About Us

South Highland Ventures LLC (SHV) was founded to source, diligence, and manage direct VC/PE investments for family offices and institutional investors. By leveraging its decades of investment, investment banking, and operations experience, SHV naturally evolved to become a one stop shop to provide a full suite of capital investment, M&A, advisory, and operations services.

SHV focuses on growth companies with a clear competitive advantage in underserved markets up to and including the middle market. With our proven fund management and operations experience, we are a true partner to our investors and companies. We understand trust is earned, not given.

SHV at a Glance

  • 40+ years of direct investment, investment banking, and operations experience.
  • 150+ transactions worth over $1.3B in total enterprise value.
  • Nearly 50 M&A deals and 20 VC/PE backed company boards.
  • Exclusive and off market VC/PE deal flow.
  • Highly skilled in turn arounds, change management and special situations.
  • Lead investor and advisory experience in a variety of industries.
  • Experts in advising companies navigating early stage to mid-market growth stages.

Industry Focus

The South Highland Ventures team has experience in a variety of industries as direct investors, investment bankers, and operators.  These industries include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Agriculture
  • Automotive & Transportation
  • Business Services
  • CleanTech
  • Consumer Packaged Goods
  • Energy, Power & Infrastructure
  • Environmental, Industrial Hygiene & Safety
  • Healthcare
  • Industrial & Manufacturing
  • Maritime
  • Real Estate
  • Software
  • Technology
  • Telecommunications


The Team

Richie Gray, CFA

Richie Gray, CFA

Managing Director

Richie is a Managing Director of South Highland Ventures LLC.  He has over 15 years of experience in finance as an investment banker and CFO for PE backed companies and PE funds.  Richie has presided over 50 transactions worth over $500MM in total company value.

Richie began his career as a design and operations engineer for Proctor & Gamble.  After earning his MBA, he traded fixed income derivatives and credit default swaps for a European investment bank in NYC and was an analyst at a south Florida-based real estate investment trust.  Richie then served as a Vice President of a M&A-focused boutique investment bank in the Gulf Coast where he closed dozens of transactions worth over $350MM across multiple industry verticals in the lower-mid to mid-markets.  Most recently, Richie was the CFO of a Blackstone backed buyout fund that focused on B2B and B2C segments of the death care industry.

Richie holds a BSEng in chemical engineering from Tulane University and also a dual MBA/MGM from Tulane University.  He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and has served as President of the CFA Society of Louisiana.  Richie is also a veteran of the United States Navy.

Ron Ondechek, Jr.

Ron Ondechek, Jr.

Managing Director & Founder

Ron is a Managing Director & Founder of South Highland Ventures LLC. He is an operations focused executive with over 15 year of experience as a fund manager and entrepreneur. Ron specializes in supporting early stage to mid-market companies throughout the growth and exit process and presided over 100 VC/PE transactions worth over $1B in total company value.

Ron began his career as a refinery engineer and project manager for ExxonMobil and became an E&P securities analyst for AG Edwards & Sons, Inc. before joining Altira Group LLC. Altira is an energy services and technology private equity firm with over $400 million AUM. Ron was also the Fund Manager for Shreveport’s first and oversubscribed angel investment fund, New Louisiana Angel Fund 1 LLC, and he was a Principal in the Sustainable Growth Fund, a €500MM senior mezzanine convertible debt fund.

At the board level, Ron participated as an active board director or observer for over 20 PE backed companies and is an adviser to several early stage and mid-market companies. Ron is a first generation college graduate and has a BS in chemical engineering from Penn State University with a MBA from Tulane University.