We are First In.

Our firm is built on integrity, hard work, and a “get it done” attitude. Our shared values of confidence with humility, performance first, and mission always guide us. The team has been purpose-built for all phases of the investment life cycle. We are the right team for our market.

Investment Team

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RENNY MCPHERSON

Managing Partner

Renny works with enterprise technology founders from the earliest days. Prior to First In, he invested in the first financing rounds of more than a dozen companies. A veteran startup founder, he co-founded security company RedOwl Analytics in 2012. RedOwl was acquired by Forcepoint (Raytheon) in 2017. Most recently he was a principal from 2017 – 2020 at an independent investment management firm, Brown Advisory, with more than $75 billion in assets under management.

Renny began his career as a Marine Corps intelligence officer and served in Iraq and East Asia. He went on to work in national security and intelligence policy at RAND from 2007–2009, during which time he researched and analyzed issues pertaining to national security.

Renny’s work has been profiled in The Washington Post, NPR, and Inc.com. He is a graduate of Harvard College cum laude and Harvard Business School.

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ARTHUR KARELL

Partner

Arthur joined First In as a Partner in 2022 and leads the firm’s investments in defense and dual-use technologies, industrial automation, and digital asset security.

He began his career as an attorney with Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, and then volunteered for service in the United States Marine Corps as an infantry officer, serving as a platoon commander and executive officer with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, and later as an advisor team leader with Special Operations Joint Task Force – Afghanistan. Following active duty, Arthur joined FiscalNote (NYSE: NOTE) as its fifth employee. As FiscalNote’s general counsel and head of corporate development, he helped grow the startup into a global policy and market intelligence platform. He then joined the legal team at Anduril Industries, where he led its defense technology contracting with special forces and international partners, and created Anduril’s corporate development team. He sourced, negotiated, and closed acquisitions of autonomous aircraft, submarine, and ground sensor companies. Arthur went on to join the founding team of Seashell Financial, a digital asset technology firm and became an advisor for Iris Technology Inc., a computer vision AI company.

Arthur received his A.B. from Harvard University and J.D. from the University of Virginia.

Advisors

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LENORE KARAFA

Partner

Lenore brings more than two decades of experience selecting and developing high performance leaders and teams. She focuses on enabling companies to scale through organizational management, connecting strategy to execution, and ensuring leaders grow with their organizations. Lenore currently serves as the President of Bunker Labs’ Board of Directors, a 501c(3) supporting military connected entrepreneurs with curriculum, connections, and capital.Lenore served in the Marine Corps from 2000 – 2007. She began her post-military career as an investment banker at BofA. Lenore was previously Head of People at Citadel and Managing Partner at McChrystal Group, overseeing a period of rapid growth and supporting clients in technology and finance.Lenore holds a BS from the United States Naval Academy and an MBA in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Q

MAGGIE ENGLER

Advisor, Technology

Maggie Engler is a technologist and researcher focused on mitigating abuses in the online ecosystem. Currently, she is working on the safety of large language models at Inflection AI.

Previously, Maggie built machine learning systems for policy enforcement at Twitter and taught at the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. Before that, she led data science development at Global Disinformation Index and worked on authentication and modeling user behavior at Duo Security.

Maggie holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University with a Notation in Science Communication with distinction and was an Assembly fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

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ISH BOYLE

Advisor, Go-To-Market

Ish brings deep experience from investing in and advising start-ups for over six years. He has invested in initial financing rounds of over a half-dozen companies. His background in sales and go-to-market strategies enables him to help companies with their licensing models, hiring initiatives, sales methodologies, board development and institutional capital raising.

Ish is the CEO of Caveonix, the purpose-built hybrid cloud native application protection platform. Previously, Ish was a sales leader at Zscaler working with a team to support many Fortune 1000 clients in their digital transformation. Prior to Zscaler, he was a sales leader and individual contributor at Splunk, the World’s first data-to-everything platform. He began his career as a Marine Corps infantry officer.

Ish has served on the board of local and national not for profits that support our veterans, military families, and fallen heroes, and for several years was a regular contributor to Huffington Post on matters pertaining to the military. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy.

Q

PATRICK METKE

Advisor, Strategy and Dual-Use Technology

Patrick brings extensive domain experience at the nexus of national security and the private sector. He is a management consultant in a global management consulting firm’s government practice, where he uses operational data science to solve interagency and defense client concerns. He also owns Hello Garage of Raleigh, a garage transformation business seeking to promote veteran- and military-spouse-operated ventures.

Recently retired after a 20+ year military career, Patrick served as a United States Army officer in a special mission unit and the Special Forces. Prior to Army special operations roles, he served as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps.

Patrick received an MBA from London Business School, an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a BA from Hobart College.

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BOBBY TUOHY

Advisor, Technology

Bobby brings deep experience in technology to First In as an Advisor. He is currently Head of Studio at 25 Madison focusing on supply chain. Previously, he was Director of Product at Flashpoint and Head of Product at Echosec Systems, a cybersecurity threat intelligence platform.

He has worked in operations, product management, and hardware design across government agencies, military units, and commercial companies. He conducts technical diligence and advises portfolio companies on technology and growth opportunities.

Bobby is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and a graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He received his MBA at Harvard Business School and a Master in Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

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BRIAN SCHMANSKE

Advisor, Strategy and Dual-Use Technology

Brian Schmanske is a veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Senior Intelligence Service, successfully delivering space and ground technology solutions to operations. He recently focused on scaling and operationalizing artificial intelligence-enabled capabilities, working with non-traditional contractors and start-up firms to provide data and quickly deliver capabilities. He previously served in the United States Marine Corps, serving in Air Defense, Systems Acquisition, and Intelligence roles. Following government service, he founded a strategic advisory firm to help small companies penetrate the defense and intelligence marketplace.

Brian has a B.S in Electrical Engineering, with Honors, from the Pennsylvania State University and a D.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the George Washington University, where he conducted research on medical imaging and image quality. He also completed an MBA in Finance and Strategy Management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating as a Palmer Scholar.

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DR. JOSH LOSPINOSO

Advisor, Technology

Josh is an expert at sourcing technical leaders and mentoring technical founders. He is CEO of Shift5, a company making the world’s fleets smarter and safer. He is an entrepreneur with deep expertise in cybersecurity, data science, and system software engineering. In 2012, he co-founded RedOwl Analytics, an insider threat detection platform acquired by Raytheon/Forcepoint in 2017.

Josh is a US Army veteran, having served 10 years as a cyber officer leading teams within the Department of Defense, Army Cyber Command, and the Cyber National Mission Force.

Josh is the author of C++ Crash Course (No Starch Press, 2019), dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles spanning multiple disciplines, and multiple patents.