Meet Jim Coonan, Manager of EDCO's Venture Catalyst Program
A successful entrepreneur, CEO, investor and thought leader on entrepreneurship, Coonan joined Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) in early 2011. He has deep roots in Oregon's angel and venture community, brings valuable knowledge of the Oregon university system, and has experience on both sides of the desk as an investor and business manager.
Coonan is the just past board chair of the Oregon Entrepreneur’s Network (OEN), the largest entrepreneurship assistance organization in the state. He also serves on the advisory committee for Mount Hood Equity Partners, is a partner in equity investor group Advantage Management Partners and is past chair of the Oregon Angel Network.
Coonan’s small business experience includes the current chairman and shareholder of Peak Audio Group, former chairman and largest shareholder of Kentox, LLC, and Hotel Software Systems, Ltd. He was the CEO and later chairman of OECO Corporation, a Portland-based high tech company that sold its business units for a combined $55 million.
In May 2012, Jim was appointed to the newly created seven-member Oregon Growth Board under the leadership of State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, the result of the tax-neutral Oregon Investment Act passed in the 2012 legislative session. The Oregon Growth Board is empowered to establish a unified strategic framework for all of the state’s economic development resources, which are currently fragmented among different state agencies. The Board also seeks to build new opportunities for the private sector to multiply state investments.Jim served a five year stint as Director of Business Alliances for the Oregon University System, working behind the scenes to better link Oregon universities’ technology transfer efforts with national research laboratories, private companies and the creation of signature research center ONAMI. Earlier in his career, Coonan acquired large corporate experience during a decade of work at The Pillsbury Company and General Mills, Inc. where he held executive marketing positions. Jim is a Stanford University undergraduate and holds his MBA from Northwestern University.
EDCO's Venture Catalyst Program
EDCO’s Venture Catalyst program was proposed nearly five years ago by local business leaders Dan Hobin and Nori Juba and championed by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden. With Wyden’s help, a $232,750 federal appropriations grant was secured in late 2009 for a three-year pilot program to boost creation of new scalable traded-sector businesses in Central Oregon. Scott Larson, founder of investment firm Vashon Partners, served in the Catalyst role for the first year of the program.
The Venture Catalyst helps promising, scalable young companies through active coaching and guidance. A ‘Stable of Experts’ database extends that activity by pairing early stage companies with local volunteer technical, legal, financial and managerial talent.
A key 2011 milestone planned is to create a new angel investment fund for Central Oregon. One model that has been seriously considered over the past year is the Oregon Angel Fund (OAF), of which Coonan was a principal architect. OAF has provided Oregon early stage companies with over $10 million in equity capital since its inception in 2007, and provides a best-in-class model for both rigorous due diligence and comprehensive training to provide first time or experienced investors.