Tim Wollaeger recently spoke to Rady School students, faculty and staff at the Rady Executive Breakfast Series about his three keys to success: adaptability to change, a focus on getting things done and team building and networking.
Wollaeger, Managing Director Emeritus at Sanderling Ventures, has over 40 years of experience in the medical products and biotechnology fields in both corporate management and venture capital.
In his advice to current students and aspiring entrepreneurs, Wollaeger highlighted the importance of an adaptability to change.
“You will be working on things that don’t currently exist,” said Wollaeger.
In addition, Wollaeger said that a focus on getting things done will give individuals an advantage in the job market and make them valuable team members. He also emphasized the importance of building and maintaining a strong team and network, citing the individuals who have moved with him throughout his career.
He began his career in the Navy, before receiving an MBA from Stanford Business School. Upon graduating, Wollaeger joined Baxter-Travenol and eventually became the General Manager of a foreign subsidiary in Mexico.
From his experience restructuring the plant in Mexico, Wollaeger learned the importance of team building. He credits the team’s strong morale and cohesiveness for their ability to overcome the most challenging obstacles and go from losing money to becoming the most profitable subsidiary in just a few years.
In 1983 Wollaeger joined Hybridtech, San Diego’s first biotechnology company, as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Hybridtech partnered with several other companies and individuals to cultivate the biotechnology community.
Wollaeger later became a founding General Partner of Biovest, a San Diego based Venture Capital Firm. One of the four companies he helped found at Biovest was Pyxis, a computer controlled cabinet to monitor and dispense drugs in hospitals. According to Wollaeger, although Pyxis would eventually become an extremely profitable company with a widespread presence in health care, the company sold just twelve units in the first 3 years. It grew into a public company with more than 1,500 employees and in 1996 was acquired by Cardinal Health in a corporate buyout that was just short of $1 billion.
Aleena Karamally is a student writer for the Rady School of Management and a sophomore at UC San Diego. She is a Human Development major and a member of the UC San Diego Equestrian Team.