Mr. Anthony F. Apollaro Jr. – Mr. Apollaro is an experienced investor and asset manager responsible for deploying over One Billion US Dollars ($1,000,000,000) into both private and public companies. During his time as a private equity executive working at firms such as Quad-C Inc., Westbrook Partners LLC and Hicks Muse Tate Furst, Mr. Apollaro was responsible for direct P&L oversight and management of companies representing more than $40M in annual revenues and $17M in recurring profits. Currently, Mr. Apollaro is the CEO of Varsity Financial Group Holdings Inc. (“Varsity”). He founded Varsity to provide investors with access to his unique blended private equity / public markets investment strategy designed to deliver a balanced and dynamic approach to generating investment income and long term capital appreciation throughout all market cycles.
Since graduating from Columbia University in 1993, Mr. Apollaro has spent his career in various areas of finance such as advising corporations on mergers & acquisitions, investing in public securities and private entities, financing real estate projects, managing private assets, selecting managers for capital investment and teaching & lecturing at world class institutions such as Columbia University, Rice University, Stanford University and Texas A&M University. Mr. Apollaro espouses and lectures on a disciplined, patient, “value” based investment philosophy as taught and implemented by Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett, and R. Ted Weschler.
Prior to launching Varsity, he was an equity owner and Chief Investment Officer for Fusion Capital Management where he was in charge of the firm’s (and affiliate’s) investment committees. Mr. Apollaro was directly responsible for all the equity portfolios as well as sourcing / managing due diligence for alternative asset managers. During Mr. Apollaro’s five-year tenure at Fusion, the firm grew from $25 million of assets under administration to over $800 million. Mr. Apollaro sold his interest in Fusion in 2018 to focus on the launch of Varsity.
Mr. Apollaro began his career working as a financial analyst in the Merchant Banking / Leveraged Buyout Financing Group for Chase Manhattan Bank and the Mergers & Acquisitions Group for Merrill Lynch & Co. While at Chase and Merrill, he was ranked at the highest level of analysts and was recruited for a prestigious position with the private equity firm Quad-C Inc. in Charlottesville. During his three year tenure at Quad-C, Mr. Apollaro reported directly to R. Ted Weschler, current Co-Chief Investment Officer of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. in analyzing, valuing and managing the firm’s public and private investments.
Mr. Apollaro transitioned from Quad-C to an opportunity to work at a portfolio company of Westbrook Partners, Evergreen Alliance Gold Limited (EAGL). While at EAGL, Mr. Apollaro reported directly to the CEO Mr. Mike Lohner and helped the firm more than double in size growing from a portfolio of twenty golf courses to over fifty golf courses in three years. Mr. Apollaro was in charge of all joint venture asset management and financing golf course acquisitions / developments. One prominent project Mr. Apollaro led was the highly successful construction and development of the Cowboy Golf Club in partnership with Jerry Jones & family. Mr. Apollaro oversaw the project and managed the partnership with the Jones family. The Cowboy Club was a highly successful investment for the partnership yielding investment returns estimated to be in excess of 60% annually over the five-year holding period.
After aiding in the sale and recapitalization of EAGL, Mr. Apollaro followed CEO Mike Lohner to a new assignment at Home Interiors & Gifts, Inc. (HIG), a Hicks Muse portfolio company. While at HIG, Mr. Apollaro managed two operating units, Boehm Porcelain (Boehm) and The Better Homes and Gardens Collection. Boehm was a world class manufacturer of porcelain sculptures whose works of art are in over 137 museums worldwide, including the White House, the Vatican, and Buckingham Palace. The Better Homes & Gardens Collection was a license product program with Meredith Corporation, an international media company whose prized property is the iconic Better Homes & Garden magazine. As Vice President/ General Manger of these operating units Mr. Apollaro reported to the CEO on all aspects of the businesses, including, but not limited to: strategic issues, P&L responsibilities, employees, product development and risk management.
After three years at HIG, Mr. Apollaro left to return to the investment management business to advise high net worth individuals as Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Optimus Capital Advisors, LLC. (Optimus). Mr. Apollaro was in charge of monitoring and allocating client portfolios as well as sourcing, executing and managing the firms private investment offerings. An example of Mr. Apollaro’s work at Optimus was the growth financing secured for Stella & Dot LLC, a direct seller of jewelry. Mr. Apollaro sourced the opportunity, completed the underwriting, negotiated the terms and monitored the very successful investment generating significant returns of more than 24X turning a $400,000 investment into pre-tax profits of $9.6 million over eight years.
Mr. Apollaro believes that the diversity of his background as well as his successful deployment of capital and management of companies over the last decade through various economic cycles provides him a competitive advantage when assessing the risk / reward characteristics of selected financial securities and management teams. He implements a “value” based investment strategy that is rooted in detailed financial analysis focused on buying ownership interests in an entity. His approach is to acquire ownership in securities whose price currently represents a sufficient margin of safety to our estimates of intrinsic value. Essentially, this strategy is to buy good quality assets at a significant discount.
Mr. Apollaro received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science / Economics from Columbia College at Columbia University in the City of New York. While at Columbia Mr. Apollaro was a four-time letter winner on the Division I baseball team and captained the team to the Lou Gehrig Division Title his senior year. Mr. Apollaro was also President of his fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau, and served as one of five undergraduate voting directors on the fraternity’s national Board of Directors. In his role as investor and advisor, Mr. Apollaro has served as an Officer and Board Member of various public, private and non-profit companies and currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Fairfields Municipal Use District (a Hunt family real estate development) and the Brent Woodall Foundation for Exceptional Children, an IRS recognized 501(c)(3). Also, Mr. Apollaro taught finance classes as a Lecturer at Rice University and Texas A&M University and has commented on financial matters in numerous media outlets including CNBC and various newspapers. Mr. Apollaro holds his Series 66 FINRA license.
Tony resides in Flower Mound, TX with his college sweetheart and wife Penny S. Apollaro, LCSW and their three children: Lauren (19), Anthony (16) and Jack (10). When not in the office he enjoys coaching his children in youth sports, golfing and playing poker.