Chris Varelas

Profile photo of Chris Varelas

Chris Varelas is a founding partner of Riverwood Capital, a private equity firm focused on high growth technology and technology-related companies in need of capital and expertise to scale on a global basis. Notable Firm investments include Alog, ForgeRock, Globant, GoPro and Vacasa. Notable personal seed and venture stage investments include FIGS, Berkeley Lights, Forge Global and Elemental Cognition.

Prior to establishing Riverwood, Chris worked at Salomon Brothers/Citi as Global Head of Technology, Media & Telecom Investment Banking, Head of Citi’s National Investment Bank, member of Citi’s Global Operating Committee and Culture Czar for all of Citi.  As an investment banker, Chris’ primary focus was Mergers & Acquisitions, working on many of the landmark transactions that shaped the technology industry including Compaq/HP, Peoplesoft/Oracle and IBM/PWC. In addition, he was the lead team member for the Chapter Nine reorganization of the County of Orange, California. Chris was selected as one of the 100 most important deal makers by the New York Times and was named top “rainmaker’ in the technology sector by Dealmaker Magazine.

He serves on the Board of Trustees for the Aspen Institute for which he is a senior moderator and for which he co-founded the Aspen Finance Leaders Fellowship program, created to produce effective enlightened leaders in the financial services industry. He also sits on the boards of Nextdoor, for which he serves as Lead Director, and, and the Advisory Boards for Braidwell, Elemental Cognition, Expansion Capital, Global Ventures, Streamlined Ventures and the RAND Corporation’s Center for Global Risk and Security.

Chris earned an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a BA from Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. Chris was selected as the 2020 Occidental SEAL Award recipient for Professional Achievement.

Chris is the author of How Money Became Dangerous, the inside account of our turbulent relationship with modern finance.