Andy Augenblick

Emigrant Bank Fine Arts Finance

Andy Augenblick is the president of Emigrant Bank Fine Art Finance. Prior to co-founding the company, he was president and co-owner of the Related Companies, L.P., a privately held real estate and investment company. Before joining Related in 1985, he was a consultant at McKinsey & Company. Andy was named one of the top 100 collectors in the United States by Art & Antiques magazine. He is a member of the committee on media and performance art at the Museum of Modern Art.

He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Business School.

Brian Axelrad, Beyond Capital Fund and Horwood Marcus & Berk Chartered

Beyond Capital Fund, HMB

Brian Axelrad is chief investment officer at Beyond Capital Fund, a nonprofit social impact fund that invests in social enterprises in India and East Africa. At Beyond Capital, he oversees investment decision-making and advises on portfolio and overall fund strategy.  At the same time, Brian is also a partner at Horwood Marcus & Berk Chartered (HMB), a Chicago-based law firm, and serves as a member of HMB’s firm-wide executive committee. He leads the HMB’s regionally recognized venture capital practice; is active in the firm’s private equity, mergers and acquisitions, and technology practice groups; leads its search fund (entrepreneurship through acquisition) subpractice; and helped launch its philanthropy and social impact practice.

Brian is deeply committed to developing the field of impact investing, both locally in Chicago, as well as abroad. From 2014 to 2018, he worked closely with the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business where he was appointed as its first impact investor in residence, a post he held from 2015 to 2018. He also taught a course on impact investing as an adjunct associate professor of entrepreneurship. Brian holds a BA in Economics and History from the University of Michigan, a JD from the Northwestern University School of Law and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.



Mitch Baruchowitz, Merida Capital

Merida Capital

Mitch Baruchowitz

Mitchell has 20 years of entrepreneurial, legal, regulatory and financial experience in highly regulated industries and nine years of cannabis investment experience.  He is the founder and Managing Partner of cannabis-focused private equity fund Merida Capital Partners, which is currently on its second fund with ~$100MM AUM and is the largest outside investor in leading cannabis public companies KushCo(KSHB), GrowGeneration (GRWG), Freedom Leaf (FRLF) and leading private companies New Frontier Data, MainStem, Emerald Scientific, Steep Hill Labs and Vireo Health.

Mitchell is an expert in the regulatory component of cannabis limited licensing and multi-state cultivation operations and has architected top cultivation licensing scores in Connecticut and Minnesota. In 2013, Mitchell co-founded Theraplant, one of four Connecticut-based cultivators; Leafline Labs, one of two Minnesota cultivators; Grow West MD, one of 17 Maryland cultivation licensees, and Laurel Harvest Labs, a Pennsylvania-based vertical applicant in its pre-operational stage.  Mitchell is a frequent speaker and author on cannabis investment strategy and diligence.  Mitchell previously served as Associate General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of publicly-traded MarketAxess and General Counsel of Pali Capital before leading investment banking operations for ACGM and Cavu Securities.

Mitchell sits on the Board of New Frontier Data, Steep Hill Labs, Simplifya and Mainstem. He  holds a B.A. in History from Brandeis University, and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law. He also holds FINRA 7, 24, 63, 79 licenses.


Leon Benrimon, Heritage Auctions

Heritage Auctions

Heritage Auctions’ Director of Modern and Contemporary Art for its New York office, Leon Benrimon has spent his entire life in the art business. His parents both own art galleries, and three siblings, all of whom are also currently working in the art world.

Prior to joining Heritage, Benrimon owned Benrimon Contemporary in New York, where he sold blue chip artworks on the secondary market in association with historical exhibitions, while dedicating himself to representing and supporting emerging, established and mid-career Contemporary artists working in a variety of mediums.

He received his Master’s Degree at Christie’s Education in New York and worked at family owned galleries on Fifth and Madison Avenues at David Benrimon Fine Art.  His specialty is working with new collectors and post-war artists – such as Warhol, Lichtenstein, Prince, Basquiat, Longo, Kusama Haring, Murakami and Hirst, among others.

Javier Benson, RealtyShares


Javier Benson is the VP of Business Development at RealtyShares. Javier’s responsibilities include developing programmatic capital partnerships, corporate partnerships, and new sponsor relationships, as well as capital markets strategy and analytics. He was formerly a Director of Investments at the firm, where he helped to source and underwrite real estate transactions for the RealtyShares platform.

Javier graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and after, applied his analytical training as a management consultant, while at Accenture and DiamondCluster (now PwC Diamond Advisory Services). He then attended the Wharton School for an MBA with concentrations in real estate and finance. Post-MBA, Javier advised on M&A, IPO and debt transactions within the Investment Banking Division at Barclays. He then followed up his investment banking experience as VP of Acquisitions at 643 Capital Management, a San Francisco-based real estate private equity firm, where he focused on investment strategies including for-sale and for-rent multifamily acquisitions, land development, real estate credit and the formation of single-family residential REIT.