Mercato Partners Traverse Names Ryan Sanders and Joe Kaiser as Managing Directors, Zane Busteed as Director.

December 1, 2021

Mercato Traverse (“Traverse”), the dedicated growth capital investment practice of Mercato Partners, announced today the promotions of Joe Kaiser and Ryan Sanders to Managing Director and Zane Busteed to Director. All will continue to be based in Mercato Partners’ headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.


“Traverse is the flagship practice on the Mercato Partners platform with over $900 million of current assets under management and a pooled net IRR of more than 33% over the past 14 years. Traverse IV is an important distinction as an institutional investment firm and advancing our leadership capacity” said Greg Warnock, Ph.D., Founder and Managing Director of Mercato Partners. “With the flagship fund, we will continue to pursue our strategy, serving as the committed growth firm between the coasts as the partner of choice for disruptive, high-growth companies and exceptional entrepreneurs as they seek scale. Traverse IV, is approaching its investment capacity and has already deployed capital in performing, high-growth companies. Joe, Ryan, and Zane have each led a deal in this fund and each has played a substantial role in the overall success of the Traverse practice. We look forward to their continued contributions in these new leadership roles.”


Joe Kaiser

Joe has over 18 years of intense financial, operational, and strategic experience, which positions him well to be a chosen investor and growth advocate. Prior to Mercato, he served as a director of capital markets at Vivint Solar, where he raised over $1 billion in project financing and led several successful corporate development initiatives ahead of their IPO. Joe received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. In his new role, Joe will continue to head the Traverse practice in the Midwest and collaborate with founders and executives in industries including consumer, InsurTech and digital health, as well as AdTech and workflow automation.


Summersalt CEO Lori Coulter – “Joe is the ultimate founder-friendly investor who champions his founders and brings a playbook for accelerating growth at every stage. He not only understands the complexities of the business and rolls his sleeves up where needed, but also fights for me in hard times while collaborating at all times. I am incredibly grateful for his partnership and appreciate his unwavering commitment to my vision and long-term success. “


Ryan Sanders

Ryan has over 16 years of deep experience in entrepreneurship, operations, and growth capital, which provide a solid foundation for his work building the Traverse portfolio and brand. Prior to Mercato, Ryan operated as a principal in Austin, Texas at a leading mezzanine capital firm focused on investing in high-growth, late-stage technology companies. Ryan received an MBA from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas. Ryan is a current Kauffman Fellow (Class 26), a two-year mastery-level program that challenges already-successful investors to be more self-aware and supporters of entrepreneurship. With this new appointment, Ryan will continue to lead the Traverse investment practice in Texas and in the Southeast, including the Atlanta market. In these markets, he will support companies with his deep domain expertise in the industries of branded consumer, enterprise software, FinTech, and marketplace technologies.


Lendio CEO Brock Blake – “Ryan is exceptional in his commitment to supporting my vision and the opportunity for Lendio to fuel the American dream. If he wasn’t my investor, I’d want him on my team.”


Zane Busteed

Zane brings over 8 years of investing and governance experience, including more than five years with Traverse in progressive areas of firm responsibility. Immediately prior to Mercato, Zane was a business analyst with Goldman Sachs. Zane received an MBA from the Darden School of Management at the University of Virginia. As a director in the Traverse practice, Zane will oversee growth investment activity in the Pacific Northwest, including the Seattle, Portland, and Boise markets. Areas of focus and expertise include technology for financial, education and marketing sectors; cybersecurity; and network infrastructure.


Prime Trust CEO Tom Pageler – “It has been amazing to see how quickly Zane established rapport with the entire executive team and got to a position of trust, even before we closed. We could all tell that he cared about our success and listened for ways that he could support us and share value.“


“These CEOs and founders have said it best. Ryan, Joe, and Zane have established outstanding track records as growth investors at Traverse”, said Warnock. “They have done a remarkable job extending the reach of Traverse into the Rocky Mountain, Midwest and Southern regions of the U.S., which have traditionally been underserved by growth capital. We seek to remedy that. Ours is the privilege to stand behind brilliant, innovative, and committed entrepreneurs.”


Ryan, Joe, and Zane added, “We’re thrilled to lead the expansion of the Traverse strategy into additional underserved areas of the country as we seek to find, fund, and support innovative, high-growth companies. We look forward to building on the team’s strong track record and feel fortunate to be at a firm whose personality is to partner with amazing founders and operators.”


About Traverse

Traverse is the growth equity investment practice of Mercato Partners. Traverse seeks market-leading companies located in underserved geographies within the technology and branded consumer product industries. Traverse invests across growing sectors of the economy and has invested in more than 30 growth-stage companies. Its focus is collaboration with companies to drive organic growth through the implementation of playbooks in five growth-stage-specific disciplines: sales, marketing, human capital, customer value, and leadership. This unique approach allows Traverse to fill a void in the marketplace for high-growth companies seeking both growth capital and the tools necessary to achieve additional acceleration and scale.


About Mercato Partners

Mercato Partners is leading lower middle market investment platform with approximately $1.5 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2021[1]. Mercato Partners invests across multiple alternative asset classes, providing both differentiated capital and guidance to founders and companies in a range of stages and industries. From its inception in 2007, Mercato has consistently proven an ability to develop partnerships with the most innovative companies in target regions and provide those companies with the specialized resources they need to successfully plan for, accelerate, and manage their growth. This unique combination of operational resources and investment expertise enables Mercato to deliver industry-leading investment returns.

[1] Assets Under Management (AUM) is defined as Regulatory Assets Under Management per the SEC’s Form ADV instructions.

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