A nationally recognized small-cap expert, Mr. Epstein has advised, governed, and invested in hundreds of small-cap companies. His capital markets and corporate governance acumen are products of a singular perspective – a former corporate attorney, operating executive, institutional investor, and, now, board advisor. As Bloomberg Businessweek commented regarding Mr. Epstein’s category-defining corporate governance book, “attention, directors of small-cap companies. Help is on the way.”
Mr. Epstein is an advisor to CEOs and boards of pre-IPO and small-cap companies through his firm, Third Creek Advisors, LLC. He speaks monthly at corporate governance and investor conferences, and has appeared internationally more than 150 times since 2012. Mr. Epstein is on the editorial advisory board of Small-Cap Institute, Inc., he is a key contributor to Nasdaq’s Amplify small-cap content initiative, and he is a mentor at the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center. He is the author of The Perfect Corporate Board: A Handbook for Mastering the Unique Challenges of Small-Cap Companies (New York: McGraw Hill, 2012), and he is a contributing author to The Handbook of Board Governance: A Comprehensive Guide for Public, Private and Not for Profit Board Members (New Jersey: Wiley, 2016). In June 2017, The Perfect Corporate Board was the “#1 Best Seller” in the corporate governance vertical on Amazon.com, and in June 2016, The Handbook of Board Governance was the "#1 New Release” in corporate governance on Amazon.com. From 2012 through 2019, Mr. Epstein co-founded and wrote the "Entrepreneurial Governance" column in Directorship magazine.
Previously, Mr. Epstein was lead independent director, then chairman of OCZ Technology Group, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of solid-state drive storage and computer components. Prior to founding Third Creek, he co-founded and was a principal of Enable Capital Management, LLC (ECM). During his tenure, ECM’s special situation hedge funds invested in more than 500 small-cap financings in the United States, the European Union, and Australasia. Before ECM, Mr. Epstein held senior operating roles with Enable Capital, LLC, a merchant bank, Surge Components, Inc., a vendor of discrete capacitors and semiconductors, MailEncrypt.com, Inc., a provider of encrypted email services, Tickets.com, Inc., an entertainment ticketing company, Vertical Horizons, a continuing education vendor, and Achilles’ Wheels, Inc., an operator of skate and snowboard retail locations. He started his career as an attorney at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, after having been a law clerk at Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
Mr. Epstein has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek and on Nasdaq Livestream and CNN Presents, and has been quoted in, among others, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Forbes, Agenda (Financial Times), Dagens Industri, Compliance Week, CBS Marketwatch, San Francisco Chronicle, Reuters, and American Bar Association Journal. In April 2018, Mr. Epstein was invited to provide small-cap capital markets testimony to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
He is an active supporter of U.S. veterans and their families; all of his royalties from The Perfect Corporate Board are donated to Fisher House Foundation.
Mr. Epstein earned a Juris Doctor from Boston University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Vassar College. Preceding undergraduate study, he graduated from the American School in London.
Adam has consistently supported our Board Development Program as a speaker sharing his unique perspective regarding the challenges of governing small-cap companies. He is one of the highest rated speakers at every session. We have been fortunate to benefit from his extensive knowledge on the realities of serving on small-cap boards and appreciate his contributions to our program.
Rick Sanders, Managing Director, Office of the Chairman
I consider myself to have found a friend and ally on a mutual quest to impart knowledge to boards of directors, particular those of smaller organizations who face unique challenges. Having now had several opportunities to work with Adam in a speaking capacity, I have seen first-hand how he breaks down and defines relevant issues faced by boards and management of smaller and mid-size companies with refinement and proficiency, but further provides tangible guidance and solutions that organizations can use to bolster decision-making and resource allocation in the areas of capital structuring and formation as well as overall sound governance practices. His writings and teachings reflect deep knowledge and demonstrate a sincere passion for education and advising.
Amy Rojik, Partner and Director of the Center for Corporate Governance and Financial Reporting
Experiencing Adam speaking about small company corporate governance is like watching a locomotive come out of a closet! His passion and energy are palpable, and the perspective he brings as a former special situations investor is quite unique. I have invited Adam to speak on several panels for the American Bar Association and The Practising Law Institute, and he never fails to open the eyes of the audience to the particular trials of, and skills needed within, small-cap boards.
Frank M. Placenti, Leader, Corporate Governance Practice of Squire Patton Boggs LLP, and President, American College of Governance Counsel
As a teacher at the Center, Adam inspires founders to think differently about company oversight and gives them tools to support growth while creating long term, sustainable value to shareholders and stakeholders.
Adam has a unique and passionate way of breaking down the principals of corporate governance through stories and experiences that highlight actionable steps any entrepreneur can take to make their business stronger and better able to overcome the big challenges that come their way.
Celena Aponte, Director of Strategic Initiatives
Adam is a thoughtful and engaging speaker with an astute and informed perspective on early stage start-up and small-cap public companies. His experience as an institutional investor and as a board member, give him a holistic understanding of the complex challenges facing these companies, their board and CEOs. Adam is able to distill down the most important elements and deliver them in a clear, compelling, no-nonsense way that audiences really connect with. It's the reason that we have invited Adam back to speak at multiple events year-over-year. To top it off, he's a complete joy to work with.
Erin Essenmacher, Chief Programming Officer
Boardrooms in the News
EXCLUSIVE AND PRIVATE, BI-WEEKLY COMMENTARY ON TOPICAL BOARDROOM RELATED NEWS STORIES
"Every few years something happens to smack people on the head,” said Mr. Epstein. “The impact of WeWork on the funding marketplace has been material. I have seen that in real time.”
"Corporate governance has deteriorated in lockstep with the increase in available capital from people who haven’t traditionally been private-company capital sources,” says Adam J. Epstein, an adviser on corporate governance to CEOs and their boards. Investors “have to play nicely to be allowed into these deals.”
"The SEC could ask the judge to increase the $20 million fine Musk has already paid or move to punish the company’s board if they don’t rein him in," said Adam Epstein, a corporate-governance adviser. "But SEC is not likely to ask that Musk be removed from the company altogether, as it initially did last year," he said.
“He has a pattern and practice of tweeting in an inflammatory fashion for years,” Epstein said. “He probably knows that the government is not going from DEFCON 5 to DEFCON 1 to remove him from the company, because that would be the worst possible outcome for investors. He’s clearly created more value than he’s hurt shareholders by his tweeting."
Advocates for small-caps say that thin liquidity hurts the sector. "Light trading volumes in a company’s shares can make it harder for the company to raise capital or even to entice top talent with stock-option grants," said Adam Epstein, founder of Third Creek Advisors, which advises small-cap firms.
“It’s a pretty austere challenge for these companies,” he said at the SEC meeting.
“You could argue there’s never been a moment in history where a private-company founder has more power,” says Adam Epstein, an adviser on corporate governance to CEOs and their boards.
“Larry Ellison is a business icon, but smart investors will probably ask a handful of questions,” said Adam Epstein, head of corporate-governance consultants Third Creek Advisors, including "If this is yet another ‘friend’ of Elon’s how does that help me as an investor?”
Mr. Epstein also questioned whether Mr. Ellison, who is also Oracle’s chief technology officer, has the time to devote to his duties as a Tesla director.
Adam can advise your company how to:
ATTRACT & RETAIN INVESTORS
As a former institutional investor, Adam knows precisely what’s required in this regard.
RAISE CAPITAL LESS DILUTIVELY
Adam has invested in 500+ small-cap financings; he knows exactly where companies always go wrong.
OPTIMIZE YOUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Adam has helped countless small-cap companies transform their boards into competitive advantages.
Imagine if your storytelling was so effective that employees, customers, and investors could become brand ambassadors.
ATTRACT BETTER EMPLOYEES
Adam can help you create and oversee a corporate culture that attracts and retains better employees.