Bruce N. Barron
Bruce N. Barron is a partner and co-founder of Origin Ventures. He is an observer to, or member of, the Boards of Directors of DialogTech, MyAlerts, GetSmartContent and Tock. He previously served on the GrubHub Board of Directors. In addition, he serves on the boards of the Illinois Venture Capital Association, the Chicago Baseball Cancer Charities and Israel Cancer Research Fund Chicago and International Chapters. Bruce was named a Crain’s Chicago Business Tech 50 member in 2013.
Since 1985, Bruce has been involved in the management of several start-up medical technology companies. From 1995 – 2007 he had served as a member of the Board of Directors of Applied NeuroSolutions, Inc. (APNS), a public biotechnology company developing a diagnostic to detect, and therapeutics to treat, Alzheimer’s disease. He also served as CEO of APNS from 1995-2004, and as Chairman of the Board from 1999-2006. From 1988 to 2001 Bruce also served on the Board of Directors of Trimedyne Inc., a public manufacturer of surgical lasers used to treat diseases and other medical conditions.
He has served as President/Chairman CEO and/or CFO, from time to time, of the following companies: Gynex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (sold to what is now known as Savient Pharmaceuticals in 1993), Pharmatec Inc. (merged with Pharmos Corp. in 1992) and Xtramedics, Inc. (merged with Athena Medical Corp. in 1994). Bruce assisted in guiding these entrepreneurial, public companies through their early stages to their ultimate sales or mergers with larger companies.
Bruce received a B.S. degree in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1977. He earned his C.P.A. certificate and worked as an accountant in the Chicago office of Touche Ross (the predecessor of Deloitte & Touche) and other medium-size public accounting firms. He left the practice of public accounting in 1985 to begin his entrepreneurial career.
Why did you choose venture capital as a career path?
I wanted to be a VC so I could help entrepreneurs grow their businesses and to utilize my skills and experiences to add value to early stage companies. As a public accountant, I enjoyed working with business owners to help them understand the financial elements of their businesses how they impact the operating results. As an entrepreneur I used what I learned as a CPA to help build small companies and grow them to achieve successful exits. I decided to take what I had learned as a CPA and as an entrepreneur and see if I could apply these learnings as a VC, investing in early stage businesses and working with entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses.
What’s been your proudest Origin moment?
My proudest moment at Origin was when I was standing on the podium at the NY Stock Exchange right behind the co-founders of GrubHub when the CEO rang the bell to start the trading day. This event represented a huge milestone for Origin that we were able to lead the first and second rounds of investment in a company that grew from a start-up to an IPO valued at over $2B. I took pride in seeing a company that we believed in, that had 5 employees and was only generating revenue in Chicago when we first invested, had grown to a national brand and the leader in the online food ordering/delivery industry. I recall phoning Steve, who was vacationing with his family in Arizona, after GrubHub stock started trading and sharing our collective joy that we had achieved a level of success as entrepreneurs, growing OV from a start-up VC firm to a firm with 2 successful funds and generating huge returns to our LPs. That made us both feel very proud.