Tom Soto

Founder/Managing Partner, Latimer Partners, LLC

 

Having sold Craton Equity Partners to TCW in 2013, Tom became Managing Director of Alternatives at the $198b fund and was an Investment Committee Member of TCW/Craton Alternatives. He continued to oversee the investment committee process of the Craton investments that had been folded into TCW Alternatives and worked to insure a smooth transition of Craton into TCW with the support of his portfolio companies and the Fund’s Limited Partners. Post transaction, Tom played a considerable role in TCW across all products and asset classes, helping to lead on the development of new and innovative alternatives products; a public equities trading platform, the first of its kind at TCW focused on ESG/SRI, and the development of a woman owned, emerging manager, distressed hedge fund, all among many other successful efforts while at TCW. Tom is former member of the board of directors and current Sr. Advisor to Aspiration, the country’s fastest growing online bank and financial services platform. He is also Chair of the Advisory Board for Insikt/Lendify; the nation’s leading online micro finance lender based in Silicon Valley, which is a CDFI certified lender by the US Department of Treasury that seeks to dislocate payday lending in underserved, underbanked America.

Prior to TCW, Tom conceived of and led the development of Craton Fund I which was a $190mm late stage growth equity fund focused on impact. He then led its Fund II effort where after raising $100mm in commitments, sold Craton to TCW. Tom has been a member of the board of many of Craton’s portfolio companies such as Liquid Environmental Solutions and Propel Alternative Fuels and sourced over half of Fund I & II’s portfolio companies including Revolution Foods and Kabbage.com.

Tom’s presence in the impact sector as an investor and opinion leader over the past twenty years has been substantial and filled with creating tectonic shifts in the impact markets, in policy and in the lives of millions of people who now benefit from improved health policies such as those promoting electric and alternative fueled buses versus diesel buses; reduced pollutants from electric generating plants, and the development of the California rules mandating zero and low emission vehicles encouraging electric vehicle technology to emerge. He has been one of the few diverse voices who has successfully engaged and co-invested alongside many of Silicon Valley’s top brand investors such as Kleiner Perkins, the Westly Group, Physics Ventures and more. Tom has a full understanding and body of history of sourcing opportunities, performing full due diligence, modeling, building organizational performance and measurement capacity along with building boards of directors and leading portfolio companies toward successful exits. In addition, having worked in energy and water resource management Tom also has a considerable history working with the California Public Utilities Commission promoting the electrification of the economy, and encouraging rate base driven efforts for conversion to a clean fossil free California.

He is one of the country’s leading voices on the economics of climate change and the prosperity tied to reducing greenhouse gases. He has been an active contributor to much of the state and federal legislation regarding climate change, Cap and Trade, and greenhouse gas emission reduction. As a business leader, Tom’s companies have included Cabrillo Fuels, where it was the largest minority producer of fleet ethanol fuel in Southern California. During this period and prior to Craton Equity Partners and then TCW, Tom built his management consulting company, PS Enterprises into the country’s leading consulting firm working with government and fortune 500 companies such as American Airlines, Verizon, and the White House in insuring their compliance with new and stricter environmental regulations and helping to match technology and innovation with finance and operators in need of such solutions. Tom was an appointee of President Bill Clinton to the State Department’s Border Environmental Cooperation Commission which oversaw the $2.5b North American Development Bank’s activities. In addition, he was President elect Barack Obama’s Co-lead of the Executive Office of the President’s Transition Team for The White House Council on Environmental Quality from November of ’08 to January of ’09.

Tom was recognized by Poder 360 Magazine as one of the Nation’s Top 100 Latino Green Leaders and was one of Hispanic Business Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Latinos of 2010. Tom is a leading voice in the emerging manager sector promoting diverse fund managers in finance as the current Vice-Chairman of the Board of the New America Alliance, the national Latino business initiative founded in 2000 whose 95 members manage over $68b in AUM. Tom is former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the California Science Center and was responsible for the acquisition of the Space Shuttle Endeavour during his tenure and remains the Science Center’s current Vice Chairman. He is also a founder of, and current board member of the LA Clean Tech Incubator, Los Angeles’ and the country’s premier clean technology resource for impact startups helping to generate economics and jobs in the LA area. Tom received a BA in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles.