Investment Team

Thomas Sponholtz
Chairman, CEO and Founder of Unison
Thomas works closely with all stakeholders to ensure the success of Unison and the wide-spread acceptance of home equity for investors and homebuyers. Prior to Unison, Thomas held various positions with Barclay’s Global Investors (BGI), most recently as Head of Fixed income Strategy and Co-Head of Active Fixed Income. At BGI, Thomas was instrumental in launching the first Fixed Income iShares (ETF). Thomas has also worked as a Senior Investment officer at Susquehanna Investment Group as well as Alex Brown and Sons where he led the development and securitization of several large consumer finance products in partnership with European Banks. This included the issuance of Europe’s first collateralized mortgage obligation. Thomas holds an Academy Economist degree from Niels Brock’s Academy of International Business.
Rayan Rafay
COO and Head of Portfolio Management
Rayan oversees the investment management business. Rayan formerly ran Teck Resources’ (Canada’s largest mining company) pension funds and financial risk group overseeing a multi-asset portfolio and a large commodity, interest rate, and currency portfolio. Prior to this role, Rayan worked for the Government of Canada in Economic Development in the Northwest Territories. Rayan also has experience as an Equity Sales Trader with HSBC in Hong Kong. Rayan is the founder of Investment Frontier; an information hub for Frontier Markets and Shalifay, which invests in US Real Estate and seed-level startups. Rayan is a CFA Charterholder and a graduate in international business and Mandarin from the Schulich School of Business, York University. Rayan is the Chair of the Frontier College Foundation Board as well as an advisor to several startups.
Brad Lookabaugh
Quantitative Portfolio Manager
Brad is responsible for working with research and operations to synthesize Unison’s investment strategy. This involves implementing Unison’s investment guidelines and overseeing Odin, Unison’s investment platform. Brad previously worked for Accenture where he managed M&A integration as well as acting as a product test lead. Brad also has experience in complex securities’ analysis with Stout Risius Ross and in biomedical research with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Brad has a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University and a Master of Financial Engineering from the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley.
Andrew Toby
Director, Investment Operations
Andrew manages the structure and implementation of investment management strategies, performance analysis, and investor reporting. Prior to joining Unison in 2016, Andrew served as a Vice President, Portfolio Management for U.S. real estate at BlackRock, where he managed the day to day portfolio operations including development strategies and budgets, financial and performance analysis, and partner/manager relationships. Prior to BlackRock, he served as an acquisitions analyst with Bentall Kennedy and as a senior auditor at Deloitte. Andrew earned an MBA in real estate and urban land economics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a BA in economics with an emphasis in accounting from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Andrew is a CFA Charterholder and has a CPA license (inactive).
Brodie Gay
Quantitative Strategist
Brodie applies machine learning, statistics and quantitative methods in financial derivatives pricing to forecast and price residential real estate derivatives. In addition, he manages the quantitative research and portfolio optimization strategy, leveraging mass property level transaction databases and large scale parallel processing clusters. Prior to Unison, Brodie worked as a Quantitative Strategist for the Financial Institutions Group at Goldman Sachs in New York City. Brodie received his Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) and Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics from UC Berkeley. He lectures a summer course on Quantitative Methods in Derivatives Pricing and a Machine Learning workshop at UC Berkeley for students in the MFE program.
Brandan Carlson
Asset Management Associate
Brandan manages the execution of investment management strategies and portfolio administration to maximize investor return and ensure that each customer has an excellent experience working with Unison Investment Management. Brandan also assists with fund accounting and investment operations across the company. Prior to joining the Investment Management team, Brandan worked closely with Unison’s partner lenders and end consumers. This puts him in a unique position to manage assets with a human element and a deep understanding of the Unison brand. Brandan began his career in FinTech at SoFi, the student loan refi disruptor, where he served as a Loan Analyst and Underwriter for both student loans and personal loans. He is a graduate of Santa Clara University with a Bachelor of Science in Finance.
Robert Price
Managing Director, Acquisitions
Robert oversees the acquisitions group at Unison Investment Management. The Acquisitions group performs end to end processing, closing and due diligence/analysis for each property that UIM invests in. Robert focuses on driving innovation in workflow and process improvements and developing synergies in the acquisition process. Robert has over 25 years of experience in financial services. Robert studied Economics and Business Finance at the University of Texas at Austin.
Emmanuel Mendoza
Investment Analyst
Emmanuel (Manny) facilitates credit and property analysis to determine investment suitability within the Acquisition group. He is focused on developing innovative, high-quality service standards for UIM as a long-term investor in residential real estate. Manny has over 20 years of experience in the residential real estate industry and possesses extensive knowledge of agency and non-agency mortgage products. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Finance from Notre Dame de Namur University and a Master's degree in Capital Markets from Saint Mary's College of California.
Avita Unadkat
Investment Analyst
Avita conducts analysis on the property and credit for each investment that Unison makes. Avita vets the value of each property and applies Unison's methodology to ensure that each investment Unison makes is prudent. Avita has 10 years' industry experience and holds a degree in Finance with a minor in Economics from Cal State East Bay, and an MBA from Webster University, Orlando.
Matthew Johnson
Senior Transaction Specialist
Matthew serves as a Senior Transaction Specialist within the Acquisitions group. He works tirelessly to implement an efficient progression pipeline to provide an excellent service experience to Unison partners and to originate quality assets for our investors. Before joining the Unison team, Matthew served as a Loan Processor for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage division and a Mortgage Loan Coordinator for Bank of America. He is a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma holding a degree in Business Administration.
Ismael Casas
Manager, Acquisitions
Ish is a manager within the Acquisitions group. In this role, Ish oversees the end-to-end customer experience, once a potential investment is handed off from Unison's sales operations team to the acquisitions group. Previously, Ish has worked with a variety of financial institutions including Loan Depot, Washington Mutual, and Greenpoint Mortgage. Ish has a strong background in operations and acquisitions. He is a graduate of Cal State Fullerton and majored in Communications.
Amy Marsili
Senior Transaction Specialist
Amy is a Senior Transaction Specialist with Unison IM. Amy has over 20 years of experience as a loan closer/doc drawer within the residential mortgage industry, working for firms such as Countrywide, Greenpoint Mortgage, and California Mortgage Advisors. Using this experience, Amy is focused on streamlining and innovating acquisitions at Unison IM for equity investments, leveraging her expertise within the mortgage space. Amy is a graduate of Chico State University.
John Arens
General Counsel and CCO
As General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at UIM, John is responsible for all legal and regulatory compliance matters at the firm. Prior to joining Unison, John served as General Counsel and Vice President of Loan Operations at Funding Circle USA, a leading marketplace lender focused exclusively on small businesses. Previously, John was Legal Director and CCO for Liquid Realty Partners, a real estate private equity firm. John's prior roles include senior management duties at Redwood Trust, a publicly-traded mortgage REIT specializing in the securitization of real estate loans, and Dorado, an enterprise software provider for mortgage lenders and banks. John holds a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of San Diego.
Launa Jameson
Senior Transaction Specialist
Launa serves as a Senior Transaction Specialist within the Acquisitions group. She strives to provide an excellent customer service experience to Unison partners and to originate quality assets for our investors. Before joining the Unison team, Launa served as a Home Mortgage Assistant for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and was a Mortgage Loan Coordinator for Bank of America. Launa has over 15 years of experience in the real estate/mortgage field.
Denise Claiborne
Senior Transaction Specialist
Denise is a Senior Transaction Specialist with Unison Investment Management. Denise brings 30 years of experience in the lending industry with a honed expertise in closing originated investments. Denise works closely with sales operations, investment analysts and the portfolio management team to ensure that Unison's investments are prudent and appropriate whilst providing an excellent customer service experience. Denise enjoy music, reading and being around family and friends.
Ken Lee
FinTech Lead
Ken is responsible for the full-stack web development and infrastructure in the Unison investment management team. Currently, he is focusing on launching version 1.0 of the upcoming Investor Dashboard. Ken was previously a React specialist for Accenture working in Menlo Park focusing on best practices in JavaScript such as Flow type checking and unit testing in React-Redux. He holds Bachelors of Arts in Mathematics and Philosophy from Rutgers University.
Keren Ackerman
Compliance Manager
Keren serves as Compliance Manager at Unison Investment Management. She is responsible for the firm’s compliance with the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and other federal securities laws. Prior to joining Unison, Keren served as Chief Compliance Officer for Strategic Wealth Advisors Group, LLC, a registered investment adviser focusing on retirement and retail investors. Previously, Keren was General Counsel at Law Finance Group, a leading post-judgment litigation finance company and Chief Compliance Officer at Vector Capital, a technology-focused private equity firm. Prior to becoming a compliance professional, Keren served in a number of investor relations and legal roles in publicly-traded technology and services companies. Keren holds a Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology from the University of Delaware. Keren holds a Series 7 general securities representative license, a California insurance license and is an active member of the State Bar of California.
Tahereh Khorram
Investment Operations Analyst
Tahereh works at Unison as an Investment Operations Analyst supporting fund accounting and investor reporting. Previously, Tahereh served as a Lead Analyst, for Alternative Investment at BNY Mellon, where she managed the day to day portfolio operations including financial modeling for different classes of stock, SEC filling variance analysis and budgets, financial and performance analysis. Prior to BNY Mellon, she served as a sales development executive with Nestle and as an auditor at RINA. Tahereh earned a Masters of Tax Law from Golden Gate University, and a BA in Finance with a major in accounting from the Azad University, Tehran. Tahereh has a CPA license (inactive).

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