We’ve set our sights high at RiverVest, assembling a top-notch team that has the technical training, operational expertise, and humility to work effectively with entrepreneurs in building great companies.

Thomas C.


Founded in 2000

Thomas C. Melzer (Tom) is the co-founder and managing director of RiverVest Venture Partners, Inc., a venture capital firm building life science companies to address significant unmet needs of patients while also delivering consistently strong results to investors since 2000.


With a disciplined approach to analysis, decision-making, and deal structure, Tom has played a pivotal role in shaping RiverVest’s investment strategy and establishing its reputation as a trusted partner for entrepreneurs and investors alike. The firm’s focus on pre-money valuation and return potential, effective risk management, high hit rate, and strong investor syndicates sets it apart as a leading venture capital firm. Although no longer directly engaged in investing, Tom remains actively involved in firm management, investor relations, and community engagement, ensuring the continued growth and success of the firm.  


Prior to his venture capital career, Tom held influential positions at both the Federal Reserve System (the Fed) and Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc. As president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, he oversaw the bank’s involvement in monetary policy formulation, bank supervision, and the provision of payment services. He also chaired the investment committee for the Fed’s pension and thrift plans. As a member of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee, Tom was one of a handful of individuals who had the distinction of directly influencing U.S. monetary policy.


During his tenure at Morgan Stanley, Tom held the position of managing director, where he was recognized as both a trailblazer and troubleshooter in the areas of corporate finance, real estate finance and investment, strategic planning, and securities sales and trading. Notably, he successfully turned around the money-losing U.S. Government Securities department, transforming it into a profitable division that significantly contributed to the firm’s success.


Outside of RiverVest, Tom holds board positions at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, the Gateway Arch Park Foundation, and Nine PBS. He also serves on the National Council for the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis and the Advisory Board of the Stanford Institute of Economic Policy Research.


Tom earned an M.B.A. and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.


© Copyright RiverVest® All Rights Reserved.