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|Articles - July 2010|
|Friday, June 25, 2010|
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.”
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
A self-proclaimed “chile head,” John Ford “grows, eats and does everything spicy.”
Thursday, March 27, 2014
BY MARY SPILDE | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Community college career, technical and workforce programs present an opportunity to bring business and education together as never before.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER
It may be obvious, but most farmers don’t make a lot of money. According to preliminary data from the 2012 Agriculture Census, 52% of America’s 2.1 million principal farm-operators don’t call farming their primary occupation. Farm cooperatives may offer a solution.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Brad Smith, founder of Hot Pepper Studios, and Travis Boersma, president of Dutch Bros. Coffee, share their recent reads.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Our 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.
Friday, February 28, 2014
The 21st annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon list was announced Thursday night at an awards dinner at the Oregon Convention Center.
Monday, March 03, 2014
Check out interviews with employees from some of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon winners and find out what makes their company a great place to work.
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