My name is Robert Compton, but my friends call me Bob. I am glad to have lived during such interesting times. I have a wide range of interests and I hope that you and I can learn something from each other.
With an undergraduate liberal arts degree, I began my career at the IBM Corporation initially as a systems engineer, and later as a sales representative selling mainframe computer systems. I left IBM to continue my education at Harvard University's Graduate School of Business where I received my Masters in Business Administration.
After Harvard, I entered the venture capital industry landing a position at First Chicago Venture Capital. From there, I moved to Indiana where I served as a general partner at CID Equity Partners from 1987 to 1997. My first deal was help-desk software developer Software Artistry, which went public in 1995 and was acquired two years later by IBM for about $200 Million. My subsequent investments included Interactive Intelligence, Allscripts and ExactTarget - all of which had successful public offerings.
I left the venture business to become President and Chief Operating Officer of Sofamor Danek Group, Inc., which at the time was the world's largest supplier of implants, computer-assisted surgery products, and biologics for spinal surgery. Medtronic acquired Sofamor Danek Group, Inc. in January 1999 for $3.7 billion. I have served on numerous corporate Boards of Directors in an array of industries and have been the lead investor in over 20 businesses, six of which have had successful public offerings.
After traveling to India in 2005, I was inspired to create the documentary Two Million Minutes: A Global Examination to take a deeper look at how the three superpowers of the 21st Century-China, India and the United States are preparing their students for the future. My subsequent 7 films have explored entrepreneurship and education around the world, including my most recent film The Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World's Most Surprising School System.
Despite the relative decline of American education, the decades ahead can be ones of prosperity and economic growth, provided the American people embrace the 21st Century. I remain an optimist about America. We have always risen to every challenge and I believe the American people will meet this one with characteristic ingenuity and innovation.