About: A Missourian through-and-through, Joe Kaiser is a staunch advocate of the snap button-up shirt, and the hungry and humble entrepreneurs of the Midwest. As a Managing Director at Mercato—where he has been a growth-stage investor for over 7 years—Joe is keenly focused on leveraging his two plus decades of operating and investing experience to advise and support Midwestern entrepreneurs that have built unique growth engines and are ready to scale. Currently, he sits on the Board of Directors for Attain, Beam Benefits, Kalderos, MNTN, Summersalt, and Vivante Health.

Smarts: Joe earned his M.B.A. from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a B.S.B.A. in accounting from Saint Louis University.

Background: Joe began his career in investment banking at A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc. before joining the regional private equity firm, Erie Management Group, where he evaluated, structured and managed growth-stage investments. He later left Erie Management to earn his M.B.A. and, upon graduation, joined The Blackstone Group where he advised investors and corporate clients; managed mergers and acquisitions, and structured finance transactions, including Blackstone’s acquisition of Vivint Solar and its parent company, Vivint, Inc. This successful acquisition led to Joe joining Vivint Solar—which IPO’d in 2014 for $1.6 billion and later sold for $3.2B in 2020—as the Director of Capital Markets. During his time at Vivint, Joe raised in excess of $1 billion in project financing to facilitate the deployment of residential and commercial solar assets.