The Skandalaris Center is proud to announce our newest National Council member, Brian Wolfe, a corporate partner at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago. His practice focuses on private equity and venture capital transactions. Brian received his JD with honors from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, where he currently serves as an adjunct professor.
As he looks forward to being involved with the Skandalaris Center National Council, he noted that “Skandalaris has developed foundational ‘piers’ that help guide students who have ideas or startups commercialize those ideas or grow. I’m excited to play a role in continuing to explore best practices and implementation of those ‘piers’ as they come together to form a cohesive structure that allows an idea to move to startup formation to revenue generation and beyond.”
Brian previously co-founded SearchWorks, a technology investment platform which was later acquired by Alpine Investors. Before going to law school, Brian was a member of the finance team at Amazon, and has also served as Deputy Superintendent and COO of the St. Louis Public Schools.
The Skandalaris National Council plays an essential role in the development of ideas, analysis of programs, and overall impact to the entrepreneurial landscape at WashU and beyond. II Luscri, Managing Director and Assistant Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship shared, “Brian brings an exciting perspective and his own experiences to our National Council, which will be invaluable in our work as a primary resource for our community of innovators and entrepreneurs.”
Learn more about Brian’s entrepreneurial background and experiences in the following Q&A.
Please share a little bit about your professional journey – how did you get to where you are now?
Before my time at Kirkland & Ellis, I worked at Amazon and then went to law school at WashU. As a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, I lead engagements related to private equity and public company transactions. I spend considerable time advising and investing, and have taught “Private Equity Transactions” at WashU for the past 10 years.
What is your favorite thing about entrepreneurship and innovation?
The founders. While there isn’t a single “one size fits all” recipe for growing a company, there are best practices that founders can be armed with at each stage in their journey to help scale in a more predictable and less frenetic way.
What advice would you give to someone considering creating a startup or entering a career in entrepreneurship?
Begin with the end in mind – start by asking yourself what success looks like and incorporate that goal-setting into how you grow the company or commence your career.
What are some of your personal interests and hobbies outside of work?
My wife and I have four kids who are busy with their various sports and activities, so I spend a lot of time cheering them on. I also enjoy golf and paddleball.