University of Minnesota Research is Generating Disruptive Tech Sector Inventions

by Russ Straate and Chris Ghere | at MinneBar 11 | 9:55 – 10:45 in Louis Pasteur | View Schedule

Learn how research at the University of Minnesota is creating inventions for the Tech Sector that are leading the creation of new companies and adding significant new business opportunities to existing companies. See how entrepreneurs and companies can work with the University to commercialize advanced, disruptive inventions.


Russ Straate

Russ heads up the OTC Venture Center team which is responsible for leading the formation and launch of new companies based on a broad range of technologies coming out of the research program at the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining University of Minnesota, Russ was Vice President of Business Development for a medical device start up. During his career Russ has co-founded two companies in the med tech and high tech sector and has worked as an intrepreneur for Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 companies. He has held senior-level management positions at IMI, plc, a UK based fluidics company, Honeywell International Automation and Control and Schneider Electric (Square D Company). During time at these companies his focus was on driving new business growth. At Honeywell, Russ led high growth operational units and most recently was Director, Business Development, Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions where he reported to the General Manager of Honeywell’s $1.2B Environmental Controls Business. Russ has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and post-graduate studies in marketing and finance. In addition to co-founding two start-up companies and leading multiple product development efforts at established companies, Russ’s credentials include five inventor patents and certification as a Six Sigma Green Belt.

Chris Ghere

Chris manages the software technologies that are created by research programs at the University of Minnesota. Chris has over a decade of industry experience in software development, specifically in the areas of social media, streaming video, mobile applications and back office small business solutions. He has developed for both open source and proprietary systems. Chris began his career as a web programmer and systems designer writing/designing business process management software in the telecom industry.

For the past ten years, Chris has focused on entrepreneurship and bringing early stage software technologies to market. Additionally, Chris is interested in early stage company financing and investing; he has worked directly with investor groups and consulted for start-ups on their business strategies, plans and raising early stage investment capital. Prior to joining the OTC, Chris earned an MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. Chris also has a B.A. in Computer Science from Carleton College.