The founding members of Cimarron have worked together for over 20 years. They have chosen to team up with individuals with shared interests and with whom they have tackled formative projects. The members of the group for the most part stepped into funds of funds investing from pursuits intended to support entrepreneurs.
Robert G. Heard
Co-Founder and Managing Director
Robert Heard is a Cimarron Managing Director and Founder. Over the past 20 years, he has founded 3 funds of funds and one direct fund. In 1994, Robert formed Edge Development Capital, Inc., the predecessor to Cimarron, specializing in partnership investing.
Robert was a founding director of the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds (NASVF) and co-authored the National Governors' Association study, “The Experience of States with Seed and Venture Capital." He currently sits on the Advisory Committees of numerous private equity funds and is a member of the National Advisory Council of the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer.
Robert earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma and his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He makes his home in Oklahoma City.
Michael A. Tharp
Co-Founder and Managing Director
Michael Tharp, CFA, is a Cimarron Managing Director and Founder. Mike served as the President of the Oklahoma Capital Investment Board from 1994 to 2000 and Vice President from 1989. His career has focused on creating and managing investment programs for institutional investors.
Prior to co-founding Cimarron as a separate entity in 2002, Mike was a Vice President and Private Equity Specialist for Prudential. He currently serves as the point person for Cimarron's Arkansas fund of funds program. Mike holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and is a member of the CFA Institute as well as the Oklahoma Society of Financial Analysts. He has served as the Program Chairman for the Institutional Limited Partners' Association and as National Board Member and Treasurer of the Council of Development Finance Agencies.
Mike earned his undergraduate degree from Southern Illinois University and his Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin. Mike resides in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Mark Huston began his association with Cimarron in December 2004 as a Managing Director of Cimarron Business Capital, LP, (CBC). CBC is a $50 million fund that finances growing companies in Oklahoma and is capitalized in partnership with OG&E, the state’s largest utility. He moved to Cimarron’s fund of funds team as a Portfolio Manager in July of 2008.
Prior to joining Cimarron, Mark was the Manager of Business Finance at the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department. He served in that capacity for 21 years, from 1983 to 2004, with responsibility for State of Oregon programs delivering revenue bonds, loans, guaranties, and credit enhancement. Under his management, thousands of Oregon companies were provided with over $1 billion of financing. Mark served on the Oregon State Bond Committee.
Mark is a Director and former President of the National Council of Development Finance Agencies. He received a Masters of Public Administration degree from Arizona State University and a Bachelors of Science degree in Economics from the University of Idaho. Mark makes his home in Portland, Oregon.
Philip B. Heard
Philip Heard, MD, PhD, joined Cimarron in 2008 as a portfolio manager to lead the firm’s cleantech research and to support other fund investments, due diligence, and deal flow.
Philip’s prior career was devoted to environmental science and public health, interests he brings to venture fund investing. From 2000-2008, he served as the Health Advisor for the Maryland Department of the Environment, supporting the agency broadly in regulatory actions, policy development, and public response.
Philip specialized in General Preventive Medicine through a residency at Johns Hopkins University. His MD is from the University of Oklahoma and PhD from the University of Notre Dame. He resides in Maryland.
Christina Kappaz has worked with Cimarron as a consultant since 2002. She focuses on fund due diligence and the Latin American market. Christina served as the President of the Latin American Venture Capital Association (LAVCA) from 2002 to 2007. She has worked at the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank on private sector development programs.
In 2004, Christina coordinated a team that developed a reform package and action plan for developing the venture capital industry in Mexico. Christina coordinated Cimarron’s advisory work with Nacional Financiera of Mexico in 2006 on the design of a US$450 million fund of funds program. In 2015, Christina led Cimarron's advisory work with the government of Colombia's development bank, Bancoldex, on the development of a fund of funds.
Christina is fluent in Spanish. She holds both an MBA and a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University. Her B.A. in Government is from Dartmouth College. Christina lives with her family near Bogotá, Colombia.