Northwestern University VentureCat Competition - A spirited spring competition at the Kellogg School at Northwestern

The global hub for the Kellogg School at Northwestern, home of the VentureCat Competition

The global hub for the Kellogg School at Northwestern, home of the VentureCat Competition

A cross-disciplinary approach to endeavors constitutes a core value of Northwestern University, my alma mater.  The mixing of ideas and resulting tensions creates a perfect wavelength for new approaches.  On May 22nd, I will have the pleasure to be a semi-finals judge and meet an enthusiastic support team for the Entrepreneurship program at the Northwestern VentureCat competition.  

All of the various schools have contributed teams to the mix. The Garage at Northwestern serves as a central meeting place for cross-campus entrepreneurial activity.   The magnificent new Global Hub for the Kellogg School of Management served as the scene for the annual Northwestern VentureCat competition.  

This year’s competition will be the 12th such event for NU, with an ever-expanding list of alumni helping the cause.

As a music major, I plan to spend some time at the Bienen School of Music to catch a recital or at least to hear the old familiar strains of scales and orchestral excerpts floating out over Lake Michigan.

Northwestern's cross-disciplinary has proven itself to be transformative from my experience, having built a community music school (CYM) while applying a multi-dimensional analysis to investments I've made along the way.

Thanks to everyone at NU and looking forward to learning more about the startups coming out of the Venture Cat competition.




Wombat Security - it was only a matter of time!

Proofpoint enters into definitive agreement to acquire Wombat Security Technologies for $225 million in cash.

I have always been a big fan of Joe Ferrara, CEO of  Wombat Security Technologies since making our first investment in the company in 2012.  The upcoming acquisition of Wombat by publicly-traded Proofpoint (NASDAQ:PFPT) achieves a long-hoped for goal of a local start-up growing revenues organically to the point of attracting an earnings-driven acquisition. Wombat's products evolved out of CMU-developed technology spearheaded by Dr. Norman Sadeh.

Mr. Ferrara has epitomized the leadership qualities one loves to see in a CEO.  He attracted great employees with a dynamic company culture.  He partnered with supportive investors and kept constituents aligned with the clear goal of growing shareholder value. He communicated regularly and often with his shareholders, and each subsequent funding round exemplified transparency and respect to the rights of prior investors.

Those of us lucky enough to have invested in Wombat have much to be grateful for from the relationship, but first and foremost, we owe a great deal of gratitude to Wombat's intrepid leader.  Thank you, Joe!