About Group 206

Group 206 is a private investment company comprised of lifelong entrepreneurs and business builders
with a deep-rooted expertise in driving enterprise value across public and private companies.

Collectively, our team of investors, entrepreneurs, operating partners and advisors have decades of hands-on, cycle-tested M&A and operating experience across a multitude of industries.

At the core of our philosophy, we steadfastly believe in the complete alignment of interests of all stakeholders. We invest our capital and time in select opportunities where our efforts can be accretive to achieving our combined goals and objectives.

We work alongside our partners to develop meaningful insights, identify key solutions, create new opportunities and execute proven strategies.

Collectively, the team at Group 206 has a history of creating significant value and has the know-how to drive accelerated growth.

Our Experience & Team

Founded in 2013, Group 206 is led by Nima Taghavi, a four-time CEO and lifelong entrepreneur, with a consistent track record of growing companies to revenues north of $500 million.

Nima successfully built and sold five businesses over the span of his 30+ year career with companies ranging from e-commerce, distribution and logistics, interactive entertainment and consumer packaged goods to institutional investment management businesses.

Nima Taghavi

Nima Taghavi

Group 206 strives to attract and retain the best people.

We value team members with an entrepreneurial spirit, who work with integrity and excellence and are
committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace.


Team

Nima Taghavi

Nima Taghavi

CEO

Nima Taghavi

CEO

Nima Taghavi is the Founder & CEO of Group 206, a private investment firm created in 2013. Taghavi’s entrepreneurial journey began at a young age. Taghavi immigrated to the US from Iran when he was 9 years old, and by his early teen years, was selling video games at the Swap Meet to supplement his family’s income. This early start helped Taghavi develop a passion for business.

Taghavi turned his early entrepreneurial experience into successfully founding and exiting several enterprises throughout his career, including video game distributor SVG Distribution and video game publisher Crave Entertainment. Both SVG and Crave became market leaders and, under Crave Entertainment Group (CEG) and were sold to The Handleman Company (NYSE: HDL) in 2005. With revenues nearing $300M, CEG was the largest privately held company in the video game industry at the time. Nima was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist in 1998, 2000 and 2004.

Taghavi was an original investor and co-founder of Solutions 2 GO (Canada), which grew from its inception in 2004 to become the largest video game distributor in North America by 2008. To optimize his investment in Solutions 2 GO (Canada), Taghavi founded its sister company Solutions 2 GO LLC (U.S.) in 2009, a video game distribution company specializing in both the brick and mortar and e-commerce retail channels. After reaching well over $1B in combined revenue, Taghavi sold his collective interests in 2017.

As a longtime owner-user and investor in industrial real estate, Taghavi co-founded investment management firm BKM Capital Partners in 2013. Soon after, Taghavi was joined by John Mack (former CEO & Chairman at Morgan Stanley) as an investor, business partner, and board advisor. Throughout Taghavi’s tenure as Chairman, BKM grew to nearly $2 billion in assets under management with more than 20 institutional investor partners. In 2020, Taghavi and Mack sold their collective ownership in BKM.

In 2018, Taghavi co-founded VoltEdge, a consumer brand company specializing in the design, development, and manufacturing of high-performance video game accessories sold through national brick & mortar and e-commerce retailers. In 2020, VoltEdge was acquired by Mexico-based GameXpress.

Taghavi established The Nima Taghavi Foundation in 2005 to support a variety of disadvantaged children’s charities and other causes. Additionally, Taghavi has been a member of the Board of Directors for Eastern Congo Initiative (founded by Ben Affleck) since 2015 and a member of the Board of Directors for The Clinton Foundation since 2018.

Michael Maas

Michael Maas

Senior Partner

Michael Maas

Senior Partner

Michael Maas is Senior Partner at Group 206, which he joined in 2013. Mr. Maas focuses on executing Group 206’s investment strategy and serving as a hands-partner to our companies to enhance value post investment. Mr. Maas is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience delivering outsized business growth, executing value creation strategies in a variety of roles and as a leadership coach.

Mr. Maas also serves as an executive coach at CEOCI, a leadership development and executive coaching practice serving Chief Executive Officers and C-level executives from companies around the world. Mr. Mass joined CEOCI in 2015 and has helped numerous Chief Executive Officers and executive teams achieve increased growth and value creation. In February 2021, Mr. Maas joined Waterfield Technologies, a leading technology organization focused on the delivery of customer experience solutions in and around the contact center, as a strategic advisor.

Prior to joining Group 206, Mr. Maas served as the CEO of SVG Distribution a Los Angeles based video game distribution company in 1993. Mr. Maas held several positions during SVG’s rapid growth, including president and Chief Executive Officer. SVG, along with its sister company Crave Entertainment, became market leaders and, under the umbrella of Crave Entertainment Group, were sold to The Handleman Company in 2005. After Handleman purchased the company, Mr. Maas served as SVG’s President and Chief Executive Officer through 2008. Mr. Maas was also an original investor and advisor of Solutions 2 GO Inc (Canada). In 2009, Mr. Maas helped form Solutions 2 GO, LLC (U.S.) and served as its President and Chief Executive Officer until 2015.

Mr. Maas has served on a variety of boards including The Child Abuse Prevention Center, Young Presidents Organization, and Waterfield Technologies, a leading technology integration firm.

Chris Masoud

Chris Masoud

Director, Private Equity Investments

Chris Masoud

Director, Private Equity Investments

Chris Masoud is a Director at Group 206, which he joined in 2022. Mr. Masoud is an experienced investment professional responsible for leading Group 206’s private equity investment strategy. Mr. Masoud has 10 years of private equity and investment banking experience, with a track record of partnering with management teams in creating value and delivering exceptional returns.

Prior to joining Group 206, Mr. Masoud served as a Director at Next Horizon Capital, a San Francisco based private equity firm. Previously, Mr. Masoud worked at Golden Gate Capital, a private equity firm based in San Francisco, where he focused on leveraged buyouts in the technology sector and completed several investments. Mr. Masoud started his career as an investment banker at Centerview Partners.

Mr. Masoud has a BBA in Finance, with Distinction, from the University of Notre Dame.

Arman Sanaryan

Arman Sanaryan

CFO

Arman Sanaryan

CFO

Arman Sanaryan is the CFO at Group 206 where he is responsible for overseeing the accounting, financial reporting, tax and compliance functions for the firm.  

Arman has over 22 years of leadership experience in finance and accounting across several industries. Prior to joining Group 206, Arman was the Senior Vice President of Finance at Anyone Home, Inc., a provider of CRM software and outsourced labor services for the property management industry. Prior to Anyone Home, Arman held senior positions in operational accounting for multiple manufacturing companies.

Arman graduated with a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Irvine. 

Stephanie Poplin

Stephanie Poplin

Office Manager

Stephanie Poplin

Office Manager

Stephanie Poplin directs all administrative support and ensures internal functions run efficiently as the office manager for Group 206. Prior to joining the team in 2018, Stephanie worked for Robert Half International, OfficeTeam division and was one of the first 100 employees hired at Houzz, the world’s leading platform for home design and construction. Stephanie also spent two years in the fashion industry handling photo shoot coordination while working throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. As an Oklahoma native, Stephanie started her degree at the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Communication where she was a member of the Honors College. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from California State University, Fullerton with a degree in Communications with a concentration in public relations.

Operating Partners

Tim Bender

Tim Bender

Tim Bender

Tim Bender has served as the Global Vice President for Consumer at NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) since March 2015. Having more than three decades of sales and marketing leadership experience for consumer products, Mr. Bender leads NVIDIA’s consumer channel for sales and marketing across consumer brands GeForce and Shield.
Prior to joining NVIDIA, Mr. Bender served as Senior Vice President of Sales at Sony Computer Entertainment America, a division of Sony Group Corp for the PlayStation brand, from August 2009 to March 2015. Mr. Bender led the revitalization of sales, marketing, and merchandising strategies that culminated in the success of PlayStation 4 as the best-selling videogame console for this generation. Mr. Bender also served as Executive Vice President of Sales for Livescribe Inc. from July 2008 to August 2009. Mr. Bender previously served as President of the Global Consumer Group at LeapFrog Enterprises (NYSE: LF) from 1997 through 2006, where his leadership helped develop the educational company into a valued consumer brand.
Mr. Bender holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Bradley University.

Nick Earl

Nick Earl

Nick Earl

Nick Earl served as Glu Mobile’s President and Chief Executive Officer and held a seat on the company’s Board of Directors. In 2021, Electronic Arts purchased Glu Mobile for $2.4 billion, the 7th largest acquisition in video gaming history. A twenty-nine year game industry veteran, Nick joined Glu in 2015 from Kabam Inc. and Electronic Arts. At Kabam, Earl was President of Worldwide Studios, presiding over such games as Marvel: Contest of Champions. At EA, Earl was SVP of EA Mobile, overseeing hits such as The Simpsons: Tapped Out, The Sims FreePlay and Real Racing 3. He also led the company’s transition from the premium to freemium model.

Prior to EA Mobile, Earl was SVP of EA Games launching such console and PC franchises as Knockout Kings, James Bond, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, The Godfather, The Sims, The Simpsons, Lord of the Rings and Dead Space. Nick is currently a Board member of SciPlay (SCPL), a leading developer and publisher of digital games. Nick holds a B.A. degree in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley.

Brian Fargo

Brian Fargo

Brian Fargo

Brian Fargo is the Founder & Studio Head of inXile entertainment, an Xbox Game Studios developer.
Brian’s career in the entertainment business began at age 18 when he taught himself to program and used that skill to create games for the Apple II. It was the classic story of hand-duplicating disks, putting them into baggies, and shipping them across America. After a short stint at self-publishing, he sold the company to Boone Corporation at age 19 and became their Vice President of Development.

Following the corporate experience gained at Boone, he went out on his own at age 20 to found Interplay Entertainment Corp. Interplay was a game developer and publisher that eventually went on to become one of the Top 5 game publishers in the world. They produced and published hits like Fallout, Battle Chess, and Baldur’s Gate, as well as titles that licensed globally recognized entertainment brands like Star Trek and The Lord of the Rings. Interplay’s worldwide sales would eventually exceed over $100M annually. Brian’s influence in the game industry in the early 90’s would also help to fund, publish, and support those who would go on to form Blizzard Entertainment, Treyarch, and Bioware.

As the industry matured, larger entertainment companies like movie and television studios began to take notice of video games and wanted to get in on their success. Brian partnered with Universal Studios for a 45% stake in Interplay to become the game arm of Universal and bring their movie and TV licenses into video games. Later, Interplay went public with an IPO in 1998, and then did a cross-stock swap with Titus publishing in France. To boost its direct distribution, Interplay acquired a 49.9% interest in Virgin Interactive Europe, giving it offices in Germany, France, and the UK.

Brian then decided to set out on his own again, founding inXile entertainment in 2002. He first partnered up with Vivendi Games to finance inXile’s first project, and eventually pivoted over to crowdfunding to finance the business. Brian raised over $13M directly from his audience using the Kickstarter and Fig platforms. inXile raised equity investment from Tencent and Gumi, Chinese and Japanese game publishers, respectively.

In late 2018, following the success of Wasteland 2 and The Bard’s Tale IV, inXile entertainment was purchased by Microsoft, adding their catalog to the growing Xbox Game Studios family, and securing their ability to develop PC and Xbox titles well into the future.

Additionally, Brian raised money for and sits on the board of a digital game resale platform named Robot Cache.

Brian Hodous

Brian Hodous

Brian Hodous

Currently, Brian T. Hodous is serving as the key adviser at high profile companies and developers such as GameStop, MeloQuest Studios, Velan Venture Studios, Bungie Studios, and Fameos. He is widely recognized as one of the top experts in the areas of interactive entertainment, technology, accessories, and consumer package goods. He has deep knowledge in all areas of the interactive entertainment sector and is in high demand to bring leading IP to market and develop strategic direction for early stage and mid-stage start-ups. In addition, Mr. Hodous currently holds the role of Chief Operating Officer at Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Company to perform the following services: Responsible for all operations for Company, to include functions such as Sales, Marketing, Social Media, Public Relations, Manufacturing, and Distribution.

Prior to focusing on his strategic advisory roles, he had a stellar 35 year history as a key executive at leading entertainment, technology and consumer package goods companies. Most recently Mr. Hodous served as the Vice Chairman of VoltEdge, a compelling line up of headphone offerings tailored to the unique needs of the gaming audience.

Prior to his Vice Chairman post at VoltEdge, Mr. Hodous served as President of Zott TV and was responsible for all operations including Sales, Marketing, Finance, Human Resources, and Corporate Policy. Zott offers a full range of consolidated, curated entertainment content to the hospital patient and caregivers, enabling unprecedented engagement and improved overall experience.
Prior to joining Zott, Mr. Hodous served as President of EAT Club, Inc., the largest business-focused online lunch delivery company in the United States.

Before joining Eat Club, Mr. Hodous served 11 years as the Chief Commercial Officer at Activision Blizzard Inc., the worlds largest online, personal computer, console, handheld, and mobile game publisher. While with Activision Blizzard, Mr. Hodous was responsible for leading Activision Blizzard’s Global Sales, Operations, Supply Chain, Distribution and Manufacturing in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific, developing new business opportunities worldwide.

Prior to his tenure at Activision Blizzard, Mr. Hodous served as Group Director and Executive Vice President of Global Sales of Cadbury Schweppes. Prior to his promotion to this global role, Mr. Hodous held various leadership positions within Cadbury Schweppes and successfully restructured its global sales operations and implemented many strategic sales programs, including advanced product lifecycle management solutions. Before his time with Cadbury Schweppes, Mr. Hodous held senior management positions with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Pillsbury, and GlaxoSmithKline. Mr. Hodous holds an undergraduate degree at Marquette University and an Executive MBA at Thunderbird International Business School.

Chris Richards

Chris Richards

Chris Richards

In his early career, Mr. Richards worked for Olivetti and Panasonic, initially in sales and later in channel development, where he found his passion for product development and developed a know- how in Chinese manufacturing. Mr. Richards developed the “SuperStore Program” for Panasonic that took them from a traditional dealer-based network into warehouse stores such as Office Depot, Staples, Costco and Sam’s Club. He later joined Elecom, a computer accessory company, as its General Manager and President, where he further developed his sourcing and product development knowledge.


In 1998, Mr. Richards was recruited and hired by the Seidler Company and Electro Source, a video game distribution company, to start a video game accessory division. This division, then named Pelican, over the ensuing years grew to be the largest and most profitable division of the company. In 2006, Patriarch Partners acquired the business and appointed Mr. Richards as CEO and President of the newly named Performance Designed Products (“PDP”) in 2007. During his time at PDP, PDP grew to become a leading third-party accessory company in the United States. In 2012, PDP entered into successful partnerships with Disney, as well as with Lego/Hasbro for the creation of “Toys to Life” programs.


In 2017, Mr. Richards co-founded VoltEdge, a video game accessory company with Nima Taghavi, which was sold in 2020 to GameXpress. Mr. Richards is currently consulting for major video game accessory companies, providing assistance in sourcing, product development, operations and sales. He also has an active partnership role in a start-up technology-driven pest control company.

Giving Back

Our philanthropic efforts are deeply embedded into the fabric of our culture and overall mission.

Group 206 primarily supports the efforts of The Nima Taghavi Foundation, founded in 2005, which focuses on strengthening and enriching the lives of underprivileged children, advancing medical research and partnering with thought leaders who drive positive impact in the local community and across the globe.

Through the foundation, we support a variety of local and global initiatives and our team personally invests meaningful time, dedication and resources into these causes. The following is selection of the organizations we collectively contribute to:

The Clinton Foundation*

Eastern Congo Initiative*

Northwestern University

(Medical Research)

Cedars Sinai

(Medical Research)

Miracles for Kids

Orangewood Children's
Foundation

SickKids Foundation

Children's Hospital Los Angeles

St. Jude Children's Research
Hospital

*Indicates Nima Taghavi is a Board Member