Orinola Gbadebo-Smith, Finance Expert in New York, NY, United States
Orinola Gbadebo-Smith

Finance Expert in New York, NY, United States

Member since July 26, 2017
A private equity investor turned entrepreneur, Ori comes with M&A, PE, VC and operating experience across the US, Europe, and Africa. Following his MBA from Harvard Business School, he most recently founded The Antilles Company—an eCommerce startup whose operations span five countries and three continents. Having transitioned out of day-to-day operations, Orinola advises growth companies on strategy, fundraising, GTM methods, and operations.
Orinola is now available for hire

Career Highlights


Industry Expertise

  • Investment Banking
  • Venture Capital & Private Equity
  • Healthcare Services
  • Retail
  • Apparel & Accessories Retail
  • Financial Modeling
  • Startups
  • Consumer Products

Other Expertise

  • Operations
  • Private Equity
  • Route to Market
  • Startups
  • Strategy
  • Valuation Modeling


  • Co-founder + CEO

    2013 - PRESENT
    The Antilles Company
    • Led the company from inception to market, including capital raising, team construction, operations, strategy, finance, global expansion, and the establishment of its supply chain.
    • Constructed investor materials (presentations and three-statement financial model) and go-to-market strategy as well as led negotiations for a successful Series A round.
    • Built an international distribution network that included strategic showrooms, eCommerce, and over 600 independent sellers spanning four countries.
    • Built a global supply chain and sourcing organization across Southeast Asia (China, Korea), Europe (Greece, Turkey), and EMEA.
    • Won Harvard Business School's Global Best New Venture Award.
    Focus areas: Pricing Strategy, Unit-level Economics, Distribution, Three-statement Modeling, Expansion, Global, Supply Chain, Operations Analytics, Go-to-market Plans, Startups, Fundraising
  • Chief Economist & Special Infrastructure Advisor

    2010 - 2011
    Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Project
    • Evaluated, analyzed, and made strategic recommendations on all special situation investments on behalf of the CEO. Special situation projects were defined as those valued in excess of $4 billion, as well as all horizontal/strategic expansion opportunities.
    • Conducted market research, financial modeling, financing options analysis, offtake options analysis, and more as part of the execution, financing, and construction of a new $8 billion liquefaction and floating regasification plant in Nigeria.
    • Conducted similar market research, modeling, financing options analysis, capital markets assessment, and assembled a recommendation memorandum for the expansion the company’s LNG vessel/fleet, valued at $420 million.
    • Served as Interim Chief Economist for the organization.
    • Authored a 130-page research report and made a strategic recommendation on the investment prospects for the creation of a domestic liquefied petroleum gas industry, to be executed in partnership with the Federal Government.
    Focus areas: Negotiation, Investment Decision-making, C-suite, Investments, Infrastructure, Fundraising, Market Opportunity Analysis, Valuation Analysis, Capital Structuring
  • Chief Restructuring Officer

    2010 - 2010
    Radiation Therapy Services, Inc.
    • Designed and executed the $40 million cost restructuring strategy for RTS, as approved by the board. Achieved $38 million in cost-savings, with direct pass-through to EBITDA.
    • Restructured and renegotiated 176 physician contracts; and led negotiations, financial modeling, and sell-side due diligence for the successful divestiture of 60 underperforming freestanding therapy centers.
    • Negotiated and executed $35 million sale-leaseback transaction of RTS’ the Nevada freestanding centers' real-estate assets.
    • Redesigned 2010 strategic roadmap for the company, and screened new management team (CFO and Chief Strategy Officer) that would lead its execution.
    Focus areas: Divestitures, Leases, Revenue Optimization, Cost Reduction & Optimization, Budgeting, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Financial Restructuring
  • Private Equity Investor

    2008 - 2010
    Vestar Capital Partners, LP
    • Evaluated and executed new and follow-on investment opportunities in consumer and healthcare industries as part of Vestar’s $3.7 billion fund.
    • Drove all aspects of the investment process, including deal origination, development of investment thesis, financial modeling, capital markets/financing assessment, presentation to investment committee and deal execution.
    • Managed cross-functional teams of external advisors through financial, operations, market and strategic due diligence as part of leveraged buyout process.
    • Facilitated sale & purchase agreement process; oversaw debt structuring discussions with lenders; and oversaw key transaction documentation, including sale & purchase agreements, merger agreements, management incentive plans, shareholders’ agreement and others.
    • Executed, alongside Vestar Resources Group (in-house operations and consulting arm), the restructuring of two portfolio companies, optimizing both revenues and costs.
    • Select Transaction Experience: Closed $1.5 billion LBO and merger of Unilever’s North American laundry assets with Sun Products, Inc.; and $1.1 billion merger between RTS Inc. and Vantage Oncology.
    • Select Portfolio Experience: Led the roll-up acquisition strategy for a healthcare portfolio company, which included the sourcing, negotiation, diligence and acquisition of 17 separate, smaller entities.
    • Served on the boards of three Vestar portfolio companies.
    Focus areas: Financial Restructuring, Market Opportunity Analysis, Operational Finance, Valuation Analysis, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Due Diligence, Leveraged Buyout Modeling
  • M&A Analyst

    2006 - 2008
    Lehman Brothers, Inc.
    • Prepared investment memorandums and credit memos for large-cap leveraged buyout transaction.
    • Performed credit, valuation and merger analyses—merger models, LBO models, accretion/dilution models, sum-of-the-parts analysis, and others—as part of assessing and financing a range of buyout transactions.
    • Conducted business, industry, market and financial due diligence on acquisition targets on behalf of the bank, private equity and corporate clients.
    • Created a pitch book for corporate finance and M&A deals.
    • Managed client responsibilities with some of the world's largest private equity funds.
    • Drafted credit committee materials and recommendations ahead of IPOs, M&A and LBO transactions.
    • Executed numerous transactions including, $1.7 billion LBO of GNC Inc. and $1.5 billion sale of USIS, Inc.
    Focus areas: Market Research, Credit Analysis, Valuation Analysis, Financial Modeling, Leveraged Buyout Modeling, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)

Other Experience

  • Effective Startup Boards: What They Are and How to Build Them (Publication)
    Depending on your perspective, type, and motivation, the idea of building a board of directors either excites or intimidates you, complete with all associated imagery of aged oak rooms, brief-case wielding titans, and expensive cigars. This article, by Toptal Finance Expert Orinola Gbadebo-Smith, sets out to debunk a few myths. It sheds light on boards as a construct, their workings, dealings, and nuances, and explores some battle-tested strategies for recruiting, building, and managing effective boards.
  • Mission Statements: How Effectively Used Intangible Assets Create Corporate Value (Publication)
    Of the three functional categories that drive value in business—i.e., the "hard," the "soft," and the "intangible"—mission statements comfortably reside in the third, alongside such concepts as brand and culture. But despite the skepticism that is often associated with this category, and having uncovered some of the greatest gems in the corporate arena, this article argues that mission statements, when crafted and utilized effectively, are capable of driving billions of dollars in value.
  • Price Elasticity 2.0: From Theory to The Real World (Publication)
    Price elasticity theory was once the haunt of classical economists, with loose applications in the real world. Today, companies such as Uber, with its sheer volume of data and surge algorithms, are able to continuously triangulate price elasticities in real time to manipulate demand, moment-to-moment. This article introduces the fundamentals of price elasticity of demand theory before taking us back into the real world, where theory will meet both big data and consumer psychology to create new possibilities.
  • To the novice investor or otherwise uninitiated, the ubiquity of palm oil as a global commodity cannot be overstated. It is a super crop with EBITDA margins > 50%, is the world’s most consumed edible oil, and is one of the most versatile raw material/substrate bases known to industry. This article explores the sparsely understood world of palm, including its cultivation, harvest, and application processes; its financial and investment profile; and ultimately the trends governing its future.
  • The Wealth of Nations: Investment Strategies of Sovereign Wealth Funds (Publication)
    Since their emergence in the early 2000s, Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) have been met with both curiosity and trepidation, existing somewhere between return-maximizing asset manager and clandestine government agency. This article takes us into the $7.4 trillion world of the SWF, shedding light on objectives, ambitions, and mandates as well as allocation strategies.
  • Bridgewater's Ray Dalio: Quiet Pioneer of Big Data, Machine Learning, and Fintech (Publication)
    Ray Dalio is an investing legend whose success is most often attributed to investment acumen. This article argues that it was equally due to his foresight as an early but quiet adopter of computational systems, big data techniques, and artificial intelligence that resulted in his outstanding success. Bridgewater was one of the world’s earliest fintech companies.
  • Why More Entrepreneurs are Choosing To Build Search Funds over Startups (Publication)
    Search funds, though once an esoteric asset class and model for entrepreneurship, have seen a substantial rise in popularity in recent years. They can often represent a superior alternative to the venture-backed startup route especially for a select cohort of formally trained entrepreneurs, most of all those who deeply understand their motives, risk appetites, and contextual/financial encumbrances.


  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) in General Management
    2011 - 2013
    Harvard Business School - Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Economics
    2002 - 2006
    Dartmouth College - Hanover, New Hampshire

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