Sponsored by Lane Powell

Dick Sass launches innovation fund

| Print |  Email
Articles - July 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010

 

0710_ATS04
PHOTO COURTESY DICK SASS

Dick Sass has 45 years’ experience starting companies, creating jobs and running businesses. One thing he’s  never tried is launching a venture capital fund — until now.

Sass, 67, recently partnered with medical devices expert Brian Brandell and longtime Portland investors Wayne Embree and Brock Metcalf to launch the Biomed Innovation Fund. His goal is to raise $20 million to help young companies that have developed “extraordinary technologies.”

Turning extraordinary technologies into jobs has been a consistent theme throughout Sass’ career. After moving to Oregon from Chicago in 1975 he launched Precision Interconnect in Wilsonville. Precision took cable technology developed by previous generations of engineers (including Sass’ father and grandfather) and vastly modernized it for use in ultrasound machines. Sass built Precision from a few dozen employees in the 1980s to 500 in 1991, when he sold the company.

Following that sale Sass founded two companies focused on wiring cable into a whole new arena: the human body. iSense, launched in 1995, develops continuous glucose monitors for people with diabetes. MicroHelix, launched in 1997 and sold to St. Jude in 2003, creates cable systems for medical devices that are implanted inside the body, such as pacemakers.

Between taking MicroHelix public and developing a $17 million partnership between iSense and an unnamed pharmaceutical giant, Sass has learned some lessons. He also knows about roadblocks. His plan with iSense was to get a product to market within five years; it’s been 15 years and counting.

Now he hopes to put both good and bad experiences to work, mentoring entrepreneurs supported by his new fund.

“A lot of venture funds are run by young guys with MBAs who are book smart but have no operational experience,” he says. “I’ve got a PhD in running companies and satisfying customer needs.”

Sass has already begun reaching out to promising young companies hungry for capital, as well as established pharmaceutical and medical device giants in need of new products to feed their pipelines. He plans for the $20 million fund to be the “first of several.”

BEN JACKLET
 

More Articles

The Backstory: Portland Youth Builders

The Latest
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
blog002 1BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

As part of our green workplaces story, Oregon Business checked out a community service project undertaken by Portland Youth Builders, a nonprofit alternative high school. In partnership with Whole Foods, PYB built garden boxes for a Home Forward  housing site. Home Forward is a government agency that provides housing for low income residents and people with disabilities.


Read more...

Modern design defines new Portland indoor market

The Latest
Thursday, June 25, 2015
thumbSnøhetta JBPM exterior www mir noBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Change at the pump?

The Latest
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
001thumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that ban self serve gas stations. But these two holdouts may be ready to give up the game. New Jersey is considering legislation that would lift the state's ban on pumping your own gas. Oregon is considering smaller scale changes.


Read more...

Downtime with John Helmick

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play: CEO of Gorilla Capital.


Read more...

5 stats about Oregon fireworks

The Latest
Thursday, June 18, 2015
fireworksthumb001BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Fireworks are a booming industry, even if the pyrotechnics have turned July 4th into a day fire marshals, and many residents, love to hate.


Read more...

6 key things to know about summer baseball in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, June 05, 2015
basedthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.


Read more...

Undersea Power

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Mike Morrow and Mike Delos-Reyes first came up with the idea of an ocean power device 23 years ago, when they were students at Oregon State University. They realized a long-held vision last summer, when their startup, M3 Wave, successfully launched the first ocean power device that works underwater.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS