Sample of InvolvementOur Success
Lehigh University - BS, Finance
University of Rochester Simon School of Business - MBA, Competitive & Organizational Strategy
Dara’s history is in the area of funding and starting small businesses and growing them to a point where they can successfully exit. He has a tremendous passion for both the small business and the art of deal making. Benchmark International allows him to stitch these two passions together, working with small to medium-sized businesses to facilitate their transactions and to do so in a way that others in the industry simply cannot. No other lower middle market, sell-side M&A firm can match the level of service and expertise provided by Benchmark International.
Negotiation, Finance, Strategy, M&A, Leadership, Venture Capital, Marketing, Sales, Entrepreneurship, Financial Modeling
Mr. Shareef has the esteemed experience of an M&A professional, C-Suite executive, board member and business operator. Like his experience, his role is at Benchmark is multi-dimensional. He is responsible for the success of the Tampa Transaction Team and the day-to-day responsibilities that go along with running a P&L. He works very closely with the deal teams to ensure they are on the right track, serving as a sounding board and to test their ideas. If they want to pursue a new strategy with one of our deals, he challenges their conviction and helps them to fortify the business case. Dara reviews virtually all of the LOIs and Purchase Agreements we receive and will often identify questions or issues that differ from those identified by others.
Prior to arriving at Benchmark International, he served as COO of GSL Solutions. GSL provides web design and content management for roughly half of the US Senate and many school districts. Prior to GSL, he was a VC working for three different funds and held C-Suite roles in several businesses, such as the Vice Chairmanship at Sunmark Federal Credit Union in New York. His diverse background as both an operator of business and an investor into businesses allows him to anticipate issues in deals before they happen, thinking like both a seller and a buyer.
Dara has quite a bit of experience on the buy-side serving as a venture capitalist and saw firsthand the disparity in resources and experience between buyer and seller in small business transactions. He is inspired by how Benchmark International fills this gap to provide tremendous value to an underserved and vital swath of the market.
I would like to thank the entire transaction team at Benchmark International. Their M&A deal expertise was brought to bear at the most difficult and important moments. Throughout the process, they continued to find value in the deal for me in areas I would never know to look. I can truly say I could not have consummated such a successful transaction without Benchmark by my side. Perhaps just as important, they were able to find an international strategic buyer that valued my company based on more than just financial performance. Benchmark ensured that the buyer truly understood that the unique value of my business lies in the robust distribution channels I have worked so hard to build. Now that the companies are together, the buyer can penetrate the US market with their existing product line and sell Garden Innovations, LLC products through their European channels. The ability to bring an international acquirer to the table truly separates Benchmark International from their competition.