Gold Sail Capital ("Gold Sail") was established out of its founders' passion for portfolio management and for viewing investments from a more encompassing perspective than what is commonly accepted. The founders realized that by leveraging each other's experience and areas of expertise, they could create an opportunity that would allow them to follow this passion in a diversified manner and create something truly astonishing from the ground up. This is why a few visionary Purdue University students - Paul Griggs, Matt Garofalo, and Stephen Toyra - founded Gold Sail out of a dorm room on the night of November 17, 2015.
In March of 2014, Paul Griggs, a sophomore studying economics and finance at Purdue University's Krannert School of Management was fed-up with the typical confines of the classroom scene and decided to take the plunge into the real world of portfolio management. His main ambition at the time was to create a student-run, private investment fund similar to those established at Wharton and Harvard, where he and a team of similarly driven individuals could manage their own portfolio.
Through a mutual friend, Griggs contacted Matt Garofalo, another sophomore at Krannert studying finance who was equally fed-up with the classroom scene, and pitched him the concept on the evening of March 13 at a Starbucks in the Purdue Memorial Union. From there, the two began to meet regularly on Friday evenings in the Union to draft the fund's operating agreements and operating procedures. By early May of that same semester, the two had completed the fund's legal documents and started to recruit potential partners over the summer and into the fall semester.
By October of 2014, Griggs and Garofalo were now juniors and filed the paperwork to officially form Oracle Capital with a few other classmates. One of these other classmates was Connor Knowlton, a sophomore studying finance and economics. Over the next several months Griggs, Garofalo, and Knowlton toyed with the idea of one day creating an entirely new investment firm that could take on real clients and capital.
During the summer of 2015, with Griggs and Garofalo now seniors and Knowlton now a junior, the three began constructing the foundation of a much more noble endeavor. Griggs brought in Stephen Toyra, a graduate student on the Purdue basketball team with his own real estate firm, and Knowlton brought in Matt Garatoni, a sophomore studying management and entrepreneurship. From here, the five met weekly after the group's initial meeting on the evening of August 29, 2015. Less than three months later, they founded Gold Sail on November 17 and officially registered the company in the State of Indiana on November 19. Before the end of that same month, Gold Sail received initial interest north of seven figures.
Transitioning into 2016, the partners were already traveling across the nation by the first week of January to meet with potential investors and advisors. By February and March, while most students were juggling homework and midterms, the team had set up the legal entities needed to launch their first hedge fund. From here, the partners scheduled meetings and conference calls in between classes in order to set up the fund's back office and coordinate with their investors.
On May 15, Griggs and Garofalo graduated from the Krannert School of Management and went immediately to work around the clock at the firm's Lafayette office on Main Street. In fact, directly after Garofalo's last final exam, the team picked him up from campus and drove straight to the office. With three of the five partners graduated and classes over for the summer, the partners were able to dedicate every hour to finalizing preparations for the hedge fund's July 1 launch and to growing the rest of the firm.
To most, Gold Sail had become known only for the launch of a hedge fund, however, by June 15 and 21, the partners launched Gold Sail Ventures and Gold Sail Real Estate. As a result, the firm was able to cater to the investment needs of their investors as well as diversify the firm's own assets. From the beginning, the team had planned to expand the firm in phases and had hinted to these plans for several months.
With the launch of the hedge fund, real estate, and venture capital divisions all in full swing, one of the most hectic months for the team was undoubtedly July. During this month, the partners took turns between running daily operations in the office and traveling around the country to meet with investors, advisors, and institutions. Several of these trips included meetings in Providence, New York City, Chicago, Charlotte, Louisville, and Melbourne Beach, where staying with friends, family, and Airbnb helped to minimize expenses.
As the summer began to come to a conclusion in August and September, two of the youngest partners, Knowlton and Garatoni, headed back to class. At this point, the firm started to lay the groundwork for the next phase of Gold Sail which included a private equity division, Gold Sail Equities, and a management consulting division, Gold Sail Strategies. Both subsidiaries were launched on September 12 and are expected to have a more prominent role in 2017. Yet, the team has already begun to introduce Gold Sail Strategies to Lafayette and Purdue where they are seeking to provide consulting services to small business and start-ups. Furthermore, the team is also looking to begin recruiting talent from Purdue in order to better distribute the workload and continue growing the firm at a steady pace.
By October and November, Gold Sail Real Estate had developed a $1.5 million dollar real estate portfolio and unveiled plans to develop a $26.5 million dollar, three project development plan between Lafayette and West Lafayette. The development plan includes acquiring a residential building in Lafayette, redeveloping a commercial building in Downtown Lafayette, and developing a multi-story mixed-use building in Downtown Lafayette. One of the long term benefits of this plan is that the Downtown Lafayette redevelopment will allow Gold Sail to establish a permanent office where it can continue to serve the Lafayette, West Lafayette, and Purdue communities.
Despite this exciting project on the horizon and substantial growth observed in other divisions of the firm, November was not as pleasant as October. As a junior at Purdue and the youngest partner of the firm, Matthew Garatoni wished to step-down as of November 14 for personal reasons. Although it is unfortunate to lose a partner, his departure from the team was a mutual decision that concluded on good terms. On November 19, 2016, Gold Sail celebrated its one year anniversary and the partners are thrilled to see what the coming year will bring.