The team at Donovan Ventures has over 85 years of combined energy financial services and private equity experience. We have developed in-depth energy expertise and cultivated industry-wide relationships that allow us to market, structure and close transactions that maximize value for management teams and existing investors. The partners at Donovan Ventures are directly involved in executing every transaction. Our niche focus and hands on approach ensures our clients receive executive-level attention and proven results.
Private Equity & Investment Banking Team
John Donovan, Jr. – Founder and Managing Partner
Mr. Donovan founded Donovan Ventures in 2007 to provide private equity and advisory services to energy entrepreneurs. Since inception, the firm has invested in 14 distinct energy companies and has advised on over $2.4 billion of advisory transactions across 54 deals.
Prior to forming Donovan Ventures, Mr. Donovan spent five years at Quantum Energy Partners. Mr. Donovan joined Quantum during their second fund which targeted middle market investments in the upstream and midstream energy sectors. Mr. Donovan actively participated in the firm’s investment activities and supported the firm’s growth as a vice president from $300 million to over $3 billion in assets under management at which time he left to form Donovan Ventures.
Mr. Donovan began his career in 2000 as an analyst with Credit Suisse (fka: Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette) where he focused on structured financings in the firm’s energy investment banking group in Houston. Mr. Donovan holds a B.B.A. in Finance with a concentration in Accounting from the University of Texas.
Jason Holton – Managing Director
Mr. Holton is responsible for sourcing and executing investment banking advisory transactions. He also leads investor relations and fundraising efforts for Energy Founders Fund and serves on the investment committee.
Prior to joining Donovan Ventures, Mr. Holton served as the Founder and CEO of Omega Sands (an Energy Founders Fund portfolio company) from 2017 – 2019.
Prior to Omega Sands, Mr. Holton spent 11 years in Morgan Stanley’s investment banking division, running coverage of the U.S. refining, marketing and logistics sectors (2014 – 2017), helping rebuilding the Asia-Pacific energy team in Hong Kong (2011 – 2014), executing energy financing and M&A transactions from the Houston based natural resources group (2007 – 2011) and working as a member of the New York based financial sponsors group, where he executed leveraged buy-out and sell-side transactions for private equity firms.
Mr. Holton started his investment banking career at JP Morgan in 2005, where he also focused on financing and M&A transactions for private equity firms.
Throughout his investment banking career, Mr. Holton has executed over 50 capital markets and M&A transactions in the U.S. and Asia.
Mr. Holton holds a BBA in Finance from Southern Methodist University and an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina.
Wayne W Wagner, MBA, CIMA® – Managing Director
Mr. Wagner joined Donovan Ventures in June 2022 as Managing Director, Capital Markets. In this role, he will lead the firm’s efforts to partner with and serve US broker-dealers, RIAs, and selected family offices as partners in the Donovan Ventures’ retail investment offerings.
Prior to his role at the firm, Mr. Wagner was Head of National Accounts at InvestX Capital, a Vancouver, Canada based private equity firm that focused on acquiring shares of large cap pre IPO unicorn giants, units of which were sold through the significant network that Wayne and his team built here in the US.
During the course of his nearly 30 years of serving financial advisors, Mr. Wagner has had the good fortune of representing some of the globe’s largest and most respected global asset management firms including AllianceBernstein, Russell Investments, and MacQuarie Group (parent of Delaware Investments). He has held significant leadership roles in the ’40 Act world as well, having run both the Central and Western divisions for Principal Financial Group’s (NYSE:PFG) Principal Funds’ unit, which he was part of from inception. In 2014, Wayne was asked to build out Ameriprise Financials’ Wealth Management Consulting unit as National Head of Wealth Management Consulting.
A native of San Antonio, Texas, he holds a BS in Finance and Business Economics from the University of Southern California, and an MBA from the University of San Diego. Mr. Wagner has served actively on both the Editorial Board and the Conference Planning committee for IMCA / IWI and currently serves as a committee member on the Publications and Education Committee for ADISA.
Rory Aaronson – Managing Director
Mr. Aaronson joined Donovan Ventures in October 2022 as a Managing Director. In this role, Mr. Aaronson will lead the Donovan Ventures efforts in procuring assets for its commodity-linked income strategies. Mr. Aaronson is a professional landman with forty years diverse experience across the oil and gas industry, including acquisition, divestiture, exploration, production, and marketing/trading. He maintains exceptional skill in all phases of purchase and sale agreement negotiations, due diligence in the acquisition and divestiture of assets, lease acquisition, exploration and production contracts, title examination and landowner relations. Prior to joining Sponsor, Mr. Aaronson worked for Hughes Legacy, EnergyQuest and several energy start up companies.
Mr. Aaronson received his BBA in Management from Southwest Texas State University in 1980.
Alex Keller – Analyst
Mr. Keller joined Donovan Ventures in 2020 as an analyst and is currently responsible for underwriting potential investments, financial modeling and other investment due diligence processes. Mr. Keller supports in diligence for Donovan Ventures Advisory Services as well as Energy Founders Fund portfolio companies.
Mr. Keller holds a B.A. in Economics from Metropolitan State University of Denver where he was a member of the Division II Men’s Lacrosse team and a member of the Exploring Economic Freedom Project.
Marcus Minton – Operations Partner
Mr. Minton started his career as an operations engineer at Lewis Energy Group, where he was the sole engineer for the company’s coiled tubing department. He oversaw continuous operations for the two coiled tubing units and 35 operators/technicians. Later he transitioned to the fracturing department as an engineer, where he oversaw daily operations for one of the company’s fracturing spreads. During his time at Lewis, he oversaw the completion of over 200 wells. After two years with Lewis, Mr. Minton joined Donovan Ventures as a Summer Associate.
During his time with Donovan Ventures, Mr. Minton led several oilfield service assignments further enhancing his transition into the financial side of the business, including co-founding Regiment, LLC, a pressure pumping company that serves both the Eagle Ford and Permian Basin, in November of 2017. Mr. Minton holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Petroleum Engineering from Louisiana State University, and an MBA from Texas State University. Mr. Minton currently serves on the boards of Regiment, LLC and Huntington Oil and Gas.
Structured Credit Team
Victor Mendoza – Head of Oil & Gas Securitizations
Mr. Mendoza brings over a decade of Oil & Gas Corporate and Investment Banking experience. Prior to joining Donovan Ventures, Mr. Mendoza spent 7 years at Société Générale focused on upstream transactions in the Americas (U.S., Canada, LatAm). Mr. Mendoza has participated, originated, structured over $10 billion of upstream financings including development financing, structured products, and reserve base financing. Mr. Mendoza began his banking career in Amegy Bank’s leadership Development Program before joining the Energy team.
Mr. Mendoza holds a BBA from Texas A&M University. He is a Vice Chairman of the Houston Rodeo Parade Committee and a Board Member of Subiaco Academy.
Rosalie Valladares – Managing Director, Capital Markets
Ms. Valladares is a seasoned debt capital markets professional who has originated and distributed in excess of $30 billion of debt financings across global markets. She has extensive knowledge across various debt formats including 4(a)2 private placements, corporate bonds, revolving credit facilities, letter of credit facilities, secured bonds, green bonds, project finance and future flow securitizations. She has executed debt financings across four continents and maintains a global footprint of long-standing investor relationships.
Ms. Valladares’ career began within the Debt Capital Markets division of Merrill Lynch, where she was a product specialist in the Debt Private Placements team. She then joined National Australia Bank (NAB) in 2009, where she was instrumental in the expansion and development of the Debt Private Placement team. She recently completed an international assignment at NAB’s London office where she was responsible for providing debt markets coverage to the bank’s FTSE 100, corporate and infrastructure clients.
Ms. Valladares holds a B.S. in Finance from Rutgers University. She has completed a FinTech certificate from Cornell University. She is Series 7 and 63 licensed.
Kyle Bulpitt – Vice President
Mr. Bulpitt has seven years of upstream oil and gas experience focused on asset evaluations, including acquisitions and divestitures and unconventional strategy planning.
Prior to joining Donovan Ventures, Mr. Bulpitt was employed at Solomon Partners (formerly PJ Solomon) within the Energy group in Houston. Mr. Bulpitt began his career as a reservoir engineer within the Permian Unconventional group at ConocoPhillips in Houston. Outside A&D work, Mr. Bulpitt coordinated with all disciplines to evaluate full field development plans. Additionally, he worked on projects including basin-wide-type curve generation, completion evaluation, and reserves and resource determination.
Mr. Bulpitt holds a BS in petroleum engineering, with high distinction, from Texas A&M University. He is Series 79 and 63 licensed.
Robert Salazar – Director
Mr. Salazar joined Donovan Ventures in January 2023, with over 20 years experience in the securitization industry. He’s held positions within the structured products groups at both buyside and sellside firms.
Prior to joining Donovan Ventures, Mr. Salazar spent 12 years working as an Institutional Salesperson developing strong relationships within the fixed income investor community. He worked within the Structured Products Sales and Trading groups at Keybank Capital Markets and prior to that at Guggenheim Capital Markets. He was involved with both the placement and trading of primary and secondary transactions, with a major focus in Esoteric Asset Backed Security transactions of various types. Prior to that, he worked in the structured products investment team at Amundi Asset Management(fka Pioneer Investments) where he focused on investing in ABS, RMBS and CDO bonds as well as in the structuring and modeling of new issue transactions.
Mr.Salazar holds a B.S. in Finance from the University Of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and an M.B.A from DePaul University. He has his CFA certification and is Series 7 and 63 licensed.
Cray Jaeger – Sr. Associate
Mr. Jaeger has over five years of oil and gas investment banking experience and has advised on transactions totaling over $4 billion. Prior to joining Donovan Ventures, Mr. Jaeger was a Senior Associate at KPMG within the Energy and Natural Resources team and Solomon Partners (formerly PJ Solomon) within the Energy group in Houston and M&A group in New York City. Mr. Jaeger’s oil and gas transaction experience include IKAV’s acquisition of San Juan assets from BP and Third Coast Midstream’s sale of Eagle Ford gathering assets.
Mr. Jaeger holds a BBA in finance from the University of Texas at Austin.