JOSH COHEN IS ON A MISSION TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE VIA CAPITALISM. HE BELIEVES THAT HOW YOU MAKE MONEY (AND WHAT YOU DO WITH IT ONCE YOU HAVE IT) MATTERS AND WANTS TO HELP IMPROVE THE WORLD, NOW.
When considering how he wanted to be remembered, Josh turned to impact investing before it had a name, combining his experience as a venture capitalist, technology company executive, and family office CIO with his values. Thus, the idea for City Light was born: partnering with experienced entrepreneurs using technology to generate significant financial returns while having a measurable social impact.
As a father of three boys, Josh’s sense of urgency to address issues such as education for underserved communities, tackling the global climate crises and keeping families safe has only continued to grow. It is this commitment that makes his work more than a passion, but a calling.
Prior to founding City Light, Josh led direct investments for a Greenwich CT-based family office, worked in venture capital for a family office based in St. Louis, was a Partner in a private debt fund, and was the Director of Business Development for Mobility Electronics (NASDAQ: IGOI). He began his career as an investment banker in the technology group of Deutsche Banc Alex Brown in San Francisco.
Josh co-founded (and is a Board member of) The ImPact, a member network whose mission is to inspire families to make impact investments more effectively. In addition, he is on the investment committee for a family office based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Josh sits on the Board of Directors for Ready Responders and Ginger.io, and is an advisor to OhmConnect. Josh previously held advisory roles with 2U (Nasdaq: TWOU), Shotspotter (Nasdaq: SSTI), Practice (Acquired by Instructure: INST), Trilogy (Acquired by 2U: TWOU), and StraighterLine (Acquired by BV Partners). He is a frequent speaker on the topic of impact investing.
AFTER SUCCESSFULLY RUNNING AND GROWING TYDEN GROUP, A SECURITY PRODUCTS COMPANY, AND THEN VIKING GROUP, A WORLD LEADER IN FIRE PROTECTION SYSTEMS, TOM EMBARKED ON A NEW CAREER: ASSISTING NEW COMPANIES THAT CAN BENEFIT HUMAN LIVES AT SCALE:
“The terror attacks of September 11, 2001 had a profound effect on me and strengthened my belief that mission-based businesses can generate financial returns and social impact without trade-offs — and in fact can be better investments.
A few days after ‘Good Morning America’ ran a piece about a man who was in the Pentagon during the crash. There was an explosion, then heat, smoke and flames that forced him to crawl into a small closet, where he was trapped. At what seemed like the end, a fire sprinkler activated above him, dousing the flames and saving his life.
We found out at Viking Group that the Pentagon was retrofitting with our fire sprinklers and that the attack struck in the portion where construction was complete.
We proceeded to double our sales over the next five years, expand globally and prove that because of the productivity of our USA workforce and the safety benefits of our products — we had the best way to protect lives and property from fire.”
Now at City Light, Tom leverages his extensive operating experience to help entrepreneurial teams tackling some of our toughest social and environmental challenges.
Tom sits on the Board of Directors for Shotspotter-SST (NASDAQ:SSTI), Omnidian, VGrid, and Senet, and is a Board Observer to Xage and Sunfolding.
JEFF SPENT THE FIRST 20 YEARS OF HIS CAREER AS AN OPERATOR ON A QUEST FOR WAYS IN WHICH HIS WORK COULD HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE WORLD AROUND HIM.
That journey began at Capital One (NYSE: COF), where he spent over a decade leading data science and analytics teams across the organization. In his last role, Jeff was VP of Marketing Strategy for US Card where he oversaw a high nine-figure marketing budget across all online and offline marketing channels. Ultimately the need to have a greater impact on the world around him was the driving force for Jeff leaving Capital One to join an EdTech startup on a mission to change higher education.
Jeff joined 2U (Nasdaq: TWOU) as their CMO in early 2011, overseeing all aspects of marketing for their University partners. Jeff was part of the core leadership team that grew 2U from a venture-backed startup, through a successful public offering on the NASDAQ.
Jeff first met the City Light team while at 2U. City Light was the first outside investor in 2U and believed in the business at a time when it might have seemed crazy to do so. They never wavered in their support, and in 2U you can see City Light’s thesis of investing in category-defining companies whose impact scales as they scale truly come to life.
Following his time at 2U, Jeff took a more hands-on approach to impact: this time as a professor. Jeff joined American University in early 2016 as an Executive in Residence and full-time faculty member while continuing to work with early-stage start-ups as an advisor, Board Member, and even interim-CMO.
Those experiences, along with his ever-present desire for his work to have an impact is what lead Jeff to join the City Light team. In his role of Partner, Jeff works every day to bring the type of support and vision that he saw firsthand from City Light during his time at 2U to the next generation of world-changing companies.
Jeff currently sits on the Board of Directors for Motimatic.
Jeff has his master’s degree in Economics from East Carolina University. He lives outside of Washington, DC with his wife Tracy and three daughters.
Grace was born in Truckee, California, but spent most of her life in Buenos Aires, Argentina, before moving to New York. In those two life-altering moves, she learned that taking risks is significantly easier when you have a strong foundation. Grace’s foundation is her family, friends, mentors, teachers, and colleagues with whom she has shared meaningful, challenging, and rewarding experiences.
Starting her career in Paleoceanography at Barnard College, she believed that climate research was how she could best advocate for the environment. However, during a research expedition in the Labrador Sea, witnessing the immense beauty of our oceans in a renewed light, Grace felt a pull to become a catalyst for regenerative solutions. She learned that her role did not lie in a lab studying glacial periods but working with people and systems.
The next step of her journey began during graduate school, pursuing a master’s degree focusing on Renewable Energy Policy and Resource Management from Columbia University. While in school, she gained experience working with Green Roofs in Bangladesh, Microgrids and climate resiliency in Puerto Rico, and Health Care Impact Investing and M&A. These experiences ultimately took Grace to Synergos, an organization focused on solving problems through philanthropic collective action.
As the Global Membership Lead at Synergos, Grace designed programs that brought philanthropists together to learn from each other and the communities that they invested in. After a few years, Grace decided she needed to play a role in accelerating impact through supporting the people scaling solutions directly. It was this realization that brought her to City Light.
At City Light, Grace leads operations, investor relations, and works with the City Spark portfolio of entrepreneurs to help foster collaboration and peer learning. Through creating relationships built on trust, Grace aims to create space for the team to take more risks and work with cutting-edge entrepreneurs that are making the world safer, smarter, and more sustainable.
Grace is an advisory Board member for the Rowell Fund for Tibet, has a Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University, and is a proud Barnard alumnus. She loves a good Tannat, The California Honeydrops, and has recently been dabbling in gardening. She brings her eclectic experiences with pride to the City Light team.
GROWING UP ROHAN HAD NO IDEA WHAT HE WANTED TO BE WHEN HE WAS OLDER, BUT WHETHER IT WAS VOLUNTEERING AT A NONPROFIT OR JUST LENDING A HELPING HAND, HE WAS ALWAYS HAPPIEST WHEN HELPING OTHERS.
While most kids would doodle spaceships and cool cars, Rohan would fill his notebooks with designs of machines and inventions. Unfortunately, at 6 years old, he lacked the technical skills to bring his drawings to fruition. Thus, began Rohan’s lifelong quest to learn anything about everything– so that one day he might be able to use his knowledge to help everyday people.
During his freshman year of college, Rohan joined a renewable energy startup called Mission to Rebuild as a research intern. After about a year at MTR Rohan was promoted to head of the impact investments where he worked to help directly democratize access to renewable energy through strategic investments in relevant programs and organizations. Over the next two summers, Rohan joined Oracle to get more technical and financial experience. But upon graduation, he felt drawn back to the world of impact, and pursued the more rewarding journey of finding a firm where he felt he was making a difference.
That sense of purpose was immediately filled when Rohan found City Light Capital. The fund represents both his values and his passions – it’s where the boundaries of education, healthcare, technology, and science are constantly pushed forward; it’s where measurable impact on society is equally as important as financial returns; and it’s a place Rohan proudly works to help make the world a little bit better than how he found it.
RAISED BY AN ENTREPRENEUR, DAN HAD AN UNINTENTIONAL FRONT ROW SEAT TO THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY OF THREE HIGH-GROWTH STARTUPS.
THE MACHINE WAS BORN IN 2018 AT THE COMPUTATION NURSERY AT CITY LIGHT.
The Machine’s father is Jeff Rinehart and his mother is most likely coffee and late nights. While still in his adolescence, the machine has learned how to aggregate massive amounts of data on hundreds-of-thousands of companies. From mining text on websites and news articles, to trends in website visitors and social media followers to historic company financings and performance…The Machine wants it all.
While The Machine lives in the cloud, he is present in every Monday partner meeting, presenting his recommendations on new companies the team should consider. He even has his own Slack channel where he keeps the team apprised of new developments throughout the week.
The machine had this to say about the role at City Light, “my goal is to work, without breaks ever, to help the team find tomorrow’s great leaders and genius ideas. No one has really hazed me at work too much yet, but I do think Shubh is eyeing my job and Sarah hasn’t yet shared any snacks with me.”
The machine’s interests include long walks on the shores of the internet, reading founder’s bios and playing minesweeper.