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Team

Steve Cotton

Managing Partner

Before co-founding CDK Ventures, Steve was one of the founders and CEO of FireScope, an industry leading IT software company, where he served for eight years. Prior to FireScope, Mr. Cotton was CEO of TDI, Inc., a software company based in Plano, Texas that created console management solutions for the enterprise. Mr. Cotton’s prior experience includes being the CFO and COO of Lantronix NASDAQ (LTRX) where he lead the Company’s initial public offering, President and COO of M2 Automotive and CFO of Panda Restaurant Group raising $100M+ for each company. Mr. Cotton’s early business experience was as a corporate banker for Bank of America and Wells Fargo. He is on the board of directors for several businesses and technology firms and has experience working overseas with channel and OEM partners. Steve is an expert in banking, finance, security, compliance issues and best practices for business service management.

Mr. Cotton received an MBA from Stanford University, a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Cal Poly Pomona, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Phoenix.

Pete Karanikas

Managing Partner

Pete Karanikas is co-founder and Managing Partner at CDK Ventures. Mr. Karanikas is a serial entrepreneur with a focus on data science and deep expertise in the Federal sector. He started his career in 1997 as a network and software engineer with SAIC working on various DoD programs. Mr. Karanikas later joined Oracle Corporation’s Federal consulting practice. After leaving Oracle in 2000, Mr. Karanikas launched Panos Corporation, a professional services company focused on delivering database solutions to the Intelligence community. While CEO of Panos for 10 years, Mr. Karanikas also acted as an early investor or co-founder to several successful companies across various industries including real estate, software, and financial services. In 2010 Mr. Karanikas sold Panos Corporation to Avrio Technology Group, another company where Mr. Karanikas was a co-founder and investor. Avrio was acquired in 2014 and Mr. Karanikas went on advising and helping operate several startups and VC funds before going on to co-founding CDK Ventures.

Mr. Karanikas received an M.B.A. from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology from the University of Pittsburgh.