We’ll make the assumption that Callaghan Innovation’s new GM of Accelerator Services isn’t there for the money.
Chris Somogyi’s come relatively unannounced to the crown entity whose role is to accelerate the commercialisation of innovation by NZ firms.
Softly, softly is possibly how the American, recently from Seattle may do things – lie low, get a feeling for the place before making yourself known.
He’s been a venture capitalist, developed concepts into ready-made products and has a strong record in business development. He’s already been to NZ a number of times, so presumably isn’t too rose-tinted glasses about our place.
Given his interesting credentials, and presumably backstory as a biomedical engineer by training, Somogyi hopefully brings some deep connections and contacts into some of the business areas CI’s targeting.
Having been well over a year in the development, CI needs a few runs on the board, needs the accelerator pressed to the floor.
Investing in companies, having an umbrella view of industries and sectors will undoubtedly be a completely different gig to being down and dirty with would-be up-and-coming businesses within the same, and trying to help them scale quickly to significant size.
In other words, fighting in the trenches is completely different to attempting to direct from above.
Which Somogyi will undoubtedly be aware of, and hopefully up for the challenge of being part of.
From Callaghan Innovation’s point of view, they probably have little to lose.
An outsider (of NZ candidates) solves a few of those political/business bias challenges that can arise in such a pivotal, potentially game-changing position.
CI may’ve thrown a double six just found the exact person they need.
He’s only been in the GM accelerator services role for a month or so, and Somogyi is probably doing a lot of listening while trying to make sense of the disjointed research, development, commercialisation and funding and investment scene in this country.
Welcome to New Zealand Chris.