MIAMI (June 13, 2023) -- KEO World (KEO), the leading digital B2B payment and inventory financing fintech, today announced the appointment of Michal Cieplinski, Len Pagon and James Carey to the board of advisors. The new board advisors bring a wealth of industry knowledge and expertise to KEO.
Cieplinski is a Silicon Valley veteran with over 22 years of operating and legal experience in the financial technology and services sector, as well as a proven track record developing unicorn companies. He is the Co-Founder & Chief Business Officer of Pipe, a unicorn company and one of the fastest growing fintech startups. Cieplinski’s extensive industry experience includes, serving as the Senior Vice President at Lending Club, the largest publicly traded fintech lender as well as co-founding Fundbox, a unicorn B2B fintech lender.
“KEO is the first global B2B inventory financing network that is set to revolutionize cross border inventory financing. I am privileged to be joining the Board and assisting in KEO’s next stages of growth,” said Michal Cieplinski.
Len Pagon is the Chairman and CEO of Next Sparc Growth Partners, which he founded in 2009 after the sale of his firm, Brulant. At Next Sparc, Pagon oversees strategic growth initiatives and advises the firm’s portfolio companies on growth and expansion. He is also actively involved in the Cleveland Chapter of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and is currently an executive committee member. Pagon has received various awards and earned significant recognition as an entrepreneur and high-growth business leader. Awards include being named as the 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young as well as named in the Crain’s Cleveland Business annual “Who’s Who in Technology” and “40 under 40” lists, his exceptional leadership also earned Brulant a three-time Inc. 500 winner.
“We quickly recognized that we had a very unique opportunity to support Paolo and his talented team on their incredible growth journey,” said Len Pagon, Chairman and CEO of Next Sparc. “I’m thrilled to partner with KEO and continue to build the business into the premier B2B financing solution in the world.”
Carey is a Partner at Next Sparc Growth Partners and Head of Originations at the firm. Before joining Next Sparc, James was a Senior Vice President and the Head of Business Development at Peterson Partners, a diversified private investment firm focused on growth equity and venture capital investments. Prior to joining Peterson Partners, James was a Director at H.I.G. Capital, a leading global private equity investment firm with over $55 billion of equity capital under management.
“We are thrilled to partner with KEO, the fastest growing Fintech company in Latin America. KEO’s growth and innovation in the B2B financing market is unprecedented. KEO’s expansion into the United Sates and Canada will revolutionize the industry. The best is yet to come.” said James Carey.
“We are thrilled to have these remarkable individuals join the board of advisors, and for Next Sparc to join as shareholders” said Paolo Fidanza, Founder and CEO of KEO World. “Michal’s incredible fintech acumen will help us leverage our exponential growth and customer satisfaction to new offerings and open additional revenue streams. Len’s background as entrepreneur growing a company from the ground up to a mega exit, and then as investor backing up many entrepreneurs to drive business and performance growth, and James’ experience in the investment and private equity sectors are invaluable added value to me and the KEO senior team -- their wealth of experience and additional brain power will be instrumental as KEO continues to rapidly grow.”
These new board appointees come on the heels of recent milestones for KEO World, including:
Growing List of Partners: KEO and Ingram Micro partnered to drive business growth in the technology sector by providing Ingram Micro customers with a flexible digital financial solution to purchase inventory.
Enhanced B2B Platform: Under the card issuance license with American Express and through the Amex Business Link™ platform, KEO's Workeo solution offers a new digital payment ecosystem which contributes to the improvement of supplier/buyer negotiations and optimization of B2B transactions.
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About KEO World
Founded in 2020, KEO World is an innovative FinTech helping buyers and suppliers accelerate business growth through all-digital B2B payment and inventory financing solutions. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, KEO operates in the U.S., Mexico and throughout Latin America. To learn more about KEO World, visit www.keoworld.com.
About Next Sparc Growth Partners
Next Sparc is a Cleveland-based, professional family office that makes direct investments in rapidly growing founder-led and family-owned businesses. We leverage our entrepreneurial experience, operational expertise, insights from 100+ transactions since 2009, and a repeatable playbook to grow and scale companies. We accelerate growth by leveraging our deep operational experience, patient capital, and extensive resources. Next Sparc serves as a value-added partner to our businesses and seeks entrepreneurs who desire to build a scalable business and accelerate growth. Learn more at nextsparc.com
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