Meet the Builders.

To build a great company you need more than a smile and a slap on the back. The Builders are experienced leaders who will get behind you . . . and push!

Lanham Napier

BUILDER, CO-FOUNDER & CEO

Lanham is our “CEO Whisperer.” He knows what life is like in the CEO seat, and how important it is to build the core leadership team that takes a company on the long journey to greatness. Lanham is BuildGroup’s visionary and has made it his life’s mission to create a better way to build companies.

Lanham led Rackspace from $1.5 million to $1.5 billion in revenue over a 13 year period, helping to create the cloud service leader and one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Rice University.

Lanham’s first Build was a team of go-cart equipped delivery boys that he recruited to serve the local newspaper route.

Jim Curry

BUILDER & CO-FOUNDER

Jim is our product and strategy guy.  He loves evaluating big technology trends and finding opportunities within them to build great products and services that customers love.  Jim works with our companies to take early product successes and scale them to bigger market outcomes.

Jim was the strategy and business development leader at Rackspace, and is known as the “Godfather of OpenStack,” the world’s #1 open-source cloud technology.  He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School, with an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas.

Jim’s first Build was running the delivery service for the two rival papers in his hometown, at the same time.

Pete Freeland

BUILDER & CO-FOUNDER

Pete is the BuildGroup finance guru and professional dealmaker.  He lives for capital efficiency and helps our companies deconstruct their business models and build for the long-haul by funding growth, R&D and customer success investments.

Pete has a background investing in software businesses.  He has had a successful 20-year career with General Catalyst, TA, Great Hill and JP Morgan.  Pete has an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA from Middlebury College.

For Pete’s first Build, he bought and sold used video cameras and stereos in his hometown.  He has been using the word “arbitrage” since the third grade.

Klee Kleber

BUILDER & CO-FOUNDER

Klee is our go-to-market Builder. He wakes up every day thinking about how to drive revenue growth (true statement). Klee works day in and day out alongside leadership teams, helping them build the sales and marketing machine, position products against competitors and hire great customers.

Klee has spent more than 20 years running marketing and sales teams at companies like Rackspace, Dell and WP Engine. He has an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA from Rice University.

Klee’s first Build was a bike assembly operation he ran from his parents’ garage. Ask him about the PK Ripper he built in the 1980s and how many Tuf-Necks he broke.

Kenny Herz

BUILDER & GENERAL COUNSEL

Kenny is BuildGroup’s General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer. All those capitalized words mean that Kenny is central to ensuring a culture of professionalism and stewardship. He also works with Project 23, Lanham Napier’s family office.

Kenny was previously a partner at Haynes and Boone in Houston. He graduated from Rice University and Columbia Law School.

Kenny is almost famous for his role as noted Builder Thomas Edison in Parker Elementary’s production of “The Electric Sunshine Man.”

Melissa Simmons

BUILDER & VP OF OPERATIONS

Melissa leads operations for BuildGroup. She keeps the machine running smoothly so the other Builders can focus on supporting portfolio companies. She has a special focus on investor relations, helping align BuildGroup’s shareholders with the long-term mission.

Melissa is a former Marine Officer, which means she runs a tight ship. She is a natural problem solver and doesn’t shy away from a challenge. She has an MBA from The Naval Postgraduate School and a BA from The University of Michigan.

Melissa’s first Build was when she established a local mud pie bakery with her sister. She not only conceived the sandbox delicacies, but also launched an initial coin offering for her customers to use at the walk-up window of the Simmons playhouse.