GOVO Venture Partners, with Jonathan Kilman as a co-founder, launches $50M venture fund
Jonathan Kilman is partnering with industry experts to launch a new venture fund.

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Jonathan Kilman, Rob Panepinto and Brian D’Ambrosio will serve as general partners.

GOVO Venture Partners is launching a $50 million dollar venture fund that will invest in startups for which doing business with governments or navigating government regulations is integral to growth.

While not geographically limited, the fund will also seek to leverage its partners’ and advisors’ ties to Florida’s innovation hubs. GOVO Fund had its first close in December and will continue to raise capital.

The fund’s general partners are Jonathan Kilman, Rob Panepinto, Brian D’Ambrosio and Winter Park, Florida-based 1858 Capital Partners. All three have professional backgrounds in government and regulated industries as well as experience supporting the growth of early-stage companies.

Kilman is the co-founder and Chairman of Miami-based public affairs firm Converge Public Strategies. Converge is a national firm that provides state, local and multistate government affairs services, communications services and digital services to private and public sector clients.

In addition to its Miami headquarters, Converge has a presence in Orlando, Jacksonville and Tallahassee. It also has offices in major cities, such as New York, New Orleans and Houston. It also recently expanded into Illinois and Missouri.

In addition, Kilman serves as the Chair of the Board of Advisors of Axiom, a fast-growing Florida-based healthcare company offering an innovative model for providing services to patients with lymphatic disorders.

“The fund is a natural outgrowth of the career trajectories of our general partners. Our investment thesis is closely tied to an area in which each of us has extensive experience — government-related business. We intend to invest in outstanding entrepreneurs leading companies that can benefit not just from our capital, but from our combined expertise and professional networks,” said Kilman, who holds a law degree from Harvard and a finance degree from the University of Florida.

Panepinto will serve as the Managing Partner of GOVO Venture Partners. He has over 25 years of experience in scaling high-growth companies and was part of the founding executive team for Orlando-based health care technology company Connextions, which was acquired by Optum Health in 2011.

He has served as Director of Strategy and Partnerships for the UCF Innovation Districts and Business Incubation System. Panepinto is also a Founder and Chair of the Rally Social Enterprise Accelerator and its social venture fund, the EIA Social Enterprise Fund. Panepinto, who ran for Orange County Mayor in 2018, earned an undergraduate degree from New York University and a graduate degree from Fordham University.

“If you look at any innovation-driven industry, you see government acting as an accelerant or a brake. This creates unique challenges for entrepreneurs trying to scale their innovations and investors assessing their risk. We believe that, through GOVO, we will help these companies grow while driving strong returns for our investors,” he said.

“We don’t need to look far to apply our investment philosophy. For industries driving innovation in Florida such as aerospace, defense, artificial intelligence, healthcare, transportation and fintech, GOVO is well-positioned to support those entrepreneurs through our General Partners and Strategic Advisors.”

D’Ambrosio is the Managing Director of North Star and the Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for Managed Care at Northwell Health, New York’s largest integrated health system.

Before joining Northwell, he spent 12 years as an investor in the alternative asset management industry and most recently was a Principal and Director of Research for Arrow Capital Management. He began his career as an analyst in the Global Leveraged Finance department within the Investment Banking Division of Merrill Lynch & Co. He graduated cum laude from Cornell University with a degree in Applied Economics and Management and is a CFA charter holder.

1858 Capital Partners is a boutique advisory firm that focuses on middle-market transactions. Its diverse team of mergers and acquisition professionals have experience as operators, principal investors, sell-side advisors, lenders and legal counsel.

“Joining GOVO Venture Partners as a general partner is a unique opportunity for 1858 Capital Partners. The position gives us an opportunity to leverage our back-end services as a valuable contribution to the Fund,” said Mike Ward, Managing Director of 1858.

GOVO also announced a slate of investors with deep expertise relevant to GOVO’s interests. Each will serve as strategic advisers to the fund. They include OneBlood CEO George “Bud” Scholl, CEO of the blood center’s nonprofit; simulation and training industry pioneer Waymon Armstrong; government and regulatory attorney Mitch Bierman; health care entrepreneur and executive Shari Dingle Constantini, Togal AI CEO and former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy; and investment banker and mergers and acquisitions advisor Michael Ward.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


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