Hool Coury Law Creates New Chair at ASU to Grow Entrepreneurship

June 28, 2022

Michael Hool says he feels encouraged to see Arizona State University using its impressive facilities and resources to foster the spirit of innovation and support the launch of new businesses. He also says he felt that way for two decades.

As a founding partner of the law firm Hool Coury in Phoenix, Hool represented ASU in the creation of numerous business ventures through what was Arizona Technology Enterprises, established in 2003, before becoming Skysong Innovations, which moves the university research out of the lab and into the marketplace.

Michael Hool (left) reinforces his long-term commitment to ASU innovation by sponsoring new Hool Coury Law Professor in Entrepreneurship. Brent Sebold (right) will bring his extensive business development experience to ASU serving as the first appointee. Photo by Erika Gronek/ASU
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“During this job, I have been exposed to much of ASU’s marketing and entrepreneurial efforts,” he says. “And it’s been very rewarding to work with professors and student founders of companies who have a dream, and then to help them achieve it.”

The experience was rewarding enough that Hool decided to deepen its involvement by funding the establishment of Hool Coury Law Professor of Entrepreneurship at ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

“So many valuable programs have developed at this university over the years, and so many good things have emerged. But it seemed best to target where Hool Coury could add value to ASU,” he says. “We deal with individual investors and venture capital funds who have a keen interest in engineering startups, so this chair can help connect those people to technical entrepreneurs at Fulton Schools who need guidance and support. access to capital as they grow.”

Hool is also pleased to announce that the first incumbent of this faculty position is Brent Sebold, who is Director of Entrepreneurship + Innovation at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering as well as Acting Director of the Transdisciplinary Master of Science in Engineering. Innovation and Business Development of ASU. program.

“I’ve had great experiences working with Brent for several years, so it’s clear to me and many others that he’s the perfect person to shake things up in terms of expanding creative opportunities and cultivation of new business efforts in this role,” says Hool.

Sebold says he is honored by this appointment and looks forward to working with Hool and the broader entrepreneurship community at ASU to advance the reach and impact of technical innovation from Fulton Schools.

“I want to thank Michael for his continued commitment and support, and for his confidence in the work we are doing here,” says Sebold. “With entrepreneurship law professor Hool Coury serving as a point of focus or conduit, we can accomplish so much more in tandem with our Fulton Schools Development Office, Edson E+I Institute, ASU Foundation, partners of ASU as well as members of industry and others.

Promotion of competition

Hool and Sebold first met when Sebold started as a program manager for the Edson Student Entrepreneurship Initiative at ASU in 2011. Sebold recalls Hool expressing a desire to challenge students who had received seed funding from the Edson program. He felt they could help spread awareness of the initiative across the state and country, and thereby engage additional supporters to expand its impact.

“That’s when we had our first pitch event, or ‘demonstration day’, hosted by law firm Hool Coury,” says Sebold. “These demo days were a great experience and led to the creation of an Arizona Collegiate Venture Challenge, or ACVC, which attracted more competing students from the University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University and Grand Canyon University.”

Sebold says the success of ACVC helped transform the event into the even more ambitious ASU Innovation Open, or ASUio, hosted by the Fulton Schools. The flagship event now features teams of students from universities around the world competing for a share of more than $300,000 in prize money and business support services.

“Of course, this incredible trajectory has been led by many people,” says Sebold, “but none of this would have happened without Michael Hool leading the integration of competition into our programs.”

Hool says these competitive events are extremely important. He believes they are the best indicator of the pressures college entrepreneurs are going to face in the marketplace. However, he says the purpose of competitions goes beyond simply trying to win them.

“We all celebrate the people who win cash prizes, and they deserve the congratulations,” he says. “But I think it’s just as valuable when someone starts a business and gets ‘beaten up’ while developing their idea. They will learn from this experience and their next effort will be better.

Hool says failure is actually a badge of honor in the world of entrepreneurship. And as soon as new business founders embrace this reality, they’re ready to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and move forward toward their ultimate accomplishments.

“These resilient people are exactly the ones we want to nurture, support and become entrepreneurs again,” he says. “It’s good for them; it’s good for the ASU; it’s good for society as a whole.

Encourage collaboration

Along with the competitions, Hool says he is eager to support collaboration among ASU students who seek to solve societal challenges but who may not know each other. Making these connections across the university was the motivation for the Techiepalooza networking event that Hool Coury Law sponsored in late 2021.

“I see ‘rockstar’ engineering entrepreneurs who have something promising on the way, but they often need help from peers who are better at the sales or financial side of things,” Hool says. “And, similarly, many entrepreneurial students at the WP Carey School of Business don’t have much technical expertise.”

Hool says it’s really hard to start a business if you only have one skill set. The idea behind Techiepalooza is therefore to bring complementary minds together to share ideas and bring them together in a collaborative way towards market-ready solutions.

Sebold says the rally was a great success and worth continuing.

“We were just coming out of the pandemic shutdown, and that was a great reason to bring together a lot of entrepreneurial and entrepreneurial-minded people,” says Sebold. “But going forward, I think entrepreneurship law professor Hool Coury can support the growth of the Techiepalooza program, year after year, as a convergence of talented people who are all in the genesis phase of the process of creating new businesses. ‘company.”

Hool thinks similar opportunities extend even further into the college community. For the past five years, he has taught a course at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law on financing start-up companies. During this work, he says he discovered that a number of these students are also entrepreneurs.

“They don’t have the technical acumen of the people Brent works with at the Fulton schools, but they know a lot about the venture capital world,” he says. “So I think we need to find a way to bring these people together with the engineering and business students at ASU.”

Sebold agrees that connecting disparate groups represents an important opportunity for the new role he is taking on. He also says it will be a big challenge. He explains that there are a lot of “moving parts” in each of these schools at ASU and in each of their different areas. But he says the potential of onboarding experiences for entrepreneurial success is deeply inspiring.

“I am very excited to continue working with Michael and his ecosystem of peers, as well as my peers at ASU, through this new chair,” Sebold said. “We will continue to bring people together through events like Techiepalooza, and push them to compete through programs like ASUio. I also believe in the value of taking our company founders on trips to inspiring places, like Silicon Valley. There are so many ways we will empower ASU students and faculty to make the world a better place.


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