Management Bios

Darren Blanton, Founder

Mr. Blanton is the founder and managing director of Colt Ventures.  Mr. Blanton has over twenty two years of Investment experience and has invested in over 100 private companies across every stage of corporate finance.  Prior to forming Colt Ventures, Mr. Blanton worked with the family office of Perry E. (Bill) Esping, the founder of First Data Corporation.  Prior to working with the Esping family office, Mr. Blanton ran Able Investments, a distressed real estate fund which acquired commercial real estate from the RTC.  Prior to his work with Able, Darren started his career as a commercial real estate broker in Dallas, Texas.  Mr. Blanton currently serves on the Board of Colt Oil and Gas, The SMU Cox School of Business Venture Fund, Esping Family Foundation, and the SM Wright Foundation.


J.D. McCulloch, CFA, Venture Partner

Mr. McCulloch is a Venture Partner at Colt Ventures, where he helps manage certain active life science investments. Previously he was a Managing Director at Colt Ventures, where for 8 years he managed the investment and financial aspects of the family office interests. During his tenure he participated in and managed numerous direct venture investments. Notable realized exits in the life sciences sector included Ignyta, La Jolla Pharmaceutical and Bonti. Mr. McCulloch also managed Colt Ventures’ direct oil & gas investments as a Board Member of Colt Oil & Gas LLC, including the sale of several working interest projects in the Permian basin. Mr. McCulloch was previously a consultant for TRT Holdings’ controlling interest in a value retail business headquartered in Mexico City and a senior analyst at a multi-strategy hedge fund which invested across the capital structure. Prior to TRT, he served in a sell-side advisory role participating in approximately $10 billion of M&A and capital markets transactions while at JP Morgan’s Investment Banking groups in New York and Dallas. Earlier in his career he performed business valuation advisory work for Big 4 accounting firms. Mr. McCulloch holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He also holds an MBA with a concentration in finance from the University of Texas at Austin and was a portfolio manager on The MBA Investment Fund during his graduate studies. Mr. McCulloch was awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2005.


Chad Hennings, Vice President - Business Development

Chad attended the United States Air Force Academy.  There he was honored academically as well as on the gridiron.  Named most valuable athlete at the academy, he also earned; defensive player of the year honors from the Western Athletic Conference, a spot on the WAC's All-Decade Team, the 1987 Outland Trophy, MVP of the 1988 Freedom Bowl, 2 time Academic All-American, Academic All-American Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame, and several other accolades.  These achievements earned him a spot on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster.  However, he postponed his entry into the NFL to fulfill his commitment to the U.S. Air Force. Chad entered the Euro-NATO training program for top pilots and went on to fly 45 missions, in operation “Provide Comfort” behind the controls of an A-10 Thunderbolt.  This operation provided support to the Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq.  He received two aerial achievement medals, a humanitarian award and an outstanding unit award for his actions.   Hennings then joined the Dallas Cowboys, earning a starting position as a defensive lineman. He spent his entire 9-year professional football career with the Cowboys, retiring in 2001 with three Super Bowl rings.   Aside from his duties with Colt Ventures, Chad is also the President of Hennings Management Corporation – a management and consulting business -- and founder of Wingmen Ministries.   He continues to serve the community as an advisory board member of Christian Community Action, a trustee of the Falcon Foundation, board member for the Dallas Gridiron Club, advisory board for the Dallas Football Classic, and board member for Friends of Falcon Football.  He is active in several veterans’ initiatives and speaks to both businesses and non profits on the topic of commitment.   He is the author of the book, “It Takes Commitment” and the recently released “Rules of Engagement.”   Chad is married to Tammy and they have two children, Chase and Brenna.


Christina Kirby- Equine Manager

Christina is the Equine Manager for High Brow Cat and the Colt Ventures’ ranching division.  Christina is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science with a concentration in Production & Management.  Prior to joining Colt Ventures she served as the office manager for Weatherford Equine Breeding Center and as a veterinary technician at the North Carolina State Veterinary Teaching Hospital.