FOUNDER | CEO
Mike has over 30 years’ experience in financing, developing and operating growth companies and start-ups. He has been a principal in investment banking and corporate structuring for both private and publicly traded companies.
After graduating with a BA in Economics from C.W. Post University Michael began his Wall Street career in New York City in the early 1980’s. Michael served in a number of capacities from money management to trading at several major Wall Street firms.
From 1983-86 he served as Head Equity Trader for Global Trading.
From 1986-89, he was a Partner- Head Floor Trader and Investment Strategist for H.D. Baumer & Co., a member of the NYSE floor operations. His duties included trading and managing the firms portfolio.
From 1989-94, Mr. Risley was a founding partner and Head Trader for Tandem Associates, a private equity hedge fund, where he partnered with Donald Russell, Jr., son of the former Governor of South Carolina.
In 1994, Mike co-founded Caribbean Cigar Company. Over the next 3 years Caribbean grew organically to become the largest US cigar manufacturer and the first cigar company to be taken public in 65 years. Caribbean Cigar Co. was voted the #1 Initial Public offering in 1996, by Investor’s Business Daily. The company opened and operated several large manufacturing facilities in Miami and the Dominican Republic as well as seven high end retail stores in South Florida. In three years at the helm of the company he raised over $15 million dollars in equity and grew the company from $500K to $13 million dollars in revenue. Caribbean Cigar Co. was sold in 1999 to SJI Wholesale in Knoxville, Tn.
From 2001-2003, Mr. Risley was Vice President of Finance for Segmentz Inc., a third party logistics provider based in Tampa, Florida. Mike raised $20 million dollars in equity financing and completed five acquisitions while at Segmentz Inc. The company’s revenue grew from just over one million dollars to 30+ million dollars during the period that Mr. Risley was with the company. Mike orchestrated the $12 million dollar IPO with Kirlin Securities in NYC. Segmentz Inc. was listed on the American Stock Exchange and was sold in 2004 to Express One, a logistics provider the company acquired in 2002. The company completed 5 successful acquisitions under Mike’s watch. He also orchestrated a majority 13D filing position with a group led by Peter Lynch, Manager of the Fidelity Magellan Fund. Segmentz market capitalization reached over 50 million dollars on completion of Mike’s work at the company. Operations were turned over Express One Inc after Segmentz acquired them in 2002.
From 2003-09, Michael was CEO of Whitewing Environmental- publicly traded on the OTC market and Viking Environmental, manufacturers of industrial absorbents and distributors of liquid antimicrobial products. Michael directed both operations and manufacturing. During his tenure, Mike raised over $5 million dollars in equity financing with Maxim Financial-NYC for growth of operations.
In 2011-12, Michael assisted Robert Gries Jr, Managing Partner of Gries Investment Fund and CEO of Public Power Inc. on a $100 million IPO of its Crius Energy Trust holdings with UBS Canada on the Toronto Stock exchange (KWH:TSE) Crius had a market cap of $400 million post IPO.
In 2012 he founded the Thrifty Charitable Foundation in Raleigh, NC to help support local charities, specifically Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle. Michael also opened Uptown Thrift to support the charity activities .
In 2017, Mike joined the team at ITC Technical Ceramic Coatings , manufacturer and distributor of high temperature protective coatings for manufacturing. He served as V.P. of Business development. While at ITC, the company’s revenues grew by 52%.
Michael is a 16 year member of the Kings Park Church in Durham NC and NYC. He is a current member of the New York Athletic Club and a former three-time All American wrestler. He is the Greco-Roman Wrestling Team Leader for the New York Athletic Club working with National Team, World Team and Olympic Teams. Mike was a successful high school wrestling coach for ten years producing multiple state champions and several All Americans during his coaching tenure.
In his spare time he enjoys upland bird and duck hunting with his English setters Junior, Max and Ranger at his farm in N.C. Mike is also an avid fisherman.