In 1998, the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship (then, the H.N. & Frances C. Berger Entrepreneurship Program at the Karl Eller Center, College of Business of Public Administration) established the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. Established to formally recognize the significant achievements and contributions of alumni and associates of the Karl Eller Center and Berger Entrepreneurship Program, past inductees have included CEO's, founders, presidents and educators encompassing a wide variety of private enterprise, public service and learning initiatives. Seven years later, the Hall of Fame is being reintroduced, kicking off with a reception on April 24th, 2019.
In preparation for the Awards Reception, we will be highlighting our 2019 inductees. The first award is the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The Entrepreneur of the Year Award takes the place of the Outstanding Entrepreneur Award established in 1998, and acknowledges an alumnus or alumna who embodies an entrepreneurial spirit. The recipient has unique entrepreneurial achievements and demonstrates the ability to evaluate and execute transformative innovation.
Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Ted Kraus
Ted Kraus is on the leadership and strategy team at 55 Foundry, focusing on decentralized technology that will define next-generation internet and economies. Before joining 55, he was a Partner at Techcode where he ran its AI Accelerator, a Partner at Tech-Rx Ventures where he focused on venture turnarounds in the AI, robotics, digital healthcare, and financial technology sectors. He was also a Principal at 8 Rivers Capital where he helped commercialize NET Power. In 2011, he founded Buystand (merged), a buyer-driven dynamic pricing platform for consumer goods. Early in his career, he was an analyst at Tech Coast Angels, the largest angel investment network in the US. He lives in Silicon Valley with his beautiful wife (also a former Arizona Wildcat) and daughter and splits his time between Palo Alto and Manhattan Beach, CA.
Q. How did your involvement with the McGuire Center impact your life/career?
A. Getting into the program is a huge accomplishment for any student. When I was accepted, I felt honored and empowered to be part of the incredibly talented group of people at the McGuire Center. I knew that I wanted to work in entrepreneurial finance, but I did not have clarity or a road map, so I leveraged the curriculum and network at the McGuire Center to help me define that and set me on my career path. I don't think I would have found direction and drive as quickly as I did without going through the program.
Q. What is your favorite memory of your time at the McGuire Center?
A. My favorite memory from my time at the McGuire Center is definitely the final pitch presentation. My team and I spent months crafting a narrative, rehearsing, editing the deck, tweaking the business model and building a product. Ironically, I don't remember much about the actual pitch. I'm sure I was nervous, but it went as planned and we got high scores from the judges. We went our separate ways after graduation, but remained in contact throughout the years and are still close to this day. The program gave me my first real "co-founder" experience and I will never forget that.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
A. Start with a big problem, then build a solution to that problem. Never build a product, then go find a problem to solve.