Protagonist is an early-stage investment firm focused on backing the most ambitious founders building the next generation of industry-defining companies across software, AI, fintech, consumer and blockchain technologies
“A leader, an advocate or the champion of a particular cause, a movement or idea.”
“The main character of a story.”
“The one who makes key decisions and faces the most significant obstacles.”
We're founders, just like you
Co-Founder & Managing Partner
George is a serial entrepreneur and investor. He is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Raise, a gift card, loyalty, and payments company. Founded in 2013, George successfully scaled Raise to over $5 billion in transactions while saving its customers over $250 million. Raise has attracted $225M in funding from leading institutions and family offices.
Before founding Protagonist Management LLC, George built his own family office, 1 of a Kind Capital (1/1 Capital), where he's invested in over 85 companies.
George was named to the esteemed Forbes 30 Under 30 list; he's a YPO Member, a three-time recipient of the Goldman Sachs Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs Award, and a Crain's 20 in their 20's honoree.
Co-Founder & Managing Partner
George Ruan is the co-founder and CEO of Honey, a free browser extension that aggregates and automatically applies online coupons when shopping online. Honey was acquired by PayPal (PYPL) in 2019 for $4 billion in an all-cash deal. George is an active angel investor in over 40 plus companies including the likes of Helix Nanotech, Outer, Evite, 98point6, Pogo, and Center Health.
George currently splits his time between Miami, FL, and Los Angeles, CA.
Co-Founder & Venture Partner
Founder and Co-CEO of Pipe. Creator of the world's first trading platform for recurring revenues. Having raised $315M in equity financing, Pipe was valued at $2 billion just under a year after its public launch, making it the fastest fintech to reach this valuation in history.
Investing in web2 and web3 companies as angel and fund manager since 2017.
Partner & Chief Technology Officer
Rakesh Gidwani is an accomplished technology leader with over 20 years of experience in delivering software products at scale. He has spent a significant portion of his career building software solutions for financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Two Sigma. He also worked as a technology leader at Jet.com, which was acquired by Walmart for $3 Billion.
Most recently, Rakesh was the CTO at Voyager Digital where he led the evolution of its platform and managed to scale a global engineering team across America, Europe & Asia. During his tenure at Voyager, he launched several consumer-facing products.
Partner, CFO & Compliance Officer
James has spent 20+ years in the accounting profession. James was previously a manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the UK and the US auditing alternative investment vehicles. James has also served as CFO to hedge funds and family offices.
James is a CPA licensed to practice in California and a Fellow Member of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants.
Partner & Investments Lead
Jiani was an investor at Felicis Ventures where she sourced the team's investment in Sourcegraph and helped close investments in Xilis and Opsera. She also helped manage Felicis's investments in several unicorns including Canva, Cultureamp, Hyperscience and Dialpad.
Jiani was previously on the investment team at ICONIQ Capital and Goldman Sachs. Jiani graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Economics.
Partner & General Counsel
Prior to joining the team, Sevan was a partner at Gould & Ratner LLP counseling privately held and family-run entrepreneurial businesses in a variety of complex transactional and corporate governance matters. He also represented angel investors, investment syndicates, and venture capital firms, assisting these clients with all aspects of their investments and operations.
Sevan was named to the 2021 - 2023 editions of U.S. News' - Best Lawyers “Ones to Watch” list and the 2021 and 2022 editions of Illinois Super Lawyers, Rising Stars list.
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