Our Team

Cultivate Ventures was founded by a group of creative and strategic thinkers who love hustling to make things happen. We are passionate about investment, entrepreneurship, real estate and impact. Specifically, our partners and network of advisors bring a unique combination of real estate; operational and fund management; business consulting; and transactional experience. We feel strongly that this intersection of market leading real estate and domain expertise drives superior risk-adjusted returns. Specifically, our team brings:

  • Diversified, sector specific, regional experience managing and designing funds (including Qualified Opportunity Funds).

  • Decades of collective experience working with and through family offices and institutional and accredited investors.

  • Industry-leading internal financial, real estate, legal, tax and accounting experience.

  • Strong collective experience in investment management, financial modeling and controls, and operational and transactional value-add. 

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Caesar Layton

Vision | Investment

Caesar's energy and attention to detail allow him to make meaningful, immediate connections between concepts and people. As a development economist turned investment entrepreneur, Caesar navigated business and investment cultures around the world for more than a decade; more recently, he was instrumental in building numerous successful investment theses focused on food, agriculture and wellness. He has seen firsthand how investments in strategic niche markets will stimulate highly profitable, impact-driven returns. Caesar is known for his tenacity, competitive spirit and love for making things happen. With deep passions for food, health, real estate and entrepreneurialism, Caesar co-founded Cultivate Ventures with a clear vision to identify and make investments that improve the way we live our lives.

Caesar's LinkedIn Profile

Steven Holm

Finance | Investment

Steve is known to many as the walking calculator, bringing more than 15 years of experience in corporate finance, strategy and re-engineering. In his most recent role as a Director at Citigroup, Steve led the analytics team responsible for identifying ways to reduce the firm’s $50 billion expense base. Steve has always had a flare for entrepreneurship and real estate and he has launched and scaled multiple small businesses. He is a founder and director of Muk Hair USA, the U.S. division of the #1 hair care brand in Australia and owner of The Hoboken Man Barbershops. It was his passionate interest in real estate investment and driving and improving small businesses, that led him to join Cultivate Ventures as a founding partner.

Steve's LinkedIn Profile

Vikram Agarwal

Tax | Real Estate | Legal | Investment

Most people ask, what doesn’t Vikram do. With advance degrees in law, accounting, tax and business administration, Vikram wears many hats for Team Cultivate. Vikram brings over 15 years experience with financial market and real estate analysis and investment (including most recently for a series of Qualified Opportunity Funds). Vikram has a long professional portfolio of advising clients on tax planning and tax credit transactions, real estate projects, and stock and asset acquisitions and dispositions. Vikram originally aligned with Cultivate at its inception as an investor and board member for an early investment, and joined as a partner recently to help grow Cultivate Ventures’ portfolio of Qualified Opportunity Fund investments.

Vikram's LinkedIn Profile

Tara Jakubik

Strategy | Digital | Marketing

Tara is a dynamic, client focused professional with six years of public sector and marketing experience who has managed many diverse, and strategically complex projects with collaborative strategies to inspire teams. Her true excitement lies in using business process analysis, data analytics, and innovation to bring creative marketing solutions to clients that drive digital marketing and improve sales performance for small businesses. Tara provides fresh and unique sales and marketing strategies to Cultivate Ventures portfolio companies and clients. When she’s not looking for new market insights for Team Cultivate, she is actively involved in the competitive tennis community in the DMV area.

Tara's Linkedin Profile

Michael Kenlay

Strategy | Investment

Michael's most audacious ambition is to leave the world a better place than when he entered it. Beginning with his days as a small business advisor in the Peace Corps to his most recent role for the last decade as a global business and development consultant, Michael seeks to uncover those human, strategic and market insights that catalyze growth and enable success for clients and portfolio companies. A native of Chicago, he has lived in Colorado, Australia, the UK, and at times over the last several years has called Africa home and now, in Washington, DC. Michael now leads finance and growth of Cultivate Ventures affiliate investments - Local 130 - a best in class seafood distribution company start up based in New Jersey.

Mike's LinkedIn Profile

John Caulkins


John is committed to positive change across a wide spectrum of business, social and cultural investments. A veteran investor in industries including online grocery, furniture, tourism, hospitality, publishing and film, John has a dizzying array of interests. Equally at home in Los Angeles and Prague, John seeks out and nurtures entrepreneurs in his role as bridge-builder. John was a founding investor and partner to Cultivate Ventures.

John's LinkedIn Profile

Rick Graf

Investment | Legal

Rick is best described as Cultivate Ventures’ Yoda. Rick is a lifelong investor and champion of entrepreneurs from across the start-up spectrum. A lawyer with over 30 years of venture capital, real real estate, corporate finance and mergers and acquisition experience. Rick has been lead counsel on more than 100 venture capital and seed investments, more than 75 M&A transactions and a variety of public / private securities offerings. Rick met the Cultivate Team during their first merger and acquisition, and became a founding partner and investor soon after.

Rick's LinkedIn Profile