Irrational Capital is an investment research firm quantifying the impact of corporate culture and employee motivation on financial performance.  We research and design investment strategies offering exposure to the Human Capital Factor, a direct link between company culture and equity returns.

Through cutting edge behavioral economic research on large (and often proprietary) data sets, Irrational Capital captures insights about a critical asset not yet efficiently reflected on a company’s balance sheet. Led by renowned behavioral economist Dan Ariely and his co-founder David van Adelsberg, we seek to transform the often-anecdotal views about the importance of corporate culture into investable and systematic strategies based on what we’ve coined the Human Capital Factor.

We enable financial institutions to create investable access to the Human Capital Factor via bespoke investment strategies and financial products.   Our mission (together with our partners) is to target the “S/Social” component of ESG via access to alpha-capturing strategies that cannot be replicated elsewhere.


Of all the investments companies make, creating a strong culture is one of the best ways to create value. This is why employee behavior and motivation is such an important predictor of stock market performance.

–Dan Ariely

Behavioral Economist

Co-Founder, Irrational Capital

Human Capital

[hu·man cap·i·tal] / noun

an organization’s capacity to create economic value derived from its unique combination of its habits, knowledge, talent, motivation, experience and attributes.  It is a critical (yet intangible) asset not captured by the company’s balance sheet.



Dan Ariely

Co-Founder & Partner

Dan is a Founding Partner of Irrational Capital and a leading behavioral economist, author, entrepreneur and a James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He is also a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight.


Dan’s groundbreaking work in behavioral economics has led to the publication of several New York Times bestselling publications including Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions.  He also contributes a regular column to The Wall Street Journal, “Ask Ariely,” and has delivered numerous TED Talks with over 10 million downloads. 

David_large (3).png

David van Adelsberg

Co-Founder & Partner

David is a Founding Partner of Irrational Capital, focusing on the development of investment strategies and business growth.  


David was the Founder of the impact investment firm which incubated Irrational Capital and previously co-founded a leading alternative asset sponsorship firm. Earlier in his career, David was MD and CEO of a large financial institution’s private equity and venture group and CEO of the European division of a large training and strategy firm.  David began his career in technology, where he held business development roles and helped establish several new, large-scale businesses.


Ryan Wertman
Chief Operating Officer &
General Counsel

Ryan serves as Chief Operating Officer, lending his insights to the business operations, legal and compliance aspects of the business.  Prior to joining Irrational Capital, Ryan co-founded GrowthCounsel LLC (2010), a boutique law firm providing transactional support and general counsel services to growth companies and started his career as an M&A attorney at an AMLAW 100 firm.

Scott Colson, CAIA

Head of Strategy & Risk

Scott is Head of Strategy and Risk, covering a range of research and portfolio management activities. He previously served as Vice President at a multibillion-dollar asset management firm, designing equity strategies and leading product and data teams. Scott was also the director of research to a corporate finance consulting firm and began his finance career in venture capital.


Shannon Frese

Chief of Staff

As Chief of Staff, Shannon directs all administrative and day-to-day operational activities of Irrational Capital. She has over ten years of experience in financial services, including at JP Morgan’s Private Bank.  Shannon also served as the Secretary of the Board of Directors for a large national CDFI, as well as the Executive Assistant to the CEO and executive staff.


Matt Calder

PhD Data Science Advisor

Matt has been a researcher and analyst in the financial industry for over twenty years and has served as a Principal Data Scientist for a large institutional asset manager. Matt was a partner in a market defining fin-tech company that is becoming the data and analytics standard in the hedge fund industry. He has managed assets while a VP of Research at a ML-driven quant hedge fund and holds a PhD in Statistics from Colorado State University.

Pete Melgren

Director Data Science

Prior to joining Irrational Capital, Pete founded Melgren Analytics, a boutique Data Science consulting firm that focuses on making Data Science projects accessible to startups and small businesses. Pete has also worked as an analyst for the Cincinnati Reds where he held the unofficial title “Jonah Hill from Moneyball (but in Ohio).” He began his career as an Economist for Moody’s Analytics.  Pete holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in Economics and Applied Mathematics. 





Thanks for submitting!

Back to Top