News : J.P. Morgan Execs Depart Wall St. To Go Offroading on Both Coasts

Online placement agent Offroad Capital has hired the co-heads of J.P. Morgan &Co.’s North American technology and telecommunications investment banking group as co-chief executive officers of Offroad Securities, the company’s wholly owned broker-dealer subsidiary.

The two executives, John Forlines and David Weir, will also serve as co-presidents of Offroad Capital and join the company’s board of directors. Forlines, who had been with Morgan since 1986, will establish a New York office, while Weir, who had been with Morgan since 1982 and headed the firm’s management team for the Western U.S. region, will work from Offroad’s San Francisco headquarters.

The two will now focus on extending Offroad’s partnerships with broker-dealers and venture capital firms. Forlines said that short-term plans for the New York office include hiring five to seven business developers and a similar number of salespeople.

“[Offroad] has more of a focus on venture capitalists and private equity aggregators,” Weir said. “So we want young, aggressive investment bankers that have relationships with venture capitalists and banks.”

While based in New York, Forlines noted that he would spend half of his time in the San Francisco office, assisting Weir in the development of Offroad Securities as a whole. In particular, he will help establish additional distribution partnerships to complement existing arrangements with Charles Schwab and BancBoston Robertson Stephens.

Weir said the firm will also look to expand its existing relationship with Mayfield Fund to become a service that assists lead venture firms in filling out deals.

“The industry has had lead investors that have to fill out the rest of the book, and follow-on investors buy in at the same price even though the lead is doing all the work,” Weir said. “This is a nice application … for VCs to lead a round and fill the deal at a market-driven price.”

Although the firm will initially maintain a private equity deal focus, Weir said that the company has the opportunity to add additional products, including private debt, bank loans, real estate and private equity funds.