Don Aquilano, Allos Ventures Managing Director
Don co-founded Allos in 2010, but he did some pretty cool stuff before that, too.
Don’s tenacity and entrepreneurial drive exhibited itself early in his career, when he was so frustrated that Hewlett Packard had come on campus his senior year solely to recruit electrical engineers (as a production and operations management major, he was more of an industrial engineer) that he accosted the recruiter in the hallway and refused to let him leave until he’d managed to secure a job offer.
After working as an operations manager in HP’s ASIC manufacturing group, serving on the corporate-wide team responsible for the selection of a new ERP system, and having co-founded two small software companies along the way, Don left HP for business school. Upon graduation, he wanted to gain experience in as many domains as possible – first joining Boston Consulting Group, consulting on strategy for global IT and pharmaceutical companies, and then Diageo (owner of a variety of consumer product businesses including Burger King, Pillsbury, Guinness, and others), where he was a manager of strategy for Guinness for the Americas and Caribbean (he assures us that testing the product was not part of his job responsibilities, but merely a perk).
He first moved into the venture capital world with the Fox Group in New York, where he participated in the early funding of companies including WebMD, before being recruited to join Gazelle TechVentures as its second managing director in April 2000. He became the sole managing director four months later, upon the departure of the founding managing director (no worries, they’re still close friends). Gazelle is ranked in the top 10% of venture funds nationally for its 2000 vintage, and Don participated in all of the firm’s successful investments, including Rubicon Technology (NASDAQ:RBCN), a Russell 2000 company, where he serves as executive chairman. And five years after meeting John, who was serving on the executive committee at Gazelle, Don agreed to join Blue Chip as a managing director, where he managed investments in software and services companies Aprimo and Knowlagent.
Don is the chairman of the advisory board for Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing, serves on the advisory boards of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centers for IU and Ball State, and teaches the Entrepreneurship capstone course at Purdue University.