Ballast Point Ventures

Ballast Point Ventures is a team of eleven dedicated professionals who possess a wealth of financial, investment and operating experience, including over a century of collective experience in the areas of venture capital, private equity, entrepreneurial management and investment banking.

Members of the team have built highly successful private and public companies and have invested in and advised over 100 private growth companies over the past 25 years. We work as a team, and the resources and network of the entire firm, and not just one investment professional, are available to our entrepreneur partners.

As one of the largest venture capital firms in the Southeast, the BPV team is uniquely positioned to forge long-term relationships with entrepreneurs to provide capital, experience and valuable relationships to companies experiencing rapid growth.

Whether exploiting an opportunity or confronting an unexpected challenge – and every business experiences both – we ensure that our entrepreneur partners take full advantage of our team’s experience and resources.

Drew Graham, Partner

Drew is the Managing Partner responsible for overseeing the operations of the firm.  He has invested in numerous private growth companies across several industries, including healthcare, software, business services, communications and consumer.  He currently serves as Chairman of Watermark Medical Holdings (dba SleepMed) and as a Director of Theragen.  He previously served as Chairman of KBI BioPharma, kSep Holdings and MolecularMD and represented BPV at Innocutis, QOL Medical, Knology, Lifestyle Family Fitness and Optical Experts Manufacturing.  Drew also serves as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Florida Health Sciences Center, Inc. (dba Tampa General Hospital), where he also chairs the Finance Committee.  He previously served as Chairman of the Tampa General Hospital Foundation.

Prior to co-founding Ballast Point Ventures in 2002, Drew spent six years at South Atlantic Venture Funds. Drew joined South Atlantic in 1995 and was a Principal and General Partner in South Atlantic Ventures Funds III and IV.  Drew began his private equity career with the Merchant Banking Division of Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc. in New York and also worked as a management consultant at the Parthenon Group in Boston.

He graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree, Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude,  and from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration with an MBA, with Distinction.  He is a Trustee of Berkeley Preparatory School, where he chairs the Finance Committee, and served as a Director of the Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research through an appointment in 2016 by Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Paul Johan, Partner

Paul focuses on investments in technology-enabled services companies, including companies in the communications, insurance technology and financial technologies industries.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of AVOXI, InsuranceZebra, Prepaid Technologies, and Vazata.  Paul previously represented BPV at Cbeyond Communications, Florida Bank Group, FSV Payment Systems, GHN-Online HotSchedules, Instawares, Incomm Holdings, PDQ Southern Texas, Tower Cloud and Wave 7 Optics.  Paul is also Chief Operating Officer of Ballast Point Ventures.

Prior to co-founding Ballast Point Ventures in 2002, Paul spent four years in the Investment Banking Group of Raymond James & Associates. He served as a Vice President in the firm’s Mergers and Acquisitions and Telecommunications Groups, where he was the senior banker responsible for the Telecommunications Equipment practice. Paul helped companies raise over $2 billion of debt and equity capital and advised clients in mergers and acquisitions transactions totaling over $1 billion.  Paul was previously an investment banker with Wachovia Securities.

He graduated from Emory University with a bachelor’s degree, and from the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia with an MBA.

 

Matt Rice, Partner

Matt leads BPV’s healthcare practice and currently serves on the Board of Directors at TissueTech, YPrime, IRIS and Theragen.  He is Chairman at PaceMate and a Board Observer at Carterra.  Matt previously represented BPV at Innocutis and MolecularMD.  He also serves on the St. Joseph’s Hospitals Board of Directors (Baycare Health System).

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures in 2004, Matt began his career in the Healthcare Investment Banking Group of Raymond James Financial where he focused primarily on the specialty pharmaceutical, drug distribution and contract research organization sectors.  Matt also worked in the Strategic Alliances group at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research prior to rejoining BPV as a Vice President in 2008.

He graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration with an MBA.

 

Robert Faber, Partner

Robert focuses on technology-enabled business service companies with a particular emphasis on Software-as-a-Service companies.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of PowerChord, Symphonic Distribution, Mailprotector and Key Data and as a Board Observer at AVOXI and Spotio.  Robert previously represented BPV at Prepaid Technologies, PowerDMS, TicketBiscuit and Advanced Processing and Imaging.

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures in 2010, Robert worked for three years as an Associate for Wachovia Capital Partners, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based private equity fund affiliated with Wachovia Corporation.  While at Wachovia Capital Partners, now known as Pamlico Capital, Robert focused on investments in the media, communications, business services and energy sectors.  He also worked previously as an Analyst for two years in the Leveraged Finance Group of Wachovia Securities, also in Charlotte.

He graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree and from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth with an MBA.

 

Sean Barkman, Partner

Sean focuses on technology-enabled business service companies with a particular emphasis on Software-as-a-Service companies.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors at SkuVault, Abacode and Spotio.  Sean previously represented BPV at YPrime and was active with portfolio companies PowerDMS, kSep Holdings, KBI Biopharma and Innocutis.  He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Florida Venture Forum and previously served on the Investor Advisory Board of the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research.

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures in 2011, Sean spent three years in the Technology Investment Banking Group at Raymond James where he was actively involved in both mergers and acquisitions and capital raising efforts.  Sean holds a B.S.B.A. in Finance from the University of Central Florida, where he graduated summa cum laude, and a Masters of Business Administration from the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College.

Laura Abelman, Vice President

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures, Laura worked at Raymond James Financial as an Assistant to the Chairman, working directly with the Chairman, CEO, and CFO on key strategic initiatives. She also worked previously as a management consultant at Deloitte and American Express. Laura graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management with an MBA.

Sara Dionne, Administrative Director

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures in 2021, Sara worked as a General Manager for a rapidly growing local construction company.  She previously worked in the event management field, where she executed the planning and production of trade shows and weddings.  Sara began her professional career in the legal field, working as both a bilingual litigation case manager and office manager.  Sara holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and an MBA, both from the University of South Florida.

Gina Orsino, Executive Assistant

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures in 2017, Gina was a Senior Executive Assistant for Teva Pharmaceuticals supporting executives in Biosimilars and multiple divisions of Global Generics Medicines.   Prior to joining Teva, Gina was the Personal Assistant to the President of Asplundh Tree Expert Co. and spent 18 years as an Executive Assistant for City Sign Service, Inc.  She graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelors of Science degree.

Baxter Perkins, Senior Associate

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures in 2019, Baxter worked at Crutchfield Capital, a Houston-based middle market investment banking firm. While at Crutchfield, Baxter assisted in providing sell-side and buy-side M&A advisory services to companies in the industrial, software, and technology-enabled service industries. Baxter graduated from The University of North Carolina, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

Walter Yarbrough, Senior Associate

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures in 2021, Walter worked for two years as a Senior Analyst at Route 2 Capital Partners, a Charleston, South Carolina-based private investment firm. Before Route 2 Capital Partners, he worked as an Analyst at North Inlet Advisors LLC, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based investment bank. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Economics.

Ryan Silvester, Associate

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures in 2022, Ryan worked as an Associate at Crosstree Capital Partners, a boutique investment banking firm based in Tampa, Florida. While at Crosstree, Ryan assisted in providing sell-side and buy-side M&A advisory services to companies in the pharma services, diagnostics and tools, and digital health sectors. Before Crosstree, he worked as an Analyst in the M&A group at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey in Atlanta, Georgia. Ryan graduated from The University of Florida, with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering.

 

Drew Graham, Partner

Drew is the Managing Partner responsible for overseeing the operations of the firm.  He has invested in numerous private growth companies across several industries, including healthcare, software, business services, communications and consumer.  He currently serves as Chairman of Watermark Medical Holdings (dba SleepMed) and as a Director of Theragen.  He previously served as Chairman of KBI BioPharma, kSep Holdings and MolecularMD and represented BPV at Innocutis, QOL Medical, Knology, Lifestyle Family Fitness and Optical Experts Manufacturing.  Drew also serves as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Florida Health Sciences Center, Inc. (dba Tampa General Hospital), where he also chairs the Finance Committee.  He previously served as Chairman of the Tampa General Hospital Foundation.

Prior to co-founding Ballast Point Ventures in 2002, Drew spent six years at South Atlantic Venture Funds. Drew joined South Atlantic in 1995 and was a Principal and General Partner in South Atlantic Ventures Funds III and IV.  Drew began his private equity career with the Merchant Banking Division of Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc. in New York and also worked as a management consultant at the Parthenon Group in Boston.

He graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree, Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude,  and from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration with an MBA, with Distinction.  He is a Trustee of Berkeley Preparatory School, where he chairs the Finance Committee, and served as a Director of the Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research through an appointment in 2016 by Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Paul Johan, Partner

Paul focuses on investments in technology-enabled services companies, including companies in the communications, insurance technology and financial technologies industries.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of AVOXI, InsuranceZebra, Prepaid Technologies, and Vazata.  Paul previously represented BPV at Cbeyond Communications, Florida Bank Group, FSV Payment Systems, GHN-Online HotSchedules, Instawares, Incomm Holdings, PDQ Southern Texas, Tower Cloud and Wave 7 Optics.  Paul is also Chief Operating Officer of Ballast Point Ventures.

Prior to co-founding Ballast Point Ventures in 2002, Paul spent four years in the Investment Banking Group of Raymond James & Associates. He served as a Vice President in the firm’s Mergers and Acquisitions and Telecommunications Groups, where he was the senior banker responsible for the Telecommunications Equipment practice. Paul helped companies raise over $2 billion of debt and equity capital and advised clients in mergers and acquisitions transactions totaling over $1 billion.  Paul was previously an investment banker with Wachovia Securities.

He graduated from Emory University with a bachelor’s degree, and from the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia with an MBA.

 

Matt Rice, Partner

Matt leads BPV’s healthcare practice and currently serves on the Board of Directors at TissueTech, YPrime, IRIS and Theragen.  He is Chairman at PaceMate and a Board Observer at Carterra.  Matt previously represented BPV at Innocutis and MolecularMD.  He also serves on the St. Joseph’s Hospitals Board of Directors (Baycare Health System).

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures in 2004, Matt began his career in the Healthcare Investment Banking Group of Raymond James Financial where he focused primarily on the specialty pharmaceutical, drug distribution and contract research organization sectors.  Matt also worked in the Strategic Alliances group at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research prior to rejoining BPV as a Vice President in 2008.

He graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration with an MBA.

 

Robert Faber, Partner

Robert focuses on technology-enabled business service companies with a particular emphasis on Software-as-a-Service companies.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of PowerChord, Symphonic Distribution, Mailprotector and Key Data and as a Board Observer at AVOXI and Spotio.  Robert previously represented BPV at Prepaid Technologies, PowerDMS, TicketBiscuit and Advanced Processing and Imaging.

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures in 2010, Robert worked for three years as an Associate for Wachovia Capital Partners, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based private equity fund affiliated with Wachovia Corporation.  While at Wachovia Capital Partners, now known as Pamlico Capital, Robert focused on investments in the media, communications, business services and energy sectors.  He also worked previously as an Analyst for two years in the Leveraged Finance Group of Wachovia Securities, also in Charlotte.

He graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree and from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth with an MBA.

 

Sean Barkman, Partner

Sean focuses on technology-enabled business service companies with a particular emphasis on Software-as-a-Service companies.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors at SkuVault, Abacode and Spotio.  Sean previously represented BPV at YPrime and was active with portfolio companies PowerDMS, kSep Holdings, KBI Biopharma and Innocutis.  He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Florida Venture Forum and previously served on the Investor Advisory Board of the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research.

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures in 2011, Sean spent three years in the Technology Investment Banking Group at Raymond James where he was actively involved in both mergers and acquisitions and capital raising efforts.  Sean holds a B.S.B.A. in Finance from the University of Central Florida, where he graduated summa cum laude, and a Masters of Business Administration from the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College.

Laura Abelman, Vice President

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures, Laura worked at Raymond James Financial as an Assistant to the Chairman, working directly with the Chairman, CEO, and CFO on key strategic initiatives. She also worked previously as a management consultant at Deloitte and American Express. Laura graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management with an MBA.

Sara Dionne, Administrative Director

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures in 2021, Sara worked as a General Manager for a rapidly growing local construction company.  She previously worked in the event management field, where she executed the planning and production of trade shows and weddings.  Sara began her professional career in the legal field, working as both a bilingual litigation case manager and office manager.  Sara holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and an MBA, both from the University of South Florida.

Gina Orsino, Executive Assistant

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures in 2017, Gina was a Senior Executive Assistant for Teva Pharmaceuticals supporting executives in Biosimilars and multiple divisions of Global Generics Medicines.   Prior to joining Teva, Gina was the Personal Assistant to the President of Asplundh Tree Expert Co. and spent 18 years as an Executive Assistant for City Sign Service, Inc.  She graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelors of Science degree.

Baxter Perkins, Senior Associate

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures in 2019, Baxter worked at Crutchfield Capital, a Houston-based middle market investment banking firm. While at Crutchfield, Baxter assisted in providing sell-side and buy-side M&A advisory services to companies in the industrial, software, and technology-enabled service industries. Baxter graduated from The University of North Carolina, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

Walter Yarbrough, Senior Associate

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures in 2021, Walter worked for two years as a Senior Analyst at Route 2 Capital Partners, a Charleston, South Carolina-based private investment firm. Before Route 2 Capital Partners, he worked as an Analyst at North Inlet Advisors LLC, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based investment bank. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Economics.

Ryan Silvester, Associate

Prior to joining Ballast Point Ventures in 2022, Ryan worked as an Associate at Crosstree Capital Partners, a boutique investment banking firm based in Tampa, Florida. While at Crosstree, Ryan assisted in providing sell-side and buy-side M&A advisory services to companies in the pharma services, diagnostics and tools, and digital health sectors. Before Crosstree, he worked as an Analyst in the M&A group at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey in Atlanta, Georgia. Ryan graduated from The University of Florida, with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering.

 

Limited Partner Advisory Board

D. Scott Luttrell, LCM Group
Scott Luttrell is Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of LCM Group, Inc., an investment firm specializing in alternative asset funds management and financial market consulting services. Scott has over 35 years of investment and financial market experience with particular expertise in hedge fund and fund of funds, venture capital, private equity, foreign exchange, and fixed income investing.

Scott launched LCM Group in 1988 with its first hedge fund and after three years merged the investment activities of LCM Group with Caxton Associates, LLC, a New York based diversified investment firm. Serving from 1991 through 2000 as Principal and senior officer of Caxton, Scott’s responsibilities included Senior Trading Manager, Director of Global Fixed Income and senior member of the firms’ portfolio risk management committee.

Scott currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the YMCA Retirement Fund, a $6 billion retirement fund serving the employees of the YMCA.  He also serves on several private company Board of Directors and is active in various academic and community organizations including serving on the Southern Methodist University’s Cox School Executive Board and the Cox School Alternative Asset Management Center Board of Advisors.

Scott graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in Business Administration/Finance and attended Harvard Business School’s Executive Education program in corporate governance.

John Touchton, The Witt-Touchton Company
John Touchton is a third-generation partner and President of The Witt-Touchton Company, a family investment partnership in Tampa, Florida.  Previously, he was a founding partner at Bayshore Capital Advisors and also worked at Lazard Frères & Co. in New York and for NationsBank Investment Banking in Charlotte, North Carolina.

John currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Berkeley Preparatory School, and he is a member of the Board of Directors of Tampa General Hospital, where he chairs the Strategic Planning and Investment Committees.  John formerly served as Chairman of the Tampa General Hospital Foundation and as President of CFA Tampa Bay.  He was a member of the Advisory Faculty of the Institute for Private Investors in New York City, and a member of the Private Client Task Force for the CFA Institute.

John graduated with honors from Washington & Lee University and received an MBA from the Wharton School of Business.

Brett Couch, Regions Bank
Brett Couch leads Regions Bank’s Corporate Real Estate and Procurement divisions. He is also a member of Regions’ Executive Leadership Team. Regions is a regional bank that operates throughout the South, Midwest and Texas and is headquartered in Birmingham, Ala.

Prior to assuming his current duties in 2018, Brett previously served as Florida/East Region president and as Mississippi president. Brett also has held various other leadership positions with Regions, including head of Business Banking, manager of Credit Review and commercial sales manager. Prior to joining Regions, he worked in National Accounts for SunTrust Bank.

Brett earned a bachelor’s degree in Corporate Finance from the University of Alabama. He is a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University.

Brett serves on the boards of directors of The First Tee of Tampa Bay, Enterprise Florida (Past Vice Chair), Florida Council of 100, and on the advisory board for Ballast Point Ventures. He also has prior leadership roles with the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Tampa Metropolitan YMCA (past Governance Board Chair), the American Heart Association (Heart Walk Chair – 2007) and the United Way.

Eric Obeck, Hancock Bank
Eric Obeck became Whitney Bank regional president in 2008, expanding that executive role when Hancock acquired Whitney in 2011. Eric recently extended his executive oversight to include all lines of business in Hancock’s Florida, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi markets. His experience includes 11 years at Barnett Bank in Tampa and 10 years running three start-up companies in the healthcare, internet, and marketing technology industries, respectively.

Eric is the immediate past chairman of the St. Joseph Hospitals Board of Trustees and currently serves on the executive committee of the BayCare Health System Board of Trustees and chairs the finance committee.

Eric graduated from Washington & Lee University with a degree in Economics.

Carl A. Jenkins, BMO Harris Bank 
Carl A. Jenkins is Managing Director and Head of Community Investments for BMO Harris Bank N.A., the U.S. banking subsidiary of BMO Financial Group. He is the founding manager of a business line with private investments exceeding $1BN in commitments across the U.S. Primary asset classes include conventional closed-end private equity and debt funds (SBIC licensed funds), conventional real estate funds, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit funds (Section 42) and debt securities originated by Community Development Financial Institutions. His group also originates direct structured equity and debt for affordable and mixed-income multi-family rental housing on a sole or co-investor basis.  The Community Investments group is responsible for Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and Public Welfare Investments for BMO Harris Bank N.A.

Additionally, Carl chairs the board of directors for BMO Private Equity (U.S.), Inc., the BMO subsidiary that originates mezzanine debt and impact equity investments directly to operating businesses.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture from Washington University in St. Louis and holds an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina. He serves on the board of directors for several organizations, including State Employees Retirement System of Illinois, the Disability Opportunity Fund, Enterprise Community Investment, and the Goodman Theatre. Carl also serves on the advisory board of multiple lower middle market private equity funds.

Patrick George, Halstatt, LLC 
Patrick George is Chief Investment Officer of Halstatt, LLC. In this capacity, he oversees investments across a wide variety of asset classes, including public and private equities, fixed income, specialty finance, commodities, hedge funds and various other alternative investments.  He maintains close relationships with numerous money managers, institutions and other family offices.  Patrick works closely with the many investment firms affiliated with Halstatt, including Halstatt Real Estate Partners, Halstatt Legacy Partners, Haversine Management, Trent Capital Partners, and Florida Gulfshore Capital.

Prior to Halstatt, Patrick held a variety of senior investment and general management positions.  Most recently, he served as the President of Lehigh Technologies, a clean tech company initially backed by Halstatt and Florida Gulfshore Capital.  In the 1990’s, he led the investment activities at Compaq Computer Corporation (now HP), successfully deploying over $350 million into various technology acquisitions and venture investments.  Before his time at Compaq, Patrick was an investment banker at William Blair & Company in Chicago.  During his career, he has also worked as a strategic consultant for McKinsey & Co., and an officer of Be Free, Inc., a software company he helped to start and take public.

Patrick received an undergraduate degree, with honors, from Harvard College where he concentrated in Economics.  In addition, he holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He currently serves on the board of the Harvard Club of Naples.

Christopher C. Lykes 
Christopher C. Lykes is a private investor based in Tampa, Florida.

Christopher currently serves on the Investment Committee of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, which manages approximately $470,000,000. He is also a member of the Investment Committee and the Advisory Board of HealthEdge Investment Fund II, L.P., a private equity fund in the healthcare sector.

Christopher formerly served as Chairman of Bay Cities Bank (and served on several Bank committees) and as Chairman and CEO of its holding company Florida Business BancGroup, Inc., which was acquired by and merged into Home Bancshares, Inc. in 2015. He is a former Director of Beasley Distributing Co., Inc. (malt beverage distribution) and Lykes Bros. Inc. (vertically integrated Food Processing and Agri-Business). He was also Vice President and CFO of Vitality Foodservice, Inc. (which marketed and sold concentrated fruit juice to the foodservice industry and manufactured dispensing systems). Prior to that, he was the Director of Treasury and Assistant Treasurer for Lykes Bros. Inc. Christopher began his career with Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company in New York.

Christopher is a graduate of Washington and Lee University (1984) and University of Tampa – Master of Science – Finance (2010). Christopher is active in leadership positions in several of Tampa’s civic, charitable, and social organizations.

Patrick R. Miller, J.P. Morgan 
Patrick R. Miller is a Portfolio Manager on the Private Equity Group at J.P. Morgan. The Private Equity Group manages $30 billion in private equity investments on behalf of institutional and private investors. The business comprises a global team (New York, London, Hong Kong) which invests in partnerships, co-investments, and secondary investments across industry and stage. The team currently manages a range of commingled funds and separate accounts primarily focused on venture capital, growth equity and buyout investments. Patrick joined the Private Equity Group in 2014 and has portfolio management, investment due diligence, and business development responsibilities.

Prior to joining J.P. Morgan Investment Management, he received his BA from Northwestern University. Mr. Miller holds the FINRA Series 3, 7 & 63 certifications. Outside of the office, Patrick is a member of the Emerging Leaders Council for a non-profit sports-based youth development and organization in New York City.

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