- Refinery Ventures | Early Stage
- Twitter – @T_Schwarzinger | Just joined!
- Interim Entrepreneur Director | Case Western University
- Climbed a Mt Elbrus in Russia
I have a lot in common with Todd. Starting out in consulting, moving through those ranks and learning a ton through it all. It gives one a greater perspective in life when you can work with some of the largest and most complex companies, serving their needs. It also gives you insights as to how to do things better, and usually, come up with your own great ideas.
Todd shifted to finance from consulting and eventually into investment banking (and it’s still cool to be an investment banker). Todd spent 5 years overseas learning the financial ropes in Europe and eventually found his way back to the states where his real passion for early-stage companies could finally take root.
“I started to realize that I had a passion for early-stage startups and helping the ecosystem around entrepreneurship and fostering innovation… ideas are critical.”Todd Schwarzinger – VC Hunting S1E5
When it comes to helping startups and founders, it’s where Todd really shines. He also loves to help the ecosystem around startups. After 5 years in San Fransisco, he finally moved back to Cleveland, Ohio where he could really dig in and help both new students and startups, and begin to grow the mid-west startup world.
“The raw materials and the depth of ideas out here in the mid-west are things that really encourage me and I get to see the ideas every day, through the faculty and folks in the ecosystem or the broader healthcare industry here. Connecting them to capital sources and leadership so that they can be successful is what I do.”Todd Schwarzinger – VC Hunting S1E5
As an executive entrepreneurship leader at Case Western University he loves his work supporting and growing the culture, providing programming, supporting curriculum, and creating opportunities for new founders from undergraduate, to graduate, and even faculty as well.
Coming from a deep educational background myself, sometimes I can be a little on the negative-side when it comes to universities and entrepreneurship. I just never see university culture as one that super-supports startups!
In term of my question as to whether there is a big appetite for entrepreneurship at Case Western, apparently I’m very wrong:
“I think if you look at any academic institution, entrepreneurship can be a unifying source and that it’s interdisciplinary. If you think about the largest generators of unique ideas, they’re really coming out of universities. How do you take advantage of that? It’s really entrepreneurship.”Todd Schwarzinger – S1E5
I particularly loved Todd’s answer to my ideas around how the general public doesn’t usually see universities being the engines of great ideas today… usually it’s the stories of people who dropped-out of university to pursue their dreams! Todd thinks differently. You can still be valuable and helpful learning entrepreneurship at college, but don’t immediately have to make the jump, or drop out:
“You can drive innovation in a large company and use your skills as an entrepreneur on a day-to-day basis. In many cases, successful startups are founded by folks who are getting training today and it’s that long experiential process for an entrepreneur to build their experience before they take off on their own.”Todd Schwarzinger – S1E5
I’m a person who has strong opinions, weakly held. Meaning, I’m willing to be convinced and educated on something new. Todd really challenged my worldviews around colleges being incubators for the next generation of great ideas:
“Maybe you’re not going out and starting your own company immediately from university, but you can be driving innovation in any endeavor they are working on and leveraging the same skills, identifying a market, building your own company, addressing the needs of the customer. A lot of the skills you’ll learn can be helpful in almost any part of your career.”Todd Schwarzinger – S1E5
Finally, I love that Todd has come back to his hometown and really enjoying helping grow the startup culture there. I got a very homey feeling when Todd was discussing coming back to his hometown and really digging in. There is something almost fairytale-ish to it.
Todd really believes there are some real opportunities out mid-west to take the traditional industries and tested markets to really play a role in whats next.
I look forward to seeing and hearing what types of new innovative ideas are coming out of Cleveland, Ohio. I should probably spend more time out there to understand that landscape of venture… maybe I’ll put it on my travel list!
I wish Todd all the best in his endeavors and I can’t wait to see what comes out of Case Western and the midwest… even if I don’t understand the books he reads!
All the best,
TODD SCHWARZINGER MEDIA KIT!
Pre-formatted with love!
I hope ya like ta hunt!