David E. Morris
Founder/Managing Partner • Oracle Capital Partners L.L.C. • Detroit, Mich. • Age: 37
David E. Morris’s entrepreneurial spirit was cultivated early by his mother, Ivy Morris, who introduced him to the stock market. “Entrepreneurship is very important, not just to the African-American community but also to the overall economy and community in general,” says the founder and managing partner of Oracle Capital Partners L.L.C., a private-equity firm that provides investment funds to companies owned and controlled by minorities. “It is the small to middle-market companies that generate growth in the economy. We can no longer rely on the large Fortune 500 companies.”
With introductions by his cousin, Hugh Williams, Morris was able to gain direct contact with investment bankers who gave him insight into the world of corporate finance. Morris then aligned himself with the right people and worked his way up from a banking associate to higher positions at commercial and investment banks on Wall Street. He founded Oracle Capital Partners in 2003, where, as managing partner, he is responsible for generating deals, conducting due diligence on prospective transactions and managing the firm’s portfolio investments. “People want to be in control of their own destiny. It’s not like a generation ago when corporations brought people in and expected them to stay,” he says.
Morris has a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from Duke University and an MBA from Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business. He is an alumnus of the Venture Capital Institute and a member of the Investment Review Board for the Michigan Pre-seed Capital Fund, which provides early-stage capital to high-tech startup companies in Michigan.
Morris returned to Duke to teach investment banking. He helped to establish the Duke Directors Education Institute, an annual corporate governance symposium for directors and senior executive officers of publicly traded companies. “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure,” he says, quoting former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.