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New Entrepreneur-in-Residence Brings Pioneering Startup Insight to Campus

Laura Kilcrease, MBA ‘92, founder and managing director of Triton Ventures and a 25-year veteran of the Austin technology scene, is the 2012-13 entrepreneur-in-residence at the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship at McCombs. Kilcrease’s nine-month appointment will complement her continuing work at Triton Ventures, identifying and managing capital investments in the renowned Austin startup community.

As entrepreneur-in-residence, Kilcrease will mentor students and curate two expert-speaker series with guests from the startup and venture communities.

“Laura brings a wealth of know-how and knowledge from the startup process through the incubation process and venture capital funding,” said John S. Butler, director of the Kelleher Center. “She has a deep understanding of how to grow businesses around businesses, as well as how to deconstruct and reconstruct business models to achieve significant results.” 

Kilcrease’s two expert-speaker series are co-sponsored by the Kelleher Center and the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. “Entrepreneurship Live” features speakers who are serial entrepreneurs, on a second or subsequent startup. They'll talk and answer questions about structuring a startup, seeking funding, building a team, getting your first product out the door, and creating an exit strategy. The next speaker in that series is Brett Hurt, founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice, who will speak Oct. 23.

The second series, “Money Talks,” features experienced investors, such as venture capital executives or angel investors. They will talk and answer questions about how they vet startups for potential funding, how they work with startups in their portfolios, and what the future may hold for startup funding and IPOs. The next speaker in that series is Clint Bybee, co-founder and managing director of Austin-based ARCH Venture Partners, who will speak Oct. 30.

Kilcrease was one of the key participants in evolving the economic landscape of Central Texas into the high-tech, startup-friendly environment it is today. She became executive director of the University of Texas IC2 Institute’s Center for Commercialization and Enterprise in 1992. While there, she also co-developed and launched the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), one of the country’s first technology incubators, and served as ATI’s founding executive director.

Kilcrease also launched The Capital Network, one of the largest “business angel” investor networks in the United States with more than $150 million in completed transactions. For her many contributions to the evolution of Austin as a startup center, Kilcrease was chosen one of “20 Austinites You Simply Must Know” by the Austin Business Journal in August 2012.

“Austin’s startup industry and investment community have much to teach today’s business students,” said Kilcrease. “I’m looking forward to bringing some of these accomplished business leaders and local and national investors to McCombs through events tailored to McCombs students.”

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