PE-backed CircleBlack founder/CEO Michel dies

John Michel, founder and CEO of CircleBlack, which is backed by Long Arc Capital, has passed away.

John Michel, founder and CEO of CircleBlack, which is backed by Long Arc Capital, has passed away. Michel, who was 62, died suddenly over the holiday weekend. A career highlight includes serving as one of the creators of the Merrill Edge platform during his 14 years with Merrill Lynch. In 2010, Michel was tapped to lead Bloomberg Wealth. And, in 2013, Michel left Bloomberg and founded CircleBlack, an enterprise software company, and has been CEO since.


NEW YORK, July 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — It is with profound sadness that CircleBlack and Long Arc Capital announce the passing of CircleBlack Founder and Chief Executive Officer John Michel, who died suddenly over the holiday weekend.

John Michel, 62, was known and respected as an innovator and entrepreneur in financial technology, from being one of the creators of the Merrill Edge platform during his 14 years with Merrill Lynch to building Bloomberg LLC’s first direct-to-consumer offering. He started CircleBlack, a leading provider of enterprise software solutions for wealth management firms, in 2013 and has been its CEO since.

“John helped build some of the most innovative technologies to fill the white spaces in investing,” said Martin Beaulieu, a Director of CircleBlack and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Artivest. “As a well-known financial innovator, he was passionate through his entire career about finding a better way for people to manage their wealth and lives.”

Long Arc Capital recently acquired a majority equity stake in CircleBlack. Terms of the transaction were not announced. The investment allows CircleBlack to leverage Long Arc Capital’s deep industry experience and operating and business development capabilities to enhance its platform and build on CircleBlack’s strong momentum.

“John was a visionary who built a number of successful businesses enabled by technology,” said Gaurav Bhandari, Managing Partner of Long Arc Capital. “In getting to know him and the business he had built at CircleBlack over the past year, it was clear John had developed a powerful proposition addressing an important gap in the market. His loss shocks and saddens all of the Long Arc team, and we know his legacy of innovation will be a cornerstone of CircleBlack’s continued growth in the years to come.”

Michel graduated from the United States Military Academy and served in the Army for six years. He joined Merrill Lynch in 1987, with a focus on creating new ways for advisors to capture younger, affluent clients. Eventually, he led Merrill Lynch’s Merrill Lynch Direct business, which became Merrill Edge. In 2010, Michel was tapped to lead Bloomberg Wealth, the company’s effort to provide data and technology to allow investors to manage their own money. In 2013, Michel left Bloomberg and founded CircleBlack.

“We are all personally devastated to have lost a giant of a man like my father so unexpectedly,” said Jay Michel, John Michel’s son and CircleBlack’s Managing Director of marketing. “He built CircleBlack with the idea that people could live their lives to the fullest if advisors could give them a more transparent view of their wealth. Nothing can replace him in our hearts, but his values and legacy will clearly live on in everything we do, professionally and personally.”

Long Arc Capital and CircleBlack will be announcing more information about the Company and its strategic plans in the near future.

About Long Arc Capital
Long Arc Capital LP (“Long Arc”) is a private equity firm based in New York dedicated to building and scaling breakthrough businesses. Founded in 2016, Long Arc has six Partners with significant investing and operating experience. The firm has a philosophy of “active ownership” and partners with entrepreneurs and management teams to build successful businesses.

About CircleBlack
Founded by John Michel and a team of experienced financial innovators in 2014, CircleBlack provides financial advisors with technology that aggregates data, integrates other financial applications seamlessly, provides actionable intelligence about client portfolios and helps advisors better manage clients’ wealth which helps grow and deepen advisor-client relationships. CircleBlack’s platform leverages three pending patents that help sustain CircleBlack’s unique competitive advantages. CircleBlack believes in making wealth management better, for both the investor and the advisor. The platform is built for the 21st Century in a web-based application format that can be taken anywhere and accessed anytime, through a computer, tablet or smartphone. For more information about CircleBlack, visit