Ariel (Eric) Bentov, Adv. LLB
Founder & Chairman
Eric Bentov is a co-founder of Champion Capital Group LLC., with more than 20 years of experience in the Domestic and International business sector. As a recognized business leader known for crafting the requisite strategic vision to achieve short and long term business and investment goals, Eric brings his unique blend of executive acumen, global team building and investment and business development solutions. Accordingly, Mr. Bentov developed an exclusive and unique alliance for Champion with major capital partners, high net worth individuals, high profile Tech development companies and major international marketing firms, together with international high profile political and business executives to complete Mr. Bentov’s vision – to create a one stop shop business development company that can cater to the needs of small to mid cap companies in their process to achieve their business development goals, locally and internationally.
In addition to Champion, Eric not only is a Founder and Managing Partner of Arieli Capital and Co-Chairman of Splitit North America, but further accomplishing a project close to his heart, Eric spearheaded the development and creation of EILAT HUB, an advanced tech center in Israel, through the cooperation of the Municipality of Eilat and participating mentors / advisors from the US and Israel. Moreover, Mr. Bentov has a substantial background in shipping and international physical commodity trading, including and not limited to Oil, Gas and Metals. Moreover, he is involved in other domestic business ventures that involve Tech and Bio Tech ventures, Energy, Sustainability Projects, Real Estate, Finance and Hospitality, Agriculture and International financial solutions.
Prior to Founding Champion, Mr. Bentov’s executive background includes serving as President and CEO of Goodson Management Inc., a private financial company, which focused on lending, real estate, and a wide range of private investment opportunities. Prior to Goodson Management, Eric provided significant consultant services to various boutique financial institutions in New York, including serving as an Executive Vice President of Mortgage Bank, located in Roslyn, New York.
Mr. Bentov’s business experience and training began with his associate position in De Orchis and Partners, a well recognized New York City law firm that is a leader in Maritime Law practice. Mr. Bentov also developed his own Law Practice in Israel which focused on Corporate, Banking Law and Real Estate. Eric holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Sheffield University in England and is a member of the Israeli Bar Association.
Founder & Co-Chairman
Peter Lagonikos is a co-founder of Champion Capital Group LLC and has more than 20 years of professional and investment experience in business operations, strategy, finance, law, real estate, commodities and management consulting. As part of the Executive team at Champion, Peter manages the firm’s legal affairs, including responsibility for legal compliance, corporate structuring, contract negotiation as well as strategic business development.
In addition to Champion, Peter is a Founder and Managing Partner of Arieli Capital, Co-Chairman of Splitit North America and also currently serves as a Partner, Legal Advisor and/or Executive Director of various philanthropic, advanced technology, fintech and early stage start-up companies, including the Eilat Hub Israeli Tech Center, Mobility Insight, Socialfy Media and SN2E. As part of SN2E, Peter serves as the North America Business Development Chairperson as part of Champion’s role as the Business Development arm of SNE in North America
A serial entrepreneur, in addition to real estate and commodities, Peter has previously invested in several New York City business ventures related to the food, entertainment, telecom and hospitality industry(s). He currently serves as a Legal Advisor and/or Executive Director of various philanthropic, advanced technology, fintech and early stage start-up companies, including the Eilat Hub Israeli Tech Center, linkID International, Socialfy Media and Ellis Jaxon Farms.
Mr. Lagonikos began his career as a real estate and commercial litigation attorney in the City of New York. Over the ensuing years, as a Managing Member at EELP International, Acadia Metals, Penmark of New York and Strategic Partners Alliance, he garnered a broad leadership and business background with experience in investments, finance and business development in various business sectors, including Commercial Real Estate, Technology, Metals and Oil & Gas.
Peter previously served as Co-Editor of the New York Criminal Law News and also as Legal Advisor to the Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Organization, a United Nations NGO. He is licensed to practice law in New York State and earned his J.D. from New York Law School in 1998.
Head of Global Business Development
In addition to being a seasoned global entrepreneur with ownership is numerous companies in the fields of telecommunications, real estate, green energy and “high-tech”, Oded Harel brings to Champion over 40 years of unparalleled international business experience, accomplishments and acumen which transcends most global platforms.
Significantly, and since 1991, Oded established “Shiran General Trade Ltd.”, a holding company managed from Prague with over 30 subsidiaries devoted to Central Europe trade and finance of commodities including iron ore, coal, steel and pipe, in addition to all related logistics of chartering trains to carry millions of tons of these bulk commodities between Russia and Central East Europe. Shiran activities also include real estate infrastructure and development, hotels, shopping malls, pipe factories, including locomotive factories in Russia, steel production and rail/road logistics, including the largest logistic company in the Czech Republic and the development of the well known D47 Highway project of over 2.6 Billion Euro in the Czech Republic. The yearly turnover of the group exceeded $400 Million. In 2007, Oded founded the “Far East Land Bridge”, a company which revolutionized China/Korea-to-Europe container logistics, reducing delivery between these nations door to door from an average of 50 days to only 14 days.
Oded began his prestigious career in 1973 when he joined the Israeli industrial conglomerate KOOR Industries Ltd, becoming the financial director of KOOR Trade Ltd in Israel and spending 3 years in London developing the trade finance activity of the group worldwide, which covered a great part of all the exports and imports from and into Israel. Thereafter in 1986 Oded established “Batrade Ltd.”, a trade finance company with the Bank LEUMI Group, where he served as CEO and not only managed the bank’s largest clients of export in trade finance activities but he additional managed and oversaw its major projects, including irrigation projects in various countries and the desalination of salt water into sweet water.
Oded graduated from Tel Aviv University in 1971 with a degree in Economics and Accounting and thereafter qualified as a CPA.
Chief Marketing Officer
Steven has 25+ years experience as an accomplished Fortune 50 global strategic brand marketer and CMO with GM expertise in consumer-centric brand building, transformational innovation, B2C and B2B business development and account management with P&G, Coca-Cola and Samsung Electronics, as well as startup experience in Palo Alto, LA , NYC and Atlanta. He is working with Champion Capital Group serving as its CMO with Biz Dev, Product Innovation & capital raise roles.
He has built and led iconic, image-based CPG and durable passion brands globally online and offline in the highly competitive Electronics, Tech, Entertainment, Beverage, Food, Cosmetics, Personal Care, and Health & Well-being categories where building customer intimacy and strong emotional connections with consumers is critical to growing brand equity and KPI results.
Steven was Samsung Electronics SVP, CMO, North America where he led Brand Marketing B2C and B2B teams and agencies across the $25 Billion Divisions. He was part of the Executive Team that contributed to Samsung maintaining its #1 share in HDTV and achieving #1 share in Mobile Phone in the U.S., and creating synergy across Product Groups. Steven served as Coca-Cola VP Worldwide Strategic Planning, Business Development and Marketing for 13 years leading global and local teams to develop innovative consumer-driven brand strategies, technologies and programs. His brand marketing career started with P&G leading iconic brands and growth initiatives in N. America, Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific for 13 years.
Steven is also the Founder, Managing Partner of FortuneCMO LLC www.FortuneCMO.co working with Fortune 1000 companies, VCs, PEs & startup Founders leveraging his global CMO experience. Steven is regularly invited to Chair CMO events, keynote, and lead panels at global CMO thought leadership conferences. Steven is the Resident Digital CMO and Contributing Editor for CMO.com by Adobe. He is on the Palo Alto-based CMO Council Advisory Board. He is a Charter Member of TiE Atlanta, the 4th largest Chapter in the world’s largest entrepreneur network.
Chief Technology Officer
Mr. Neder serves as a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Champion Capital Group and Eilat Hub Tech Center.
Vadim has over 12 years of extensive experience in algorithm research and software development in multidisciplinary fields.
Prior to Champion, Vadim has served as an algorithm and software engineer in various companies in UK and Israel, such as CSR UK, Qualcomm UK, Elbit Systems, Ness Technologies, Wisair and Runcom.
In parallel to industrial activity, for 8 years, Vadim has served as a lecturer / instructor and engineering projects supervisor in Holon Institute of Technology (HIT) in Department of Communication Engineering and Department of Computer Science.
Mr. Neder holds a Master of Science degree from Holon Institute of Technology (HIT), Israel.
Lamar D. Williams
VP of Business Development N.A.
Lamar brings to Champion over 18 years of industry experience, where he serves as Champion’s Executive Vice President of Sales. Before coming to Champion, Lamar has been providing business development, financial and accounting services for the Tanton Group LLP. Before Tanton, he had been Managing Director of Sports & Entertainment at Cherry Beakert & Holland, LLP. Mr Williams has a unique ability to communicate with athletes and entertainers and understands their investment goals, tax planning and lifestyle management needs. He has raised more than $220M of capital for companies and understands “The Business of Raising Capital”. In addition to the above, Lamar uniquely combines his business development services with his expertise in cash flow management, transition planning and budgeting and financial analysis to help provide targeted business strategies and management that go well beyond marketing growth for any company involved with Champion.
Lamar attended Old Dominion University where he studied Economics and Business Management. He is a United States Marine Corps Gulf War Veteran and received a National Defense Service Medal. Lamar also is a registered Investment Advisor with a Series 6, 65 and Life & Health licenses. Lamar lives in Atlanta with his wife and has three children.
Ralph R. Di Fiore
Ralph R. Di Fiore CFA, Senior Managing Director, Mr. DiFiore is a founding principal of Chatsworth Securities LLC and a founding member of Chatsworth Capital Corporation.
He has served as the Director of Retirement Funds for McDonnell Douglas Corporation and held similar positions at NCR Corporation and Owens-Illinois Inc. He was also a founding partner of an international asset manager, an investment banker with James Capel Inc. (now part of HSBC) and was responsible for international marketing at Commodities Corporation. He has substantial experience in structuring and marketing a wide variety of sophisticated investment management products including equities, fixed income, real estate, hedge funds, and managed futures. He holds a BBA and an MA from Pace University.
Joel J. Matcovsky
Joel J. Matcovsky, Senior Managing Director, Mr. Matcovsky is a founding principal of Chatsworth Securities LLC and a founding member of Chatsworth Capital Corporation. He has been a Managing Director at major investment banking firms in the U.S., U.K. and Europe. He was a founder and an Executive Vice President of Merrill Lynch Asset Management and a co-developer of the CMA concept.
Joel was also Managing Director of Banque Paribas’ merchant banking arm in North America and of British-based James Capel’s corporate finance group in the U.S. At Merrill Lynch, Paribas and James Capel, he structured and launched investment products, funds, and partnerships which raised billions of dollars.
Mr. Matcovsky has served as Chairman of the Securities Industry Association’s Committee on Investment Management Regulation and as an adjunct Professor of Economics at New York University’s Stern Graduate School of Business. Mr. Matcovsky was educated at the City University of New York, Brown University and the New York University School of Law.
Steve has over 30 years of experience in financial sales, business development and sales management. Spanning his 30 years in the global financial markets, Steve has held senior positions with many prestigious firms.
Bear Stearns, Bloomberg, Cantor Fitzgerald and Dow Jones to name a few. At Bloomberg, where he spent 15 years, Steve was co-founder of Bloomberg Tradebook, where he built and managed an international sales team of 150 people generating well in excess of $300M in revenues.
Steve has been a trusted advisor to many Wall Street firms and service providers. He has developed strategic relationships with senior financial service executives around the world. Due to his vast experience in the financial sector, he is frequently invited to speak at many industry events.
Steve graduated from Baruch College with a degree in Marketing and Finance and earned his MBA from Baruch College. He currently holds a NASD/FINRA Series 7 license.
Shuki Yehoshua Abramovich
Mr. Shuki Yehoshua Abramovich is a well renowned investment leader and currently serves as the President of Ava Financial Ltd. (ATRADE; AVATRADE)
and serves as the Chairman of Somoto Ltd. In addition, he serves as a Director of Angioslide Ltd., Kalanit Hagilboa Ltd., Argaman Bareket Nadlan & Investments Ltd., Milestone Ltd., Shiftagift Ltd., Tarcha Group Ltd., Habima Building Co. Ltd., Orbix Medical Ltd. and Agate R.M. Investments & Medical Technologies Ltd.
Mr. Abramovich previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Clal Finance Ltd. and has also been a Director of I.D.I. Insurance Company Ltd. since May 15, 2014.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Management from Tel Aviv University and Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Tel Aviv University.
Mordechai C. Kubani
Mordechai C. Kubani: As an innovative entrepreneur, business development and marketing executive focusing on building companies through strategic management, operations, sales and financial advisory, merger and acquisition, Mordechai is an expert in fostering growth and geographic expansion, where his career spans more than 20 years in the technology, media and financial sectors working with top-tier companies.
As the owner of Double Kappa, a strategic consultancy firm, he provides strategic financial and business development and management services serving a distinguished and international list of companies and family offices in a wide variety of industries in both mature and burgeoning markets, all of which seek his ability to create and negotiate strategic partnerships and provide access to the broadest and most dynamic markets possible. Prior to founding Double Kappa, Mordy served as Senior Vice President of Oberon Securities, a New York based boutique investment bank. Preceding his financial services career, Mordy was Senior Vice President of Business Development, dramatically increasing overall sales for Media and Beyond (founded by Daniel Langlois, creator of SoftImage, a 3D modeling software company sold to Microsoft and presently incorporated into Autodesk). As a talented entrepreneur and technology professional, Mordy has also provided consulting services to companies such as Sputnik 7, Accenture, Razorfish, Viant, and SGI Technologies. He has achieved a successful track record as a consultant due to his ability to manage several complex projects simultaneously while able to identify and understand the core business development and operational concerns of most businesses.
Mordy was born and raised in Israel, coming to the United States just after finishing his military service as chief engineer of a fleet of F15s and earning his degree in engineering and computer science and business management from Tel Aviv University and Master Business studies at NYU.
At the beginning of his professional career, Rami served in the Israeli Defense Forces as an industrial and management engineer, specializing in management and control of large scale projects, this parallel to his service as a field officer (Major) in the Artillery Corps. Rami has many personal and business connections with key position holders in Israel, including all the large advertisement agencies, telecommunication operators, venture capital investment houses, and so forth.
Derek Caldwell founded Kariba Capital in 2004. Prior to Kariba, Mr. Caldwell was Executive Vice President of Sunrise Securities for 14 years, where he primarily focused on private placements in public companies as well as business development and the financing of private companies.
Throughout his career, Derek has focused on identifying and conducting effective due diligence on opportunities and assisting management and investors in reaching their goals. Mr. Caldwell has focused on small and micro cap companies, primarily in the natural resources, healthcare, and technology sectors. Derek is interested in helping promising companies grow to reach their full potential, while offering opportunities for investors to participate in promising, due diligenced opportunities. Derek earned his B.A. in Economics from Wake Forest University.
Albert C. Yuen
Albert C. Yuen is a Managing Partner of Kariba Capital. Before joining Kariba, Mr. Yuen served as a Portfolio Manager and member of the Investment Committee at LR Global where he was instrumental in launching, managing, and structuring the firm’s Frontier Market Equity investment vehicles. Prior to joining LR Global, Albert was a Portfolio Manager and Senior Equity Analyst with Rockefeller & Co.’s Global Equity Team where he held responsibility, at various times, for the firm’s holdings in Financial Services, Healthcare/Biotech and Small Capitalization U.S. Equities. Mr. Yuen has also held positions with Liberty Square Asset Management and Smith Barney.
Albert has a broad range of experience with companies involved in the Resources, Energy, Agriculture, Healthcare, and Financial Services Sectors. He is also extremely passionate about developing markets, entrepreneurship and social impact investing. Albert graduated from Northeastern University in Boston, cum laude, with a degree in Finance and Accounting with additional coursework in Engineering and Economics.
He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), a CFA Charterholder and an active member of the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA), formerly serving on the Chapter’s Board Nominating Committee, currently serving as Co-Vice Chair of the Institutional Asset Management Committee, and speaking on and organizing several events and panels on behalf of NYSSA. Mr. Yuen holds FINRA Series 7, 79 and 63 and earned his B.S. in Finance and Accounting from Northeastern University.
Evan Renov is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Arieli Capital and a Partner at Beechwood Ventures, a single family office concentrating on high-tech and life sciences investments. Evan currently serves on the board of Moonbow Ventures, Zoomd Ltd, and SNÉ. He is also an Advisor to several companies and accelerators, including Qure Digital Health Fund, Eilat Hub and the AtoBe Accelerator. Evan has been an invited speaker, judge and mentor at prominent tech events and is a Tony Award-nominated producer. Evan previously served as Senior Director, Investor Relations for Fortress Biotech (formerly Coronado Biosciences), where he established the investor relations program as a private company and helped lead the initiative to access the public markets. Evan also served as a Managing Director at Paramount BioCapital and Vice President of Business Development for Paramount BioSciences. Evan holds a B.Sc in finance from Yeshiva University (cum laude), where he served as President of the Sy Syms School of Business, and earned his MBA from the JL Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Kevin Rubey is a global business leader who currently serves as Chief Operating Officer of EndoChoice where he is responsible for global manufacturing.
Prior to EndoChoice, Mr. Rubey was the Chief Operating Officer at Given Imaging (dual-listed on both the NASDAQ and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, where it is a component of the TA-100 Index and the TA BlueTech-50 Index) where he launched and commercialized the PillCam® Video Capsule and several other products.
Before joining Given Imaging in 2001, Mr. Rubey held a variety of leadership positions at Kodak, Imation Corporation and 3M Company. Overall, he has more than 25 years of experience in manufacturing, research and development, supply chain, customer service, information technologies, intellectual property and quality and regulatory affairs.
Mr. Rubey holds a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from the University of Minnesota.
Cyber Security, Smart and Safe City Advisor
Eli Polak has served in the Israeli army for three decades. He retired after a successful military career as Brigadier-General in 2013. Along his career, General Polak has served as a commander and as an intelligence officer in various operational and technological units in combat zones and during war time.
Eli completed his military career as the Chief Combat Intelligence and Collection officer at the Ground Force Command (Brigadier-General). Previously, he served as the Geospatial Intelligence Agency (IGA) Commander – in the Israeli Intelligence Department (Colonel), and the Field Intelligence School Commander (Colonel). During his military career Eli command and manage few technical units which were unique on their domains and developed state of the art systems for the operational needs.
After his retirement in 2013, Eli founded and managed E.SOOF Ltd, a startup company specializing in solving one of the main problems in the world causing car accidents – texting while driving and its distraction outcome. E.SOOF developed a system called BAZZ, which is designed to enable safe driving by reducing drivers distractions. BAZZ allows the user to receive a text message such as SMS or WhatsApp, listen to the content of the message and respond 100% hands free via simple intuitive voice commands in four different ways.
Eli holds an MA in political science, specializing in national security at the University of Haifa and the Israel National Defense College (INDC), and a B.A in HR Management from Ben Gurion University (Graduated with Honors).
Paul Compton: President of CapX Payments, CEO of Splitit North America, Co- founder and Managing Partner of 3PE Capital Fund and payment industry consultant and advisor for over 20 years holding many executive positions at well-established payment organizations. Paul has significant executive experience and service from leading merchant service companies and he has built and driven highly successful sales channels and sales teams in the credit/debit card processing industry. Paul started at a young age in the payment space, and moved up in the ranks from Sales Rep to Sales Executive after selling well over 40,000 business owners, building a team of over a thousand reps, and relationships with over 700 value added resellers. Many of his previous reps are executives in the industry after many years by Paul’s side learning the space. Together, they have created billions in portfolio value on three different occasions now. Previously, Paul served over 6 years as Executive Vice President of Sales at EVO Platinum Services Group, where he worked alongside the CEO and was specifically asked to run the entire EVO sales organization. Paul has demonstrated sustainable success in the merchant service arena, including consistently building large sales teams of Independent Sales Organizations (ISO), agents, wholesalers, resellers, Value Added Resellers (VAR) programs and Agent Bank channels. In addition, he has developed all aspects of ISO office support, including back office support, vendor and reseller negotiation, field and university training and support for ISO sales forces, including closing of large merchant deals, associations and franchises for merchant sales forces. Significantly, Paul was a major factor in the early growth at Heartland Payments as it evolved into a large publicly traded company. Specifically, as Regional Director of Sales at Heartland he built successful ISOs, VARs, and Financial Institution programs, where Paul generated well over $4 Billion in processing and over $20 million a year in revenue.
Mr. Compton graduated summa cum laude with a B.B.A degree in business management in 1998 from Oklahoma Christian University.
Business Relationship Manager, Israel
Mrs. Lana Elner serves as Champion’s Business Relationship Manager in Israel. Mrs. Elner began her career as a criminal and commercial litigation attorney in Israel. Over the ensuing years, as a part of Israeli leading law firm, El Al Airlines insurance and claims department and later on as an owner of independent law firm, she garnered a broad business background with experience in regulations, investments and business development in various business sectors, including Startups, and over 12 years of extensive experience in Renewable Energy fields.
Mrs. Elner has a substantial background in import, INCOTERMS regulation and legal issues, as well as related credit insurance. Moreover, for 2,5 years she supervised over 3.5 MW PV project installation in Italy.
Prior to Champion, Mrs. Elner served as a VP Business Development in Israeli Start Up focused on smart transportation & connected vehicles.
During the 2015 COP 21 Conference held in Paris, Mrs. Elner has been an invited speaker at the governmental events (blue zone).
Mrs. Elner holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Master’s Degree in Business Strategy and Entrepreneurship and is also a member of the Israeli Bar Association.
Pablo Garcia: Co-Founder and Managing Partner of 3PE Capital Fund and the Chief Revenue Officer of CapX Payments and has over 20 years of processing experience. Mr. Garcia has vast knowledge of the payments space and an industry reputation for international, high risk and cost free processing. He is also very well versed in coding and architecture of payment processing software. Mr. Garcia began his career in the payment processing point of sale business with Micros and many others over the years. As a VP he learned what POS systems needed to integrate to processors and the path to deployment for national chains and hotel groups. In addition, Pablo has also run very successful sales offices for himself and his partners building multi-billion dollar portfolios. Over his career, he has built and trained sales teams and call rooms to board 1000 plus merchant applications monthly. He is rare in that he knows the sales side of the payments space as well as the corporate side of the merchant business. He also became an expert in high risk merchant services and has served as an advisor and consultant in the industry for large ISOs and processors setting up the risk management software and underwriting teams. His expertise here is unmatched and allows processors to acquire high margin deals they would otherwise have to decline.
Pablo holds a MBA from Woodbury University and Bachelor Of Science in Economics from Occidental University.