In 2009, Douglas W. Jamison became CEO and Chairman of the Board at the Harris & Harris Group after having worked for the company since 2002. He prepared for a career in venture capital by earning a master’s degree from the University of Utah and spending six years managing the University’s intellectual property. His work involved assessing technologies in the biological and physical sciences, marketing these technologies, and working with attorneys to develop patent protection.
Harris & Harris Group was formed in 1981 and went public in 1983. They became investors in nanotechnology in 1997 and in 2002, focused their attention on investing in companies that were enabled by nanoscale. Once Jamison assumed the leadership role,, the firm began focusing on investments that occurred at the intersection of many different scientific fields.
The Harris Group is traded on Nasdaq under the symbol TINY.
VC Firm: Harris & Harris Group
Title: Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director
Expertise Areas: Proprietary science technology, biology, nanotechnology
D-Wave Systems, Inc
Mersana Therapeutics, Inc.
2907160 Canada Inc.
Nextreme Thermal Solutions, Inc.
Ancora Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
H&H Ventures Management, Inc.
Harris & Harris Group, Inc.
On Measuring Performance: “Harris & Harris Group thinks about its performance in the context of realizing returns on its investments and growing its net assets over time. We are early-stage venture investors, so we don’t plan month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter, but we think about realized growth over years.”
On Nanotechnology: “It has been difficult to extract value from companies developing only nanomaterials. We have found much more success when companies move up the value chain and provide a component or system level solution.”
On Wall Street and Nanotechnology: “The financial sector has evolved in the direction of short term trading occurring at ever greater speeds and away from long term investing. This has had an impact on true scientific innovation and bodes ill for America retaining any type of world competitiveness.”
On which companies to invest in: “Strong application-driven managements are a must. Strong intellectual property is a must. A strong technology team, often out of top research institutions and with access to thought leaders in the field is important.”
On what makes a Nanotechnology firm successful: “It is important that it be a problem that can have a big impact in a large market. It is always baffling to me why someone would want to spend time on a difficult problem that didn’t have the opportunity to change the world, if it was successful.”
Advice to companies seeking financing in nanotechnology: “Talk early to corporations and corporate venture groups. Some of the smartest young investors are heading to the corporate sector, taking their venture capital skills with them. These people understand venture capital and often understand the technologies and markets better than many of the financial investors.”