Our Team

About Us

Michael Ashker
Michael Ashker Managing Partner

Mr. Ashker began his investment career in the securities industry in 1984 joining Davis Skaggs, a San Francisco based securities firm, which was acquired by Shearson Lehman/American Express. Ashker served in various roles with sell side securities firms such as Shearson, Kemper Securities and finally Kidder Peabody. In 1994, Ashker founded Lynx Capital Group, one of the earliest hedge funds on the West Coast, focusing on technology investing. While at Lynx, Ashker got involved at a deeper level with several companies in its investment portfolio and eventually made a decision to transition to the operating side.

His first foray began after Lynx made an investment and filed a 13D for Provident American, a publicly traded health insurance company. At Provident, Ashker recognized the opportunity to catapult Provident into the digital health insurance business and working together with Provident's current Chairman, Al Clemens, developed the business model for the first digital health insurance agency, known as Healthaxis. Healthaxis was then formed as an operating subsidiary of Provident American where Ashker served as President and eventually became CEO of both Provident and Healthaxis. Under Ashker's leadership, the combined companies of Provident and Healthaxis grew from a $30M to over a $2B market capitalization.

During the same general period, Ashker acquired the rights for a digital court filing system that had been piloted by Anderson Consulting (now Accenture). Ashker then partnered with Anderson to form JusticeLink as a venture backed company. Through a series of transactions and several rounds of financing, JusticeLink became the first and preeminent digital filing company for legal documents. Later it was sold to Lexis-Nexis for approximately $100M.

In 2003, Ashker founded Imerica Life & Health Insurance Company, a start-up health insurance company and one of the early movers in consumer driven healthcare. Ashker successful developed the business plan, recruited a senior management team and secured venture financing through Bain Capital Ventures. Imerica eventually became licensed to sell health insurance in 38 states and was sold to a banking group.

During the past eight years, Ashker has established Agility Partners to provide consulting services, investment banking and business development for early stage and transitional small-cap companies.

Alvin H. Clemens
Alvin H. Clemens Senior Partner

Mr. Clemens brings decades of entrepreneurial business development experience to Agility Partners. Al founded Unicom in 1968 with a $300K investment and eventually acquired Academy Life is 1972. Al was the Founder, Chairman & CEO of Academy Insurance Group (AIG) from 1972 to 1985, which was one of the strongest performing stocks on the NASDAQ market during that period. Academy's market value eventually exceeded $600M and was sold to AEGON.

After Al acquired control of a small publicly traded company, known as Provident Indemnity Life Insurance Company in 1989, he became CEO and renamed as the Provident American Corporation (PAMCO). In 1998, Al co-founded Healthaxis (HAXS) with Michael Ashker and formed it as subsidiary of Provident American. Mr. Clemens became the Chairman and CEO of Healthaxis from 1998 to 2002. Provident American Corporation went from a $30M to $2B market cap during his tenure as Chairman. In 2004 to 2008, Al co-founded and was the CEO of Health Benefits Direct (HBDT).

In 1994, Al served as Chair of Governor Ridge's transition team for Banking and Insurance departments. In May 1995, Al was appointed by Governor Ridge to serve on the Board of Trustees of Penn State University. Since then he has been reappointed four times and continues to serve as one of the longest tenured Board of Trustee member of Penn State. In addition, Mr. Clemens served on the Executive Committee and is serving now on the Finance Committee.

Al is also a member of various organizations including Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Finance and Industry, Who's Who in the World and was a member Young Presidents Organization World President Organization.

Pierce Alizadeh
Pierce Alizadeh Junior Partner

Mr. Alizadeh joined Agility Partners in 2011 after working with Mr. Ashker on several past projects. At Agility, Pierce now plays an active role in reviewing and evaluating investment opportunities as well as working directly with founding members of Agility portfolio companies. Prior to joining Agility, Pierce worked as a Development Coordinator in his family's real estate development business located in Northern California, where he was responsible for a range of areas including entitlements and building approvals. In addition Pierce worked as a Global Macro Research Associate for Waverly Advisors, an investment advisory firm. With a broad skill set that draws from both his academic and real world experience, Pierce acts in a support capacity for many of Agility portfolio companies. Mr. Alizadeh is a proud alumni of Emory University's Goizueta Business School in Atlanta, where he received his BBA in Investments and MBA with Honors (Beta Gamma Sigma) in Venture Capital and Private Equity.