First Check Fund Team

Smart, Simple Investing in Seed Stage Deals

Meet Your Investment Team

Full-time investment professionals, experienced in early stage investing

Lynn-Ann Gries

Managing Partner

LinkedIn

Lynn-Ann has spent her career in the financial arena from investment banking to venture capital, working with a range of companies from startups to Fortune 1000. Most recently, she ran her own consulting firm, providing financial analysis, market research, and advisory services to entrepreneurs and regional leaders. Previously, she joined Early Stage Partners in 2016, where she led their Fund III. Prior to that, she co-founded and served as the Chief Investment Officer at JumpStart (2004-2014), investing in medical, info tech, and advance materials startups. From 1992-2001, she served as Senior Vice President for McDonald Investments, where she helped companies in equity and M&A transactions. She began her career in the mid 1980’s working for the investment banking firms Smith Barney and Morgan Stanley. Lynn-Ann holds an MBA from New York University (Stern School of Business) and a Bachelor of Arts from Smith College where she majored in Economics.

Marco Casas

Principal
Columbia MBA '17

LinkedIn

Marco is Principal at Fission Ventures, where he is responsible for sourcing and conducting due diligence on venture investments. Most recently, Marco served as Venture Fellow at Vostok Emerging Finance, where he leveraged his emerging markets expertise to perform in-depth analysis of FinTech opportunities in the region. Marco has 10 years of experience working with institutional investors, introducing them to fast-growing companies for which he helped raise over $20 billion in IPOs and secondary transactions. He received a BA in political science from Middlebury College and an MBA from Columbia University, where he focused on VC & PE investing and entrepreneurship. Marco grew up in Venezuela, finished high school in Southern Africa, and moved to New York by way of Moscow. He is fluent in Spanish and Russian, and conversational in French, Italian, and Portuguese.

Venture Fellows

Select group of young alums participating in our Venture Fellow Program

Rob Versaw

Venture Fellow

LinkedIn

Rob is a current MBA candidate at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He enjoys thought leadership and regularly publishes articles in Forbes. Rob has experience in high tech having previously led the mobile app team for Overstock.com and Vivint Smarthome. Rob currently serves as a Board Member for the Blockbox App and co-founded United In Aging, a nonprofit focused on serving the elderly LGBTQ population. In his free time, Rob is an avid traveler, having visited 49 states.

Yvonne Fung

Venture Fellow
Columbia University

LinkedIn

Yvonne is a recent graduate of Columbia Business School. She enjoys learning and teaching others about emerging technologies — late last year, she created and led a design thinking workshop on AR and VR technology for NYC Media Lab. Yvonne has experience in business design, tech M&A, and management consulting. Yvonne is an advocate for educational equity and is a member of the Junior Leadership Board for Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, a non-profit dedicated to providing educational and career opportunities to students from underserved and underrepresented communities.


Alumni Ventures Group Support Staff

The team behind the First Check Fund Investment team - freeing them to build a great venture portfolio

Chris Sacharuk

Investor Relations Manager

LinkedIn

Prior to joining AVG, Chris was a Customer Advocate at Graphic Packaging and in Sales & Marketing at Putnam Investments, where he created materials for reps and investors. He’s a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Manning School of Business, where he studied Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Studies.

Anne Miller

Investor Relations Manager

LinkedIn

Previously, Anne was an Applied Behavioral Analysis Counselor for Melmark and a medical biller for Physicians Resources. She is also a certified Certifiied Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, with her own clientele. Anne has a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of New Hampshire.

Hilary Ncala

Director of Investor Relations

LinkedIn

Prior to joining AVG, Hilary was a Staffing Executive and Program Manager at Robert Half. Previous positions include Retirement Planning & Guidance Consultant for Fidelity and an Investor Assistant for an independent investor. She has a Bachelor of Science, Business Management & Marketing from Fisher College.

Jamie Eitel

Community Relations Manager

LinkedIn

Jamie was the Clinical Secretary Sr for Pediatric Gastroenterology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Earlier, he served as a Claims Processor Associate and then a Senior Associate at Cigna Health. He has also served in multiple church youth ministries for over 15 years throughout Ontario, Canada, in many different cultural contexts. He was part of the adjunct faculty in the youth ministry department at Tyndale University College. He has a BA in Psychology from York University, a Masters of Divinity from Tyndale Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.