In Praise of a True Entrepreneur
In Praise of a True Entrepreneur
By Marc Sedam, Executive Director, Office for Research Partnerships and Commercialization, and New Hampshire Innovation Research Center at the University of New Hampshire
It is no exaggeration to say that my first meeting with Mark Galvin was a memorable one. We sat at the “Window seat” in Breaking New Grounds in Durham and talked about the challenges and opportunities in commercializing technologies out of UNH. Mark had recently started the New Hampshire Innovation Commercialization Center (NHICC) in collaboration with UNH and had a keen interest in seeing more output from the University. Mark was the one who brought the NH-ICC concept to the University. Over many breakfasts with Jan Nisbet, senior vice provost for research, Mark argued that UNH could do more. He encouraged us to move faster, take some risks, and support our entrepreneurial community. Mark also was the leader of the effort to promote the legislation and the funds that are now referred to as the Granite Fund. I left that meeting as impressed with Mark as I was with the University’s orthogonal thinking in working with a true entrepreneur and was convinced that New Hampshire was the place to be.
Since my arrival in Durham, I’ve worked with Mark in myriad ways: co-instructors, startup licenses negotiators, panelists, roles with the ICC (mine as ex-officio Board member), sparring partners, and as friends. Mark recently resigned from the NHICC to take a position with Regaalo—a company started with UNH students that Mark himself recruited to work on the problem of social gifting in the college environment. In light of that change, I’d like to take the time here to thank Mark for all that he’s done and probably will do again. Thanks for sharing both your time and experience. There are few people with whom I’ve spent more time over the past two years and I’ve enjoyed the lot of it. While we haven’t always agreed, the common ground was always far more prevalent than we thought. Thank you for being passionate about starting companies. I have not met many people whose sole objective is to build high-growth companies and fewer still who have done that successfully, not once but four times. Thank you for being an enemy to orthodoxy and the status quo. I have learned a great deal from your willingness to challenge people and institutions to do better and to do more. And in response I have worked hard to keep my part of UNH moving at the speed of business. Thanks for the stories. The only thing I like better than telling a good story is hearing someone tell a better one. And thanks for your vision. Selling the concept of the ICC to UNH was the first step in a continuum that has brought the University to new records for disclosures received, licensing revenue, startup formation, patents filed, and licenses executed.
Ideally, both organizations and people morph and grow over time. As the NHICC moves to its next stage it will invariably change a little, grow a little, and always look to meet the needs of its resident companies and the broader needs of the state of New Hampshire and its flagship research university. I’ll offer one final note of thanks and inspiration. Your return to the startup world reminds me to keep pushing, keep moving, and keep improving because (we hope!) innovations never stop and new beginnings are only a good idea away.