for seven years as Country Marketing Officer at Citigroup Private Bank's UHNW Division in Zurich & Geneva; subsequently joining Swiss Red Cross International Events to coordinate their fundraising efforts through Corporate & Donor Partnerships. He continues to sit on the Board of several nonprofit organizations.
J. William, fluent in both French and German, is a graduate of the American Graduate School of Business in La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland from where he holds Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of International Business Administration degrees.
As entrepreneurs at heart, our close circle of friends & entrepreneurs come with tremendous drive, leadership skills and a strong desire to continuously learn and share experiences. Below are a few takeaways derived from the companies they have founded or managed.
Founder and CEO of Toluna
Loyalty The power of listening and building for the long-term
Frédéric Petit founded Toluna in 2000 in Paris France. Frederic’s ultimate objective is to transform the Market Research industry into a mass market and social experience.
At the core of Frédéric’s vision is toluna.com, the social voting community. Toluna.com’s role is to engage consumers to participate and generate millions of votes and polls around every day topics thus making consumer generated research a reality.
Frédéric holds a Masters degree in comparative jurisprudence from New York University and a diploma in advanced studies in international economic law from the Sorbonne in Paris (D.E.A.). He practiced as a French lawyer in the corporate department of Allen & Overy’s Paris office, before establishing Toluna in May 2000. Frédéric is a frequent speaker at industry events including ESOMAR and CASRO.
Executive Board Member Burger King SEE
Asymmetry Aim for asymmetric risk/return profiles
Emmanuel Poznanski is an advisor to Kharis Capital and an executive board member of Burger King SEE.
Prior to his assignment at Burger King SEE Emmanuel was, from early 2008 till end 2014, responsible for the direct investments at the the Edmond Safra Philanthropic Foundation, working directly together with Manuel Roumain.
Emmanuel started his professional career at Glencore UK where he spent 2 years in the Oil Department, followed by more than 8 years at Goldman Sachs in London trading emerging markets and European equities. He also spent 2 years at Merrill Lynch proprietary trading desk before joining the Edmond Safra Philanthropic Foundation in Geneva.
Co-founder of Ginkgo
Impact Aim high, set course, yet pragmatically move towards it
After more than 20 years of experience in management consulting, entrepreneurship and management, Simon Cohn co-founded GinkGo in 2010, with his partner Alexander de Wit. GinkGo is a consulting firm specializing in strategy and organization, change management, and coaching, servicing among others portfolio companies of private investment funds.
Simon specializes in change management and management’s development.
His key strengths lie in his listening, structuring and creativity. As part of his approach, he always strives to connect to the individual behind the function.
His experience draws on his activities with several consulting firms - McKinsey (1999-2003), Lotem Organizational Development (1995-1996), Adam Selection & Recruitment (1991-1994) -, his management responsibilities at PASS (Deputy CEO 2003-2005) as well as an extensive experience in the informal education field.
A Belgian and Israeli national, Simon Cohn holds a Master of Organizational Behavior (Faculty of Management of Tel Aviv) as well as a degree in Psychology and in Middle East History (University of Tel Aviv).
Simon is also active in non-profit organizations, the education of his three children and several entrepreneurial projects.
CEO and co-founder of VizEat
Authenticity True moments of sharing are underpinned by authenticity and generosity
Jean-Michel is the co-founder and CEO of sharing economy company VizEat, the european leader of social dining.
Until 2013, he was for 12 years the Director of Investments and a board member of London-quoted VC firm Eurovestech, specialized in Internet and software start-ups.
He was previously a member of the senior executive team of Compaq France, in charge of CRM and E-commerce and the SVP EMEA Business Development of search engine AltaVista.
Jean-Michel is a graduate from ESCP Europe.
Chairman & CEO of Valtech
Agility The ability of thinking and moving swiftly to deliver memorable experiences
Sebastian Lombardo is a seasoned serial entrepreneur with a strong financial and leadership background. Lately, Sebastian has an extensive and successful experience at creating, investing and managing several successful companies in the IT industry, among which are the following:
- Chairman & CEO and main individual shareholder of Valtech, a world leading Digital Marketing PowerHouse
- Founder and Main Shareholder at Novedia Group SA, an innovative IT Services company focused on the Web & Mobile convergence
- Co-Founder, main shareholder at VeePee S.A, a leading French network services and software platform for t he media industry sold to Spie Communications
- Investor and strategic advisor at Email-Vision, listed at Euronext and bought out by a US based fund, Francisco Partners
- Co-Founder and Main Shareholder at Wap Research. The company has been sold to Devoteam SA
- Acquirer and main shareholder of Assigraph international. The company has been sold to Pacte Novation SA
Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Sebastian has worked as a financial analyst in the IT Sector at Global Equities and as a Systems Engineer at Apple Computer Inc.
Sebastian holds an MBA in Finance and Technology Management from Grenoble Graduate School of Business
Co-founder and CEO of Vita Coco
Simplicity Keep things “stupidly simple”™
Michael Kirban is the co-founder and CEO of Vita Coco. He helped create the fresh coconut water category in the U.S. in 2004 when he co-founded Vita Coco in New York City, personally going door-to-door on his roller blades and introducing bodegas and grocery stores to coconut water.
Under Mike's leadership, Vita Coco has grown from a two-man start-up to a global operation with hundreds of employees, offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia and manufacturing facilities in South America, Asia and Mexico.
Mike is a classic "born entrepreneur." He started selling home-grown tomatoes to his grandmother's bridge club when he was just 8 years old. By the mid-90s, he started a software business serving the corporate hospitality industry, and in 2004, he founded Vita Coco coconut water.
Mike is a college drop out who operates on a simple philosophy: be an entrepreneur because you want to control your destiny.
Executive director and co-owner of Expertise et Qualité Sociales
Daring Who has not dared has not lived
After the first part of his professional life dedicated on business, Benoît decided to focus on the field of mental health.
Since 2007, Benoît is co-owner and co-director of a private company caring for autistic and mentally disabled adults in Belgium, Expertise et Qualité Sociales (www.carrosse.be). It hosts around 600 residents in 15 locations, and has a staff that amounts to 500 persons.
Graduated from the Solvay business school in Brussels and Harvard Graduate Business School, Benoît started at PetroFina. After he moved to Argentina to join McKinsey & Co, he quickly launched its own ventures, together with two associates and acted as a director of an early-stage retail-focused private equity fund, Global Retail Investors.
Former key Executive Carrefour, Metro and McDonalds
Scrutiny Relentless focus on execution and attention to detail
Member of the Board of Directors at B&M Retail Ltd, (Lead Director) Liverpool (UK), Member of the Board of Directors Geberit AG, Rapperswil-Jona (CH) and Chairman of the Board of Directors BK SEE (BE), Thomas M. Hübner completed a Master’s degree in International Restaurant & Hospitality Management at Hotel Management School in Zurich in 1982.
In 1996, he received an Executive MBA from the University of St. Gallen (HSG). Today, he works as an independent consultant and board member. From 2011 to 2013, Thomas M. Hübner was Executive Director Europe & International Partnerships and a member of the Group Executive Board at Carrefour SA (FR), where his responsibilities included an increased focus on the international franchising and joint-venture business in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
From 2008 to 2011, he was both Chairman of the Board of Directors of Citrus International (CH) and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Contract Farming India (CH). At Metro Cash & Carry International GmbH (DE), he was Chief Operating Officer for Eastern Europe and Russia from 2000 to 2002, and CEO from 2002 to 2008. With his man focus being on Internationalization, discipline in business processes and empowerment of the regions/countries.
He also held the role of CEO at Prodega AG (CH) from 1996 to 2000. Prior to this, he was responsible for the Czech Republic and Slovakia at McDonald’s from 1990 to 1995 and was Chief Operating Officer in Switzerland from 1988 to 1990. Furthermore, for three years up to 2014 he was Co-Chairman of ECR (Efficient Consumer Response) Europe, the most important European retail and manufacturer association.