Fellows Directory

Thomas Darden

Reliant Equity Investors

Thomas is the founder of Reliant Equity Investors, a management-centric private equity firm that invests in later-stage, middle-market companies.

Thomas spent several years away from investing, moving into the arena of public education. He is a member of the 2009 class of the Broad Superintendents Academy and went on to serve on the executive staff of the School District of Philadelphia, comprising 164,000 students. While there, he was responsible for ensuring the equitable distribution of the district’s resources and compliance activities across the district’s schools and central office operations in areas including teaching and learning; school operations; business operations; human resources; Title I; state, federal, non-profit and corporate grants; as well as special populations (special education, ELL and gifted and talented).

Prior to founding Reliant, Thomas worked for 6 years in other private equity firms and has 17 years of experience in a range of management roles at both startups and Fortune 100 companies. Thomas was a Managing Director with Wind Point Partners and led five Wind Point investments. Thomas also served as a Vice President in the Boston office of Advent International and focused on industrial and technology investments.

Before his start in venture, Thomas held management and engineering positions at three startups, all financed by private equity investors: UltraCision Inc., GTech Corp., and Surgilase Inc. (twice on Inc. Magazine’s List of 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America). During his startup career, Thomas was involved in the development, market introduction, and growth of 12 successful new products. Thomas started out as an engineer, spending 7 years with the Detroit Diesel Allison Division of the General Motors Corporation.

Education, Personal, and Fellowship

Thomas holds a BSME from the General Motors Institute of Technology and a MBA, cum laude, from Babson College. He sits on the board of trustees of the Community Preparatory School, a private inner-city school focused on preparing middle school students for college preparatory high schools.

Thomas is a member of the Charter Class of Kauffman Fellows, and served his fellowship at Advent International in Boston under mentor Larry McKenna.

Thomas serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Venture Education.