Rob Adams is an active investor, author, consultant and on the faculty of the Management Department at the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business, where he teaches in the MBA program and is the Director of Texas Venture Labs. He also teaches Market Validation and Strategic Management in the Texas Executive Education open enrollment courses.
Dr. Adams is an active angel investor and board member for several start-ups and is affiliated with numerous venture funds, several of which he started. Prior to the venture business, he was a software operating executive for two decades. Throughout his venture and operating careers he has been a founder, founding investor or involved with the public offering, merger or acquisition of more than 40 companies, representing the launching of more than 100 products and transactions totaling more than one billion dollars of capital.
Prior to his appointment at the University of Texas, Adams founded Tejas Venture Partners, the second venture fund he has started. Previously he was the founder of AV Labs, a successful early stage venture fund allied with Austin Ventures, starting it after being a partner with TL Ventures. Before entering the venture business, he was a technology executive. He started his career with Lotus (NYSE: IBM), joining the company shortly after its public offering. Adams was instrumental in the development and launch of both 1-2-3 for Macintosh and Lotus Notes. He went on to be founder and CEO of Business Matters, a venture-backed developer of financial modeling products and was an executive with Pervasive Software (NASDAQ: PVSW), a company he helped take public.
Adams holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University where he is a Distinguished Alumnus, a Masters of Business Administration from Babson College’s Olin School of Management and a Ph.D. in Management from Capella University. He has taught at the MBA programs of The Acton School of Business, Babson College, The University of Texas at Austin and St. Edwards University.
He is a nationally recognized speaker on entrepreneurship, company and product strategy, marketing and technology issues. He recently keynoted the Inc. 500 business conference and consults for numerous Fortune 500 companies. He provides expert testimony on technology-related business issues and has consulted on economic development and early stage company development for numerous governments including Chile, Costa Rica, India, Malaysia, New Zealand and Thailand. He blogs for Inc.com and has been covered in Business Week, Forbes, Fortune, Money, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, on Bloomberg Radio, Public Television, and public radio’s nationally syndicated “Marketplace” program.
He is the author of "A Good Hard Kick in the Ass: Basic Training for Entrepreneurs" (Random House/Crown, 2002), and "If You Build It Will They Come? Three Steps to Test and Validate Any Market Opportunity" (Wiley, April 2010).
Adams is a Fellow at the IC2 Institute, a University of Texas based foundation that runs the Austin Technology Incubator, on the board of Purdue Research Park and a volunteer with Austin’s Habitat for Humanity. He is an avid downhill skier and marathoner. He was a collegiate rower and graduated from the Marine Corps’ Officer Candidate School.
Posts about Rob Adams
Seasoned entrepreneurs know a good idea and enthusiasm aren’t enough. Yet even with a crippled economy, UT has renewed its entrepreneurial spirit, creating an extensive support system that gives aspiring entrepreneurs who do want to take the risk their best chance at success. Courses at McCombs, the Cockrell School of Engineering, the School of Law and other academic departments cover different aspects of entrepreneurship and how to take technologies to market. Some programs help new ventures take their first steps, and others push startups further toward creating viable businesses. To see this in action writer Tom Gerrow talked to the founders of three companies — each in different stages of development, but all with university roots — to find out how they used the available resources to help launch their new ventures.
It turns out we're not so good at doing our own research. According to experts, even when we think we have separated our personal viewpoints from the data gathering, we're very likely to confirm our original bias. We see what we want to see, and hear what we want to hear. This was highlighted recently in a study by four university researchers looking at investors who gathered stock market information from popular sites such as Yahoo! Finance. They found that the investors' information gathering was actually counterproductive, causing them to make worse decisions than without the online research. Investors who were enthusiastic in their particular investment philosophy became even more confident, aggressively trading while making less. This is called "confirmation bias" — a tendency to seek information that agrees with our previous view of the world while ignoring contrary data points.