Bill Robbins is a business owner, start-up advisor, published author, editor and family trustee with more than 35 years of experience in the corporate world, start-ups, and seed-stage investing, as well as in small business and healthcare. His industry experience includes pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, medical imaging, bioengineering, advanced materials and OTC healthcare products, as well as healthcare delivery.
Bill founded Convergent Management, Inc. in 1997, following an early career in the world of Fortune 500 pharmaceutical and consumer health product companies and five years in a medical imaging start-up. During Convergent Management’s early days, Bill and his team of scientist-MBAs and physician-MBAs advised more than 50 companies, primarily from the U.S. and Israel, in fields ranging from small molecule and protein-based therapeutics, to medical devices, diagnostics, laboratory instrumentation and medical information technology, materials chemistry, and specialty products.
In 2001, with $2 million in investment capital, Bill and colleagues founded a seed-stage venture development company, Convergent Investors, LLC (dba Convergent Ventures). Convergent Management assumed the role of management company for Convergent Ventures. As Managing Director of Convergent Ventures, Bill and his colleagues created, funded and managed four start-ups in drug discovery and advanced materials, drawing upon intellectual property and scientific leadership from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and UCLA. Developing these companies entailed extensive, daily interaction and collaboration with eminent scientists, busy tech transfer offices, and research partners at global corporations, including Pfizer, Inc., Eli Lilly, Inc. and BASF.
In 2007, Bill teamed up with a highly accomplished, Israeli-American business partner to launch a new, California-based, seed-stage fund, dedicated to creating and developing lifescience start-ups in Israel, with intellectual property sourced from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, the Weizmann Institute of Science, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and other leading Israeli universities and biomedical research centers. In the throes of the 2008 financial crisis, Bill and his partner terminated their fundraising efforts, a wrenching decision which brought with it a career’s worth of lessons about business, investing, and life.
In 2011, while still winding down Convergent Ventures, Bill monetized his creative proclivities and personal passions in the business of cycling and outdoor sports and adventure. As founder of Convergent Cycling & Performance Products, Bill built and managed a 22-person independent sales rep network selling to bike shops, ski & snowboard shops, and specialty outdoor retailers across much of the U.S. Bill and his team helped to gain national distribution for G-Form wearable impact protection products.
Prior to founding Convergent Management, Bill served as VP, Business Development at Bio-Imaging Technologies, Inc., where his original idea for Convergent Ventures was born. As both a concept and a NASDAQ-listed company, Bio-Imaging Technologies, a pioneer in the field of medical image processing in clinical trials, was a perfect example of technology convergence, representing a “coming together”, or a merging, of physics, engineering, biology, and medicine. As the seventh employee and first business person to join Bio-Imaging, Bill was responsible for business development, marketing, sales, and investor relations for the company during its critical early years. Earlier in his career, Bill worked in consumer healthcare product management and new product development at Warner-Lambert Company (aquired by Pfizer). Bill began his career in account management with the medical division of Grey Advertising, in New York.
Bill has been a non-profit leader, holding regional and national board positions, including several chairmanships, with the American Technion Society, the Israel Cancer Research Fund, the Dartmouth Club of Los Angeles, and the Columbia Business School Club of Southern California.
Bill wrote about his experiences as an entrepreneur and seed investor in Seed-Stage Venture Investing: The Ins and Outs for Entrepreneurs, Start-ups, and Investors on Successfully Starting a New Business, ©2006, Aspatore Inc. In 2011, Bill and co-author Jonathan G. Lasch, Ph.D., wrote Seed-Stage Venture Investing, 2nd Edition: An Insider’s Guide to Start-ups for Scientists, Engineers, and Investors, ©2011, Thomson Reuters Westlaw.
Bill has lectured and participated in panel discussions and presentations at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, USC, Vanderbilt University’s Owens Graduate School of Management, and at many industry meetings and trade conferences.
Bill writes articles and commentaries in print and online, with facility in a broad range of topics, an engaging style, and sharp wit.
Bill is an alumnus of Columbia Business School (MBA, 1988) and Dartmouth College (AB, 1983).