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Hypergrowth challenges even the strongest leaders, and no one truly knows what it’s like unless they’ve lived it. 

We’ve been there before, and we’ll be there to challenge your thinking — and encourage you when you need it most.


Tim Schigel - Managing Partner

Tim is a serial entrepreneur and investor with roots in the Midwest, experience in Silicon Valley, and connections around the world.

Tim created ShareThis, a social media pioneer that nearly a billion people use to share online content every month. ShareThis, based in Palo Alto, CA, was one of the fastest growing companies in the country, growing to $50 million in less than four years which earned him the EY Entrepreneur of the Year in his region. Tim also launched and managed Cintrifuse, one of the best performing fund of funds in the country, investing in 15 top-tier early stage funds across the U.S. Tim has been in venture capital since 1998. Prior successes include (AOL), Get2Chip (Cadence), DotLoop (Zillow).

Tim grew up in Cleveland as the son of a steelworker and Vietnam veteran. He received his B.S. in electrical engineering from Case Western Reserve University and is a Member of YPO, a global network of chief executives.


Joe Otto - Venture Partner, CEO of Astronomer

Joe's 35+ year journey through the technology landscape might best be described as a terrifying roller coaster ride than a career, he's just lucky that way. 

Joe's path crossed with some of the most inspiring people and companies at at the most significant times.  Joe was at Sun Microsystems, at the dawn of the Unix age, joining as a sales rep and eventually running a $1B division.  Later he was one of the founders of Service Provider Business Unit at Cisco, just prior to the buildout of the Internet.  And in 2008 when the words "Big Data" first made the cover of Wired Magazine, Joe was strapped into the first car at Greenplum, on a crazy ride from $1M to $200M in revenue. 

You can say Joe is addicted to startups of all kinds, where inspired people come together at interesting times to solve difficult problems. Frankly that is why Joe finds himself at Astronomer and Refinery Ventures today, he's just lucky that way. 

Joe has traveled and lived in many places, but his roots are in Ohio, where he earned a Bachelors degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The Ohio State University.


Abby Fittes - Executive Assistant

Abby is the Executive Assistant for Refinery, focusing on the logistical operations of the staff and office to ensure all is running smoothly. Abby works closely with our community of entrepreneurs, partners, and the Refinery Team. 

Before joining Refinery, Abby was supporting C-level finance executives at GE Aviation in Cincinnati. Prior to that, she spent 8 years at Ohio State University in Undergraduate Admissions, with experience in recruiting, events, finance, and external relations. 

Abby received her BS in Nutrition and Business from Ohio State University.  


Brandon Dornier - Summer Associate

Brandon has joined the team as a summer associate. He is a pursuing his MBA at The Ohio State University following several thoughtful career moves. Brandon started his career in Immunohistochemistry and ENT research at the Mayo Clinic where he has first author research published by the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology.  Over the past decade and post Peace Corps Tanzania, he followed a unique coffee entrepreneurial experience in East Africa into several career pivotal roles such as Coffee Exporter, Procurement Manager, and finally a Commodity Trader in Jersey City, NJ. Brandon is passionate about the Midwest ecosystem and is excited to be immersed in the fantastic energy of venture capital.



Noel Fenton, Trinity Ventures

Glen Mayfield, River Cities Capital Fund

Robert Pavey, Morgenthaler Ventures