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Connect with our team of lending experts in renewable energy, hospitality, modular construction and real estate to learn more.
Our lending experts work hard to effectively help clients preserve wealth and grow their businesses.
Our team works together to solve complex financing challenges with a deep understanding of the industries we serve. With over 150 years of combined industry experience, AVANA Capital’s team is composed of experts in structuring debt, credit analysis, fixed-income investing, and ongoing risk management. We specialize in guiding borrowers through every step of the lending process to ensure a quick, seamless, and cost-effective process.
Chief Executive Officer
Sundip Patel is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AVANA Companies, the holding company for the ESG fintech platform serving entrepreneurs and investors since 2002. Sundip oversees the LendThrive™ and EqualSeat ™ platforms for lending and investment, respectively, focused on supporting sustainable growth in communities. LendThriveTM was created to provide frictionless capital to small businesses in America while EqualSeatTM was created to democratize the returns from the small business loan investments.
Prior to founding AVANA, Sundip created the popular tech startup Huddle247.com, providing online business services for workgroup collaboration, and which PC Magazine rated among the top virtual workplace solutions in 2000. He also founded SOFTECT, a California-based technology training start-up.
Sundip earned an MBA from the University of California, Irvine in 1998 and bachelors’ degrees in economics, finance, and accounting from California State University at Fullerton in 1990. He holds both a CPA and CMA licenses in California, USA.
Sundip splits his time between the headquarters in Bahrain, Middle East and Phoenix, Arizona, USA. With his passion for helping others, he founded the Giggle Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides funding towards basic health, education, and empowerment for underprivileged people in the USA, Africa, and India. Sundip is an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (Bahrain and San Francisco Gold), the National Association of Development Companies (NADCO), and the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (NAGGL).
Sundip is a frequent speaker on investing, lending, ESG, fintech, and technology.
Favorite Journey: The one I am on now.
Past Itineraries: Riding elephants in Zimbabwe, fishing on the Zambezi, and lounging on the beach in Cannes, Mauritius, Jamaica, and Mexico.
Next ‘Must Do’ Trip: Maldives, Vietnam, and Vineyards in New Zealand.
Passionate About: Being a good father and husband. The tireless pursuit of happiness and contributing to the betterment of all children through our Foundation.
Guilty Pleasure: A bottle of Duckhorn wine, my family close by, a good book, and no cell phones.
Personal Motto: “Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.” -R.J. Palacio
Favorite Quote: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” -Winston Churchill
Chief Lending Officer
A veteran of the commercial banking industry with over 25 years of experience, Sanat Patel is the Chief Lending Officer of AVANA Companies, as well as a Co-founder of our legacy company, AVANA Capital.
In his position as Chief Lending Officer, Sanat oversees credit and risk administration, as well as the origination and syndication of commercial debt. Sanat excels at navigating the complexities of commercial debt management, as well as creating opportunities for entrepreneurs to realize their dreams and create wealth for their businesses to thrive.
Prior to AVANA, Sanat served in various functions of commercial banking, supporting clients across segments of corporate banking within Wells Fargo Bank, Citibank, and JP Morgan. His competitive drive resulted in him being ranked in the top 10% of bankers nationwide within these institutions.
Sanat earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a dual major in finance and management science, and a minor in economics, from California State University, Fullerton. In 2008, Sanat completed the Banking Degree offered by Pacific Coast Banking School, held at the University of Washington. Currently, Sanat is pursuing an Executive MBA at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.
Sanat was a founding member of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Arizona and served as its President from 2014-2016. He also served as a Board Member for Make-A-Wish in Arizona and is the current President of the Phoenix chapter of Pratham USA.
Activities I want to do before my next birthday: Skydive and hot air balloon ride.
Next ‘Must Do’ Trip: Safari trip with my family and friends.
Passionate About: Learning how to continually make a difference for my family; and seeing world from my children’s perspective, as they are our future.
Guilty Pleasure: Single malt scotch.
Personal Motto: By helping others succeed, I will experience success in all aspects of my life.
Favorite Quote: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. “ -Abraham Lincoln.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Strategic Financial and Operations Leader with an impressive track record of driving success and transformation through effective utilization of people, processes and technology. Deep expertise in accounting, budgeting, financial modeling and analytics, controls, process and tax. Passionate about utilizing agile change methodologies for continuous improvement and developing a controlled, financially sound operating model. Excellent communication skills that capture the trust and confidence of both subordinates and fellow officers and inspire the entire team to deliver positive bottom-line results.
• Business Strategy and Leadership. C-Suite leader who provides data driven insight on business operations and finance through analytics and metrics. Chair of Management Committee driving business direction, finance, new business opportunities and M&A.
• Strong Controllership, Operations and Systems Mindset. CFO/COO with a demonstrated ability to drive significant impact on early stage to mature businesses, enhancing existing process, systems and people. Assess and control risk across the business, vendors and service providers. Identify and implement best in class capability at a global and private business level.
• Process Improvement Proficiency. Certified Black Belt in Six Sigma/ LEAN. Trained in redesign of processes to improve operating effectiveness. Led strategy for global process improvement and system implementations.
• Asset Management Leader. Deep experience across public and private asset classes in 40 Act and alternative funds. Innovative self-starter and architect for multiple fund launches across many jurisdictions.
Chief Credit Officer
Matt Hunt is the son of a banker and began his own career as a teller at age 17. He has remained in the industry ever since and now has more than 22 years of experience in commercial banking.
Matt joined AVANA Capital in 2015 as Chief Credit Officer. He advises small business owners on how to grow their businesses through real estate ownership, and he guides them through the process.
Prior to joining AVANA Capital, Matt was Senior Vice President and Director of National Real Estate for Zions Bank. In that role, he oversaw the bank’s nationwide commercial real estate lending platform with a primary focus in SBA 504 lending. During his 16 years at Zions Bank, the National Real Estate Group originated over $10 billion in commercial real estate loans, including nearly $5 billion in SBA 504 1st mortgage loans.
Matt earned an M.B.A. from the University of Utah in 2010. He also graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Finance from University of Utah in 1998. In 2005, he also completed a master’s level extension program at the University of Washington’s Pacific Coast Banking School.
Typical Matt: Matt is an avid runner. He has completed four marathons and multiple 200-mile relay races. He recently caught the triathlon bug and finished his first 70.3 Ironman race in 2014.
Passionate About: Family. The greatest blessings in Matt’s life are his beautiful wife of 20+ years and his of four children (2 boys and 2 girls). He loves spending time in Utah’s mountains with his family; wake boarding in the summers and snowboarding in the winters.
Past Itineraries: Watching five Major League Baseball games at five different stadiums and visiting the Pro Football Hall of Fame in a six-day trip with his sons. Matt is a devoted Red Sox fan and has a goal of visiting all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums.
Interesting Fact: Matt lived in the Netherlands for two years and speaks Dutch fluently.
Personal Motto: I am not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my choices.
Favorite Quote: “Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games. -Babe Ruth
SVP - Real Estate Credit
Payal Bhatia is a finance professional with 5 years of experience in credit analysis, SME lending, internal audit and risk management. As a Relationship Manager with AVANA Capital, the key goal of her position is managing the credit risk associated with commercial real estate lending guiding Client’s throughout the origination, underwriting and closing processes. She has in-depth knowledge of Hotel, Construction and other CRE financing with a focus on SBA lending. Payal has underwritten transactions totaling over $150MM.
She previously worked with Ernst & Young as a Consultant. As part of the Risk Advisory Services team, she worked with real estate and government-sector clients. She undertook various internal audit and risk assessment assignments on projects and schemes implemented and funded by the government as well as by international funding agencies, such as World Bank, UNDP & DFID.
Payal is a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM). She earned a Master of Finance from the University of Glasgow, U.K. and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Manipal University, India.
Typical Payal: Restless and impatient, but always planning ahead. Payal strives to find balance in all aspects of her life.
Past Itineraries: Cycling through a tiny village in the Netherlands, a hot air balloon ride over the strange landscape of Cappadocia Turkey, hiking to the top of a waterfall in Koh Samui Thailand, and cliff diving in Negril Jamaica.
Passionate About: Traveling to obscure places and Interior Decor.
Guilty Pleasure: Chocolate and her Mother’s cooking.
Personal Motto: Choose to be happy!
Favorite Quote: “I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing.” – Socrates.
VP - Loan Originations
Trevor has been working in financial services for ten years. Currently, Trevor a Vice President at AVANA Companies and is responsible for commercial real estate loan originations.
Prior to joining AVANA, Trevor worked at Genworth Financial, focusing on commercial real estate originations. Throughout his career, Trevor has been involved in +$1 billion in CRE loan origination.
Trevor has a Master’s in Business Administration from the Simon School at the University of Rochester and a Bachelor of Science from Susquehanna University in Finance.
VP - Real Estate Debt & Syndications
Shivan joined AVANA Capital as a Business Development Officer in 2016 after obtaining his MBA in Global Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU. He specializes in CRE lending, risk management, and marketing to the commercial real estate community. He provides tailored SBA and conventional lending solutions to clients and conducts credit and financial prescreen on CRE ventures.
Shivan has experience in business development consulting in growth strategy for domestic and international SMEs. He leverages management experience from non-profit and financial sectors and has served as a consultant for multiple successful tech start-up companies. Shivan has a passion and expertise in entrepreneurship and commercial real estate.
Previously Shivan attended the University of North Carolina Wilmington and received a B.A in Organizational Psychology and a B.A. in Criminology with a focus in legal studies, and began his financial career in retail banking for Wells Fargo. He has since received extensive training in finance and management throughout his career.
Past Itineraries: Backpacking through Eastern Europe, hiking the famous Sigiriya (Lion’s Rock) in Sri Lanka, working on an emerging market consulting project in Romania, watching the sunrise atop Machu Picchu.
Hobbies: Playing drums, hiking, mountain biking, surfing, and reading.
Passionate About: Business, finance, world politics, culinary arts, culture, travel, and learning.
Guilty Pleasure: Chocolate, things covered in chocolate, things with chocolate in them.
Personal Motto: “Limitations live only in the mind. The key to becoming is believing.
Favorite Quote: “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.” -Sheryl Sandberg.
VP - Portfolio Management
Chrystelle Mae Quioyo has over 6 years of combined experience in financial due diligence reviews, business valuations, financial feasibility studies and audit covering various sectors. Chrystelle’s key function is to analyze credit risk mainly through carrying out due diligence reviews on AVANA Capital’s deals. She is also involved in underwriting, processing and closing of loans.
Prior to joining AVANA Capital, Chrystelle worked with Grant Thornton in Bahrain as a Senior Consultant under the Advisory Department, and Isla Lipana & Co. (a PwC member firm) in Philippines as a Senior Associate under the Deals and Corporate Finance Department.
Chrystelle is a Certified Public Accountant. She graduated Cum Laude from Ateneo de Davao University in Philippines with Bachelor of Science in Accountancy. She also passed the Certified Financial Consultant examination.
Typical Chrystelle: Generally happy with positive outlook in life.
Past itineraries: Toured Dubai and rode the world’s fastest roller coaster in Abu Dhabi, enjoyed theme parks in Singapore and Hong Kong, visited Oman and Malaysia.
Passionate About: Family and loved ones, food, photography, travel, movies and TV series, and vintage video games.
Guilty Pleasure: Binge sleeping during weekends.
Personal Motto: “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you.”
Favorite Quote: “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8
VP - Servicing Manager
Lori Bernhardt is a banking professional with over 30 years of experience. As an administrative/closing officer with AVANA Capital, her key functions are to organize information flow from multiple sources, handle closing loan transactions, conduct post follow-ups to ensure compliance and timely reporting of data with various lenders, and assist ongoing service of client loan portfolios when needed.
Lori began building her 30-year career while still in high school. She worked first at Valley National Bank, which became BankOne, and then JP Morgan Chase.
Typical Lori: When not working, you can always find Lori with family, her beloved animals, and her nose in a good book.
Past Itineraries: Lori’s brief world travels include deep sea fishing in Cabo San Lucas, Bi-Centennial in Philadelphia, Worlds Fair in California, and camping just about everywhere in the USA.
Passionate About: FAMILY, reading, being an active advocate for “Bully Breed” dogs, and exploring house hunting and renovations.
Guilty Pleasure: Anything with chocolate.
Personal Motto: Everything has a silver lining, so look on the bright side.
Favorite Quote: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas A. Edison
Associate - Closing
As a Portfolio and Closing Assistant, Ailleen handles administrative tasks and serves as office manager for the Bahrain office. She works closely with Mr. Sundip Patel and the AVANA team to service the current portfolio of loans and institutional investors in the MENA region.
Between 2011 and 2016, Ailleen worked with Bahrain Airport Company’s Quality, Health and Safety department, providing assistance to the QHSE Director on compliance with audit procedures and international commercial standardization as well as providing assistance to the CEO executive office on the Airport Modernization Project.
Previously, Ailleen served as executive secretary to the Managing Partner of Grant Thornton Audit Firm and worked as an Office Manager for Symmetry Global’s office in Bahrain.
Ailleen brings to AVANA Capital, seven years of extensive administrative and customer service experience.
Ailleen received her Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication with a focus on Broadcast Media at the University of the Philippines earning a University Scholar distinction award.
Typical Ailleen: Tactful and level headed. Takes her coffee black.
Past Itineraries: Climbed most mountains in South East Asia above 4,000 feet, explored Scotland’s Glen Nevis National Park; historic tour of the Vikings’ life in York; enjoyed Singapore’s theme parks with her daughter Ghabe..
Passionate About: Her eight year old daughter, Ghabe.
Guilty Pleasure: Anything with dark chocolate in it!
Personal Motto: It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.
Favorite Quote: “Quality is much better than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.” -Steve Jobs
AVANA Capital Advisory Board and Board Members provide advice and support to the company's management and employees. The board advisors and members are all well established in their fields of expertise and their diverse professional backgrounds serve to advance our mission in helping small businesses grow.
Meet our Board and learn how their experiences enable us to provide outstanding service to our clients.
Haven is the Co-founder and Chief Business Officer of Pairwise, a next generation agriculture company focused on using gene editing technologies to address global food challenges. The company has secured $125M in capital over the next five years to accomplish its mission. In his role Haven is responsible for developing the company’s commercial strategy and using CRSPRs to bring new crop varieties to the market that make healthy food more convenient, affordable and sustainable. Prior to Pairwise, Haven was the General Manager and Sr. Vice President of Plant Sciences at the J.R. Simplot Company, one of the largest privately-held food and agribusiness companies in the United States. Haven built the team and strategy for Simplot’s biotechnology potato and strawberry efforts and commercialized the Innate potato, one of the first biotech products to have both consumer and producer benefits. Haven has significant experience at the intersection of technology and business. He served as a senior scientist at the Barnett Institute at Northeastern University and later worked as an investment professional at Peter Thiel’s Clarium Capital before joining Simplot. Baker received a B.S. from Yale University, a PhD in chemistry from Northeastern University, and an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School. He grew up on a farm in Moses Lake, Washington.
Tony Velleca is a veteran IT specialist and a former aerospace engineer, named by ComputerWorld one of 2010’s Premier 100 IT Leaders for driving positive change and innovation through technology. He is currently the Chief Information Security Officer at UST Global and Chief Executive Officer of CyberProof, a UST Global company. As the visionary leader behind the innovative cyber solutions, Tony is driving the rapid growth of CyberProof and leveraging its capabilities to keep UST Global on the forefront of security. For 10 years prior to his current role, Tony was the Chief Information Officer of UST Global, responsible for information technology, communications and security services for global operations spanning more than 26 countries. Prior to joining UST Global, Tony was a co-founder and the Chief Technology Officer at huddle247.com, which PC Magazine had rated among the top virtual workspace solutions in 2000. Prior to huddle247.com, he worked for Boeing (formerly McDonnell Douglas) and Rolls-Royce, Inc. where he spent most of his career in conceptual design and optimization of propulsion systems for next generation commercial and military aircraft. Tony holds a BS degree in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA (Honors) from University of California, Irvine.
Aman has over fifteen years of operating experience in both public and private technology companies including PayPal, eBay, Sonos, Collective, and CAN Capital. Over the years he’s helped raise nearly a billion dollars from top VC and PE firms such as Accel, Greycroft, and KKR, and banks such as Morgan Stanley, SunTrust, Wells Fargo, UBS, JPMorgan and Barclays. Aman was CFO at CAN Capital, an alternative finance platform that has provided billions of dollars in lending for small business. Before that, he was the CFO of Visto, Inc. (formerly Collective, Inc.), an ad tech platform located in New York. While there, he guided them from $100 million in revenue to over $175 million in revenue, with double digit operating profit margins. He also led all of their public company readiness efforts, including an S-1 filing. Aman spent nine years at PayPal and eBay doing financial planning and analysis, customer analytics and strategy, and helped build PayPal into a global leader in payment processing and financial services. Earlier in his career he also held positions at Lehman Brothers and McKinsey. Aman graduated from Stanford with an undergraduate degree in economics, and a JD in law from Harvard University. He is member of the board of advisors for Dalia Empower, chairman of the board for Stanford Review, a governor for Junior Achievement Worldwide, and a member of the board of advisors for crowdsmart.io.
John is a recognized hospitality industry leader with over 25 years of experience. He has a proven track record of success with a diverse background in real estate and hospitality investments, finance, management, development and construction. John’s prior experience includes real estate management of commercial, retail, single-family, multi-family and hospitality projects in the United States and China where he has built a reputation both in the US and internationally through consistently delivering profitable solutions in all areas of the industry. He is an innovative leader with the ability to coordinate multi-national, large scale projects and is also experienced in acquisitions, development, valuation, and management in a variety of settings. John is also best known for maximizing profit potential for hospitality investments through effective operations, asset management and capital structuring and deployment. Since 2004, John has served as both board director and a strategic leader at HFS Concepts4 (HFS C4). HFS C4 is a leading turnkey design build firm in hospitality renovations. HFS C4’s services include interior design, interior architecture, purchasing, sourcing and installation management. HFS C4’s clients include hotel brands such as Marriott, Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza Hotels. John is currently active in investing in adaptive reuse developments for transitional housing in Los Angeles working with non-profit housing operators who focus on the homeless and the at-risk homeless community. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Real Estate Development and Finance. Activities & Affiliations:
Avanthi is a technology and microfinance entrepreneur who has founded and led innovative businesses from Silicon Valley to India. She is currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area as the co-founder and President of NextBrick Solutions Limited, a technology consultancy firm with clients that include NASA, Oracle, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and MetLife. Avanthi is also a Venture Partner at NextGen, a Washington, DC-based venture capital firm and serves on the Board of FINCA International in Washington DC as well. Earlier, Avanthi founded Akshaya Microfinance, a social enterprise based in Rajasthan, India that promotes financial inclusion by offering microcredit services to low-income and rural women. During this time, Avanthi also founded NextGreen Infrastructure, Ltd., an Indian energy company that provides ESC services and investments in renewable energy utilities like solar. In 2008, Avanthi was named a winner of the CRISIL-ICICI-CNBC TV18 Woman Entrepreneur of The Year Award. She is an active member of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and Women Corporate Directors (WCD) and serves on the Board of Directors for several nonprofit organizations. Avanthi holds a graduate degree from the premier Indian Institute of Management in Lucknow, India and an undergraduate degree from Osmania University, also in India
With over 25 years of experience, Ed is recognized as an accomplished business leader, Member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, a worldwide not for profit association of leaders, corporate executives and entrepreneurs. ED is board director, advisor, technology entrepreneur and experienced Silicon Valley Early Stage & Startup venture capitalist, with a particular focus in machine learning and AI. ED serves as an Independent Board Director at Arowana International, a PE, fund & assets management company (ASX:AWN) and VivoPower (NASDAQ:VVPR). He is also a Board Director and investor at BigML Inc, a ‘Machine Learning as a Service’ platform company, and an advisory board member at Alicorn, a venture fund investing in Series C to E, pre – IPO companies with $1Bn Valuations (Unicorns). Ed founded Naiss.io, a venture capital & advisory boutique in Palo Alto, focusing on technology start-ups and early stage companies. He is also an investor & advisor in several US technology start-ups, e.g. BigML, Optimizing Mind, a Palo Alto start- up working on neuroscience based Deep Learning for xAI (Explainable AI) and MyPark Inc, an IoT smart parking platform. Prior to Naiss.io ED worked as MD and EVP for BlackBerry overseeing South West territories in EMEA and LATAM north markets. Previously, ED spent 9 years at Nokia in different roles and Received Nokia Circle of Excellence award back in 2005. Ed is an electrical & electronics engineer by training and has completed the GSMP (Global Senior Management Programme) post-graduate qualifications at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business & IE Business School (Madrid) as well as the ELPP (Engineering Leadership Professional Programme) from the University of California Berkeley. He is also faculty member at Financial Times Corporate Alliance & IE Business School and a mentor & advisor at Singularity University Ventures and Berkeley’s Center for Technology & Entrepreneurship. Ed is a regular contributor to CNBC and CBinsights and author at publishing house Plataforma Editorial.