Nearly fifty alumni and friends of the University attended a WashU panel discussion on The Landscape of Innovation and Entrepreneurship hosted by Suren Dutia (BS ’63, MS ’67) and the WashU San Diego Alumni Network.
The panel featured alumni from across disciplines and graduation years who shared their experience and knowledge with the audience, bookended by networking and connecting among the attendees.
- Lynn Gorguze (MBA ’86) – Chair and CEO of Cameron Holdings, a company she co-founded in 1993. Cameron acquires and operates privately held lower middle market manufacturing companies and has made over 45 acquisitions with an aggregate transaction value in excess of $1 billion.
- Scott Neuberger (BSBA ’03) – co-founder of Karmel Capital, a firm that invests in leading enterprise software companies, including Anaplan, Fastly, and Medallia, among others.
- Christopher Shumate (AB ’84) – co-founder of Etaluma which takes advantage of advances in CMOS sensors, LEDs, and filter technology to fluorescence imaging in bioresearch applications.
While there were many great insights shared, here are the highlights:
- Finding the right capital and investors is key – but it is more important who is writing the check than the zeroes on the check.
- One academic discipline isn’t advantaged over another when it comes to startups – ideas and founders can (and should) come from everywhere.
- Understand what type of mentors and advisors you need at various stages and don’t be afraid to ask for help – especially of your WashU network.
- If you are asking questions and you don’t understand the answers you are getting, keep asking questions!