The Smart Business Dealmakers Dealmaker of the Year Awards recognize exceptional individuals who are shaping the landscape of business and innovation in New York.

In addition, The New York Dealmakers Hall of Fame recognized a class of dealmakers that has made an often-groundbreaking impact on their organizations, industries and the region over the course of decades in business.

We celebrated the accomplishments of the 2024 class of winners June 6 at the New York Smart Business Dealmakers Conference. Together, they provide a strong picture of the New York business community.

Dealmaker Of The Year Honorees


Pavel Chernyshov is the co-founder of Arkview Capital, a minority-certified private equity firm that invests in financial services, transportation, logistics, information technology services, engineering and construction, manufacturing, auto, media and telecom, and industrial sectors. Chernyshov and his team recently transformed Icon Parking Group into a Minority Business Enterprise through their acquisition of it and have successfully implemented a new digital strategy to connect better with customers, which was ground-breaking for the industry.


Faris Ghawi is the co-founder and CEO of Vytalize Health, a risk-bearing provider enablement platform that offers a value-based care delivery system for the health care industry. Matt Buder Shapiro is the company’s CMO and Amer Alnajar is co-founder and the Chief Medical Officer. Vytalize recently closed a $100 million Series C round, less than one year after completing a $50 million Series B. Additionally, Vytalize recently acquired Independent Physician Association of New York, one of the largest multi-specialty IPAs in the country, with more than 3,000 providers.


Alex Fund, Daniel Illundain and Rafael Ortiz are partners at Palladium Equity Partners, a private equity investment firm that invests in the lower middle-market companies operating in the consumer, services, industrials, and health care sectors. Ben Halpin is one of the firm’s senior associates. Over the past few years, Palladium has been active with its portfolio, including most recently the divestiture of one of its portfolio companies, EverDriven Technologies, an alternative student transportation platform. EverDriven was sold to Charlesbank Capital Partners.


John Smith is the Chairman and CEO of Icon Parking Solutions, which provides off-street car parking management and mobility services. Icon was a subsidiary of Citizens Parking Holding, and was acquired by smith, Arkview Capital, and The Cambria Group through an LBO on April 4, 2023. Today, Smith and his team are working to deploy the largest EV charging infrastructure in NYC, expand the company nationally, and evolve its breadth of services.


The Riverside Company is a middle-market private equity firm which has an extensive portfolio of platform companies and holdings. Earlier this year, the team at Riverside exited one of its larger portfolio companies, Energy Exemplar, which provides energy market software, in a deal that generated more than $1 billion.


Alex Shalbaf and David Shalbaf are co-founders of The Fragrance Group, a boutique luxury company that specializes in the design, development and distribution of fine fragrances and has expertise in both domestic and international distribution. Shalbaf also serves as the company’s CEO. The duo sold minority ownership in the company to TZP Group in January of last year in a significant deal that generated liquidity for both the founders and the company.


Jeffrey Wu, Matthew Kasanoff, and Nick Brown are executives with Tillman Global Holdings, a company that builds leading businesses in digital, communications and next-generation infrastructure across developed and emerging geographies. The trio successfully completed a $1 billion financing package at Tillman Infrastructure, which develops, owns and operates connectivity infrastructure. The funding will be used to refinance existing loans and provide additional growth capital to support wireless carrier and wireless infrastructure service provider customers’ infrastructure needs.


Brian Gaebe is the CFO and Sam Peterson is the director of capital markets at Teamshares, which acquires businesses from retiring owners and provides them with shared services, including the administration of an employee-ownership program, education, financial products and software. The duo recently completed a $225 million financing round that included a $75 million debt facility with Sound Point Capital and $150 million debt facility with i80 Group. The new financing enables Teamshares to expand from 90 to 150-plus businesses that they’re able to serve.


David Lane is the CEO of Sports Illustrated Tickets, which is a fan-first, primary and secondary ticket marketplace with more than $2.5 billion in inventory. The company is also an officially licensed channel partner of the NFL Ticket Network. In May, Lane and his team completed a $20 million Series A2 venture round, which followed a $15 million Series A1 round that was closed in February of this year. Currently, Lane and his team are in the process of raising another follow-up round to continue expanding the company’s services.

Social Impact


Simeon Iheagwam is the founder and managing partner of NOEMIS Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in pre-seed and seed-stage startups working in fintech, AI, and consumer-oriented marketplaces. NOEMIS’ focus is to support founders whose mission and companies are designed to make a strong impact on developing solutions for challenges being faced by people across the world. Among its more recent investments are Squire, Petal, Pivt, and EMTECH.

Dealmakers Hall of Fame


Brian Esposito is a luminary in the corporate world and has been regularly ranked among the top 10 CEOs globally by The World CEO Rankings Awards. As the founder and CEO of Esposito Intellectual Enterprises, Esposito helms an expansive empire comprising more than 110 entities and 200+ joint ventures, with a dynamic presence across 25+ diverse industries worldwide. In August 2023, Esposito embarked on a new venture as the CEO of Diamond Lake Minerals. In this role, he implemented a transformative strategy, completely overhauling the company's direction. His leadership prowess was evident in the way he surrounded the company with industry icons as advisers. This strategic move, coupled with his innovative leadership, skyrocketed the company's share price from a modest $0.35 to a remarkable $8 per share. Concurrently, the market capitalization of Diamond Lake Minerals soared from $1 million to an astounding $266 million, a testament to Esposito's extraordinary leadership and business acumen.


Robert Landis is a pioneering figure in the private equity industry and renowned for his foundational role in business development. Landis began his career in private equity in the early 2000s when the concept of business development in this field was still nascent. At that time, Landis was among the few who had to advocate for the importance of their role in identifying and fostering investment opportunities for their firms. Over the years, Landis has originated more than 5,600 deal opportunities, and under his direction the Riverside origination team has expanded to 18 full-time professionals. Landis’ approach to connecting people and fostering genuine relationships has set a standard in the industry, and his legacy has been marked by an innovative approach, unwavering commitment to building thriving companies, and the strong relationships he’s built throughout his career.


John Murray is a serial board member and operating partner with experience working closely with high-potential management teams to craft and execute winning growth strategies. During the past decade, Murray has helped create successful exits for multiple software and tech-enabled B2B and B2C companies. His early career started in investment banking. Then Murray became a tech founder as well as CIO and CTO for several companies. These days, Murray is an Operating Partner for The Riverside Companies and co-founded a fintech startup that provides critical tech-enabled services to licensed financial advisers.


Anthony Viscogliosi is an accomplished chairman, chief executive, serial entrepreneur, and business strategist. He is an innovator and changemaker who has built a proven track record for leading businesses across all phases of development — from ideation and startup through commercialization to business expansion and strategic sale. Viscogliosi has founded more than 30 companies and 15 investment funds in the neuro-musculoskeletal/orthopedic industry, and currently serves or formerly served as founder, chairman, executive chairman, CEO, president, managing director, or managing member of more than 45 businesses. Viscogliosi co-founded Viscogliosi Brothers along with his two brothers, John and Marc. Today, VB is a leading family office, merchant bank, and investment firm focused on creating innovation in the neuro-musculoskeletal/orthopedic industry. Together with his brother, Viscogliosi has formed, is an early-stage or angel investor in, or has been involved in operations and strategy of more than 30 companies. VB, its funds, or affiliates have invested in companies that have sold for more than $2.5 billion in exit proceeds. Nineteen companies have been exited over the last 18 years and Viscogliosi has participated in raising more than $500 million in capital for businesses in the orthopedic industry.


Lori Wright is co-founder and CEO of Evolution Research Group (LLC), a leading clinical service provider in the pharmaceutical industry. She has completed over a dozen M&A transactions, built ERG’s corporate infrastructure, and continues to lead its growth strategy. She is a serial entrepreneur but is most passionate about improving the clinical trial process, accelerating new drug approvals, allowing earlier access to improved treatments for those suffering from CNS disorders. With the backing of two private equity partners, ERG currently owns and operates a portfolio of 20 sites, including two phase 1 units, a full-service contract research organization, a neuropsychiatric rater training company, an internal patient recruitment and media organization, and recently launched a proprietary, purpose-built, Mobile App to further expand its access to patient populations and healthy volunteers, engaging them throughout their clinical trial journey.