Founded in 2007 by Jody LaNasa, Serengeti is an opportunistic value-driven investment firm focused on providing flexible capital solutions for innovative private companies and their shareholders. We invest in and build financing platforms for assets that are ignored or underserved by other more traditional capital sources. Our capital solutions seek to address complex situations through structure and creativity.
Serengeti identifies opportunities where the assets are difficult to source and underwrite, the capital solution demands non-traditional terms, or the size of each individual potential investment limits focus from the larger credit players. By developing tailored solutions, Serengeti builds differentiated financing platforms.
As an extension of the financing platforms, we evaluate and identify direct investments across the capital structure with compelling risk-adjusted returns, with a focus on special situations.
The firm manages capital for institutional investors including pensions, endowments, and large family offices.
Enthusiasm for complexity and passion for excellence drive what we do.
Joseph A. LaNasa III ("Jody") Founder, Managing Partner & Chief Investment Officer
Founder, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Serengeti Asset Management, a value driven credit-focused investment firm that provides sophisticated financing solutions to innovative private companies and their shareholders.
Prior to launching Serengeti in 2007, Mr. LaNasa was a partner at in the Special Situations Group of Goldman Sachs where he headed the Multi-Strategy Investing Business (“MSI”) . MSI was a multi-billion dollar proprietary investment business focused on similar opportunities.
Mr. LaNasa began his career as an attorney at Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz in their creditors’ rights and corporate departments and clerked for Judge Adrian G. Duplantier of the U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).Education & Interests
Mr. LaNasa graduated from Harvard Law School (J.D. magna cum laude) and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service (B.S.F.S. summa cum laude).
He has served on the Dean’s Advisory Board for Harvard Law School Advisory Board since 2006. Mr. LaNasa also has served on the Board of Advisors for Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service since 2018 and previously served on Georgetown’s Board of Regents.
Leslie D. Biddle Partner & President
Leslie D. Biddle is a partner and the president of Serengeti Asset Management.
Prior to joining Serengeti, Ms. Biddle was the Global Head of Commodity Sales at Goldman Sachs and member of the senior commodities management team contributing to the growth of the business from approximately $450 million to more than $3 billion. She was a member of Goldman’s firmwide Finance Committee, Business Practices Committee, New Activity Committee, Structured Investment Products Committee and European Audit and Compliance Committee. She was named managing director in 2004 and partner in 2006.
While at Goldman, Ms. Biddle was the architect of many structured transactions in the private equity and energy sectors including the monetization of Allegheny DWR Contract, the financing for the Calpine Construction Finance Facility, the Texas Genco acquisition, Northern Tier Energy and the TXU leveraged buyout, among others.
Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Ms. Biddle was a vice president at the AES Corporation focusing on project finance and power plant development and acquisitions. She also served as a vice president at the Overseas Investment Corporation, providing political risk insurance and financing to U.S. companies expanding overseas.Education & Interests
She holds an A.B. from Colby College where she previously served as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Empire State Realty Trust (NYSE), CenterPoint Energy (NYSE) and the Advisory Board of NatureVest, the impact investing arm of The Nature Conservancy. Ms. Biddle was twice named to the Hedge Fund Journal’s Top 50 Women in Hedge Funds, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Global Advisory Board of The Hawthorn Club for executive woman in energy. She lives in New York, New York with her husband, George, and their three children.
Matthew Harman Co-Head of Unicorn Stock Finance, Managing Director
Matthew Harman is a Managing Director and Co-Head of Unicorn Stock Finance at Serengeti Asset Management.
Prior to joining Serengeti in 2013, he was a Partner and Head of Trading for Irongate Partners LLC, a multi-strategy family office investment firm. He was responsible for investing and trading in the securities of public and private companies as well as risk management strategies. From 2007 to 2010, Matthew was the Head Trader and Portfolio Manager for private equity firm, MatlinPatterson’s hedge fund entity. His position encompassed trading and investing in the public and private markets domestically and internationally. In 2002, Matthew founded and ran Harman Stoller Capital Partners LP (HS), a small-cap/mid-cap focused special situation hedge fund. Prior to HS, Matthew was the senior trader and senior risk manager for P. Schoenfeld Asset Management, a multi-billion dollar event hedge fund and private equity firm.Education & Interests
Mr. Harman received his B.A. from Duke University.
Ray Yousefian Co-Head of Unicorn Stock Finance, Managing Director
Ray Yousefian is a Managing Director and Co-Head of Unicorn Stock Finance at Serengeti Asset Management.
Prior to joining Serengeti in 2022, Ray held senior roles at Morgan Stanley and Citigroup in both Equity Capital Markets and Investment Banking, where he advised leading technology companies on the most important corporate actions and decisions.
While at Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, Ray oversaw more than $20 billion in IPO & Follow-On issuances for companies like Datadog, Chewy MongoDB, Shopify, Bandwidth, SproutSocial, and Endava. Ray also covered more than $5 billion in Convertible, PIPE, and Private financings for companies like Repay, Cvent, Confluent, and advised multiple M&A and SPAC Mergers.
Mr. Yousefian started his career at 3iCapital Group, a multi-strategy family office investment firm where he was responsible for managing the South-East Asian growth strategy.Education & Interests
Mr. Yousefian received his M.B.A. from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, his M.Sc. From the London School of Economics and Political Science and his B.A. from The University of Chicago.
Aria Vossoughi Head of Revenue Finance and Special Situations, Managing Director
Aria Vossoughi is a Managing Director and Head of Revenue Finance and Special Situations at Serengeti Asset Management.
Prior to joining Serengeti in 2021, he was a co-founding Partner and the Director of Research at Ziba Capital Management, a NYC-based activist, distressed, and special situations fund. Aria also led and managed Ziba’s private market investments across the capital structure, spanning all industries and geographies.
Before Ziba, he was the co-founder of a smart-city technology startup in addition to assuming other C-level positions in finance, operations, and strategy, for distressed and late-stage companies.
Aria began his career as a L/S equities analyst at Silver Arrow Investment Management, before joining Elliott Management Corp., a $45 billion multi-strategy hedge fund where he worked across the capital structure in both public and private markets, focusing on shareholder activism, distressed and special situations, and private equity strategies.Education & Interests
Mr. Vossoughi holds a BA degree in Economics from New York University.
Robert Sumberac Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Senior Managing Director
Robert Sumberac is the Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Senior Managing Director at Serengeti Asset Management.
Prior to joining Serengeti in 2011, Mr. Sumberac was Chief Financial Officer and Managing Director at D.B. Zwirn & Co, a global multi-strategy alternative investment firm. He joined D.B. Zwirn just prior to the in-house discovery of reporting and accounting issues and was instrumental in the forensic review and correction of these issues and the restructuring of the firm’s procedures, processes and back office organization. Prior to that, he was Treasurer and Corporate Controller at Cantor Fitzgerald. Previously, Mr. Sumberac was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs in the Firmwide Funding group where he focused on accounting and treasury issues.Education & Interests
Mr. Sumberac received his B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame.
AJ Martinez General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer
AJ Martinez is the General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Serengeti Asset Management.
Prior to joining Serengeti in 2018, A.J. was an attorney in the litigation department at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, where his practice focused on the litigation and negotiated resolution of disputes relating to distressed debt, corporate governance, and the financial services industry. A.J. began his career as an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, LLP and clerked for Judge John T. Noonan, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.Education & Interests
A.J. graduated cum laude from New York University School of Law. He also holds an M.Phil. in History from Cambridge University and an A.B. in History from Princeton University.
Jim Johnston Head of Investor Relations and Marketing, Managing Director
Jim Johnston is a Managing Director and Head of Investor Relations and Marketing at Serengeti Asset Management.
Jim began his career at Serengeti in 2013 on the Operations team building his knowledge base across equity, credit, derivatives and structured products. Following his time in that role, Jim transitioned into a trading assistant executing orders in both the equity and credit markets. Jim’s collective experience helped shaped his understanding of the firm and transitioned to his current role in 2018, which coincided with the launch of the firm’s private credit strategy. In his role, Jim drives the firm’s comprehensive Investor Relations and Marketing strategy.Education & Interests
Jim received his BA degree from Villanova University where he played varsity golf at NCAA Division 1 level.