Who we are
Sycamore Ridge has gathered a number of talented individuals as principals, advisors and investors--all of whom are passionate about building and advising small to middle market companies. The team brings decades of management, finance and investment experience that will help protect and grow your business through its transition and thereafter.
With its unique owner/operator approach, Sycamore Ridge is committed to delivering the best results for all stakeholders, and is steadfastly committed to protecting and growing the founder's legacy.
Prior to Sycamore Ridge, Ben was a member of the U.S. Navy as a nuclear officer on the submarine USS Maryland. Ben served in four operational roles in the Middle East and Asia, leading over 75 sailors. In 2012, he was selected as the lead Officer of the Deck and was awarded the USS Maryland and Squadron 20 Division Officer of the Year award.
Following his submarine tour, Ben served as an adviser to NAVSEA’s senior executive team; NAVSEA is responsible for U.S. Navy procurement and acquisition programs and is comprised of 65,000 personnel with an annual $40B budget.
Ben has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Engineering and History from the United States Naval Academy.
Ben grew up on a farm in rural Illinois and is one of nine children. His father started a small business in 1988, and he has been a part of his father's business growth since its beginning.
Ben Fehr, Founder and Managing Partner
Eric brings a complementary yet unique background to complete the Sycamore Ridge team. He’s had a successful career as an investment banker and a financial adviser overseeing multiple international deals.
Throughout his tenure as an investment banker at the joint venture of Lazard/Raiffeisen and William Blair & Co., Eric worked in cross-border M&A deals, privatizations, and IPOs in more than 20 European and North American transactions, cumulatively valued over $15 billion. A highlight of Eric’s tenure was when Financial Times awarded his team “Financial Advisor of the Year” in 2013.
Together with his finance experience, Eric also brings industrial engineering and operations knowledge to Sycamore Ridge; in particular, he contributed to major projects for the management consulting firm Value Partners and the consumer goods corporation Procter & Gamble.
Eric Ercument Kocer, Managing Partner
Eric holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Bosphorus University.
Eric enjoys playing his Hammond Organ as a semi-professional blues musician.
Board of Advisors
John "Jack" Neal. Mr. Neal has over 30 years of experience in executive positions in the financial services and banking industries. He was the Managing Director and the Head of Corporate Banking at Bank One Capital Markets. Prior to Bank One, Mr. Neal served as the President of Kemper Funds where he oversaw Kemper's retail activities. He has also served on the investment committee for One Equity Partners and serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations. Mr. Neal received an AB from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Gokce Kabatepe. Mr. Kabatepe has been the Managing Director of Raiffeisen-Lazard Joint Venture in Eastern Europe since 2008. Under his leadership, his team closed over 50 transactions for a total volume over $20B. Mr. Kabatepe has over 25 years of Investment Banking and deal execution experience working in large cross-border transactions between the U.S. and Europe. He received a BS from the University of Texas Austin and an MBA from Yale School of Management.
Vice Admiral William "Willy" Hilarides. VADM Hilarides served in the U.S. Navy for over 35 years until his retirement in 2016. Admiral Hilarides served as the Commanding Officer for the USS Key West, and in 2002 became an acquisition professional in the U.S. Navy. He served as the Program Executive Officer for Submarines 2010-2012 and then served as the Commander of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) 2013-2016. He received a BS from the US Naval Academy and an MS in Engineering Management from Catholic University.
Fatih Isbecer. Mr. Isbecer currently serves as the President of Monitise Americas. He has 20+ years of software and fintech industry experience as an entrepreneur and CEO. He started Pozitron at the age of 24 which began Eastern Europe's mobile banking, commerce and payments ecosystem. In a short period of time, Pozitron was named Deloitte Technology Fast500 EMEA company in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Pozitron was acquired by Monitise in February 2014.
John P. McDaniel. Mr. McDaniel served as Chief Executive Officer of MedStar Health, a multi-billion dollar healthcare organization throughout the MidAtlantic consisting of ten hospitals, 11 urgent care and four multispecialty centers, from 1982 until his retirement in 2008. Since August 2008, he has served as Chairman of the Hickory Ridge Group, a private healthcare consulting and facilities development organization. He has an MHA from the University of Michigan.