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CAEG Meeting: "Stick to Things You Know Nothing About–My Random Walk Entrepreneurial Path" with Rob Chess (BS '78)
Regular price $ 0.00

About the Event

How did a Caltech computer science graduate from the punch card era end up starting and running companies in the biotech, renewable chemicals, and oil and gas fields?  I really don’t know either. In this talk, I’ll discuss how and why I kept moving from industry to industry, the mistakes I made (this could fill up multiple talks) and lessons learned along the way. 


About the Speaker 

Rob Chess (BS '78) is a serial entrepreneur in the life sciences field and a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.  He currently is Chairman of Nektar Therapeutics, (NASDAQ:NKTR), a health care biotechnology company, and Biota Technologies, a start-up he co-founded which is developing industrial applications of the analysis of microbial communities.  He also serves on the Board of Directors of Pelvalon, a medical device company, and Twist Biosciences, which is pioneering a new high throughput system for producing synthetic genes.  Rob joined Nektar as its first non-founder employee in 1991 and led the company as CEO through 1999 and as Chairman since then.   Rob co-founded and was President of Penederm, a dermatology company that went public and was acquired by Mylan Laboratories, and was the start-up CEO and later Chairman of OPX Biotechnologies, a renewable chemicals company, which was sold to Cargill.  He started his career in the technology field and held management positions at Intel and Metaphor Computer Systems (later acquired by IBM).  Rob served on the White House Staff in the first Bush Administration as a White House Fellow and Associate Director of the White House Office of Economic and Domestic Policy. 

In additional to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Rob is on the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he teaches courses in the MBA program on new venture formation and on the health care industry.  He is a trustee of Caltech, Chairman of the Trustee Technology Transfer Committee, and was visiting professor at Caltech teaching entrepreneurship.  Rob was a long-time Board member of the Biotechnology Industry Organization where he was chairman of the Emerging Companies Section and co-chairman of the Intellectual Property Committee.  He is the former Chairman and current Board member of Bio Ventures for Global Health, and was a trustee of the Committee for Economic Development where he was co-chairman of their Health Care task force.  Rob received a BS in engineering with honors from Caltech and an MBA from Harvard.


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