We used to think that everything started in the lab. Now we realize that everything spins off the consumer...Play by the rules, but be ferocious.
A former founder, Mercato Managing Director Ryan Sander’s first exposure to the world of private equity was as a young venture backed co-founder of Calixus, a software company that helped newspapers transition into the then-emerging digital world. Calixus was later acquired by the Media News Group, and Ryan went on to earn his M.B.A. from the University of Texas McCombs School of Business before joining Comcast (NAS: CMCSA) as a business operations manager.
After helping to roll out Comcast’s next-gen IP architecture and systems, Ryan pivoted into private equity. Ryan begun his investment career at Escalate Capital, a leading private credit and growth capital solutions provider, where he spent 5 years as a mezzanine investor focused on rapidly growing later-stage software, SaaS, and tech-enabled companies. During his tenure, Ryan acquired a deep understanding of the growth equity landscape. This understanding, in conjunction with his operational and entrepreneurial experience, afforded him a firm foundation for his current work building and supporting Mercato’s growth portfolio, Traverse.
As a Managing Director, Ryan currently serves on the board of directors of Atomic, Lendio, Lambda, ObservePoint, and Stance, and invests in the South, Southeast, and Pacific Northwest. He was recently named to the 2026 class of Kauffman Fellows—the premier venture education program, and the largest network of VCs and innovation leaders in the world.