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Tyler Qualio: Investor Spotlight

VCapital Team, August 10, 2022

“If you can make money while helping the world, it’s a win-win.”

A Golf-ish Connection

Tyler Qualio was having lunch with a colleague in the summer of 2012. A connection was suggested with Jim Vaughan because they had financial services and golf in common. His first reaction was ho-hum; many people in financial services play golf. What’s the big deal here? Then it was mentioned that Jim’s focus was venture capital and Tyler’s ears perked up. He had been actively searching for a way to diversify his clients’ portfolios using venture capital with reasonable minimums. He believes that an appropriate portion of his accredited investors’ portfolios should include the possibility of explosive upside with an acceptable risk of loss.  

As President of Sentinus, a unique financial planning and investment management firm in Oak Brook, Illinois, Tyler has chosen to hire a CEO to run the business so that he can be client-facing. Similar to many start-ups, this is a common practice for those who have a deep passion for their craft and the impact it can have on people and their families.

Figuring Out a Life Path

While growing up in Kohler, WI, Tyler was fascinated by the expansion of the famous family-led and privately-held international plumbing business in his town. He graduated from St. Norbert College outside of Green Bay and thought it might not hurt to have a law degree. Considering a career as an athletic director who could work in the world of collegiate athletics, he chose Marquette University because of its strong sports program.  

Realizing that the lifestyle of an athletic director would require frequently relocating, he explored a different path, knowing that growing up in one location, as he did, would be best for future family life. 

Then the man who eventually became Tyler’s father-in-law had an idea for his boutique financial advisory business founded by his own father before him. Looking for his ultimate successor, he took a chance and asked Tyler to join him as employee #3 despite the fact Tyler was not yet engaged to his daughter Steph, whom Tyler had met at St. Norbert. A Certified Financial Planning credential was added to Tyler’s law degree, which rounded out his gravitational pull towards customized investment and estate planning. 

Two decades later, Tyler and Steph are married with two daughters, and Sentinus has grown to 23 employees, managing or advising on nearly $1B as a referral-based, independent RIA (Registered Investment Advisor) for accredited individual investors, business owners, and families that typically have a net worth between $3M-$20M. Their approach is 100% customized for each client.

The Why of Venture Capital

In addition to the upside potential for an investment portfolio, a multi-generational estate, or a philanthropic plan, Tyler is attracted to venture capital because of its impact on improving the lives of others, especially in healthcare. 

He stated, “If you can make money while helping the world, it’s a win-win.”  He credits his love of golf in some small way with bringing him the opportunity to do so.