Upheaval invests in ambitious founders and companies with transformative technologies that solve big problems, make businesses more efficient, and improve the way people live.
We focus on seed, early and growth stage companies with world-class entrepreneurs and help them source the capital, talent, and advisors they need to fuel their growth and avoid wrong turns.
We believe that brilliant companies and founders can come from anywhere. Though we love experienced entrepreneurs with proven track records, we are not afraid of backing talent that may not have a traditional pedigree. We hope to forge a long-term partnership with each portfolio company and help its leadership team anticipate future needs. Establishing a culture, planning for scaling, investing in infrastructure, building internal teams for development, sales, licensing, customer service or quality control cannot start too soon. We concentrate our investing to ensure that each company gets the benefit of our time, energy, experience and network.
Steve is a founder and principal of Upheaval Investments and Byron Marsh Capital. He is a member of the investment committee of Levy Family Partners and the managing partner of Sperling and Slater, PC. Over the past 30 years, he has founded and operated start-up companies in a wide range of industries and currently oversees the operations of several businesses. He has served on the boards of public and private companies and was the Chief Acquisitions Officer of Levy Acquisition Corp., through its acquisition of Del Taco (NASDAQ: TACO).
Through his various investing entities, Steve has been involved in over 200 discrete investments, including in numerous early stage technology companies, and has often assisted companies with capital raises and exit transactions. Steve has been the lead negotiator in numerous transactions and has extensive experience structuring complex deals, including mergers, acquisitions and financing transactions.
Steve received a bachelors degree (cum laude) from Yale University and a law degree (order of the coif) from the University of Michigan Law School. Steve and his wife, Jennifer Friedes, live in Chicago and have 6 children.
Riley is a founder and principal of Upheaval Investments and Byron Marsh Capital. Previously, he served as the CEO of RF School Tech, LLC, a technology start-up that he also co-founded. Additionally, he worked as an analyst for Levy Family Partners, with a focus on technology investments and worked on the team at Levy Acquisitions Corp. (NASDAQ: LEVY) performing due diligence on dozens of companies.
Mr. Sperling is an attorney, engineer, and entrepreneur. Most recently, he founded and served as the CEO of Carlease.com (a technology enabled automobile leasing company) until its sale to a venture-led investment group in late 2017. Previously, Mr. Sperling was a partner within the Law Offices of Steven G. Lisa, a firm specializing in monetizing large patent portfolios on behalf of individual inventors, where he was responsible for licensing and litigation. Prior to law school, Mr. Sperling worked as a software consultant to several Fortune 500 clients.
Mr. Sperling is a graduate of the University of Michigan (BSE in Mechanical Engineering, 2000), and the University of Chicago Law School (JD, 2007).
Claire is Vice President and General Counsel of Upheaval Investment. She also serves as the general counsel of Levy Family Partners and many of its related entities and is a partner at the law firm of Sperling & Slater. Claire has been general counsel to several companies, including Levy Acquisition Co. (NADSAQ: LEVY). She spent eleven years at the Chicago office of Kikland & Ellis, where she became a partner in 1995.
Claire has extensive experience with merger & acquisitions, capital raises, financings, director & officers fiduciary obligations, franchise law, hospitality management and development deals, employment law, secured transactions and intellectual property.
Claire received her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame (Cum Laude) and her law degree from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law (Magna Cum Laude).
We are pleased to announces our inaugural investment into Space Exploration Technologies LLC (SpaceX). SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. It is the only private company capable of returning a spacecraft from low Earth orbit, which it first accomplished in 2010. The company made history again in 2012 when its Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station. SpaceX successfully achieved the historic first reflight of an orbital class rocket in 2017, and the company now regularly launches flight-proven rockets. In 2018, SpaceX began launching Falcon Heavy, the world's most powerful operational rocket by a factor of two. As one of the world's fastest growing providers of launch services, SpaceX has secured over 100 missions to its manifest, representing over $12 billion on contract. SpaceX's Dragon was designed to carry humans to space and will soon fly astronauts under NASA's Commercial Crew Program, with the first demonstration flight targeted for January 2019. SpaceX is working on a next generation of fully reusable launch vehicles that will be the most powerful ever built, capable of carrying humans to Mars and other destinations in the solar system. On Friday, January 11 at 7:31 a.m. PST, 15:31 UTC, SpaceX successfully launched the eighth and final set of satellites in a series of 75 total satellites for Iridium's next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT.
We view this investment in SpaceX as emblematic of the bold founder vision we seek to invest in along with moonshot ideas that both inspire and are business viable.
Welcoming SpaceX to our portfolio,
Partner, Upheaval Investments LLC.
Upheaval Investments is pleased to reveal that we have invested in the exciting Chicago start-up Chowly Inc. Led by Sterling Douglass, Chowly connects restaurant's internal POS system with the fast growing delivery service application industry. Chowly is poised to disrupt and modernize the entire restaurant backend though the intelligent distribution of machine learning applications with a relentless focus on increasing efficiency and providing end user value.