Name: Nicole Forsberg
Title: Business Development Associate
Years at Venture Partners: 2.5
Q: Tell us a little about yourself!
A: I was born and raised in Sweden and grew up in a small town on the southwest coast. Growing up I always had an interest in health and the environment and science subjects were my favorite, so I got both my Bachelor's and Master’s degree in Environmental Science from Lund University.
I have always loved entrepreneurship, and I launched my first business idea in my high school physics class: a small scale energy generator to put on spinning bikes to run the facility. I had discovered how much kinetic energy was wasted in spinning classes (which only turned to waste heat) so I thought why not take advantage of it? My teacher shut down the idea, as he thought the cost per energy generated wouldn’t make sense. Who knows if it would have been a good one if I’d stuck with it :)
I’m addicted to “runner’s high” so in my spare time I enjoy running. I also love the typical Colorado activities such as hiking and skiing, and I also play a fair amount of golf. Growing up, I competed in badminton and was also a coach for a few years. Maybe I’ll pick it back up in Colorado at some point!
I moved from Stockholm to Boulder about three years ago to join Venture Partners. I had been to Colorado plenty of times growing up, since my grandparents lived in Denver. I got introduced to Venture Partners through a delegation from the State of Colorado that I had hosted in my previous position in Stockholm.
Q: What led you to this career and working at Venture Partners?
A: Just over 9 years ago I spoke at an international bioenergy conference about my research findings from my Master’s degree. From that event I got offered a position as the Director of New Business for North America at a Swedish IR-sensor company active in the bioenergy sector. With a team of two, I grew the market with about $2 million USD in sales over the course of three years, so it was a lot of traveling back and forth across the Atlantic. I eventually went on to a global role with the company, enjoyed all the international travel, being a part of exciting projects in the energy sector and growing my international network.
Eventually I got the “startup bug.” I was offered the position as Head of Customer Engagement at an early stage medical device company in the women’s health sector that an acquaintance founded after leaving her position at CERN (post being part of the project that discovered the Higgs boson). Women’s health is an area I am very passionate about, and it was a great ride. Today, the company is the first FDA approved device in its class with offices in Stockholm, Geneva and NYC.
This led me to my profession today, where I wanted to make an impact. How better do that than turning groundbreaking research innovations into actual products in the market so they can make an impact? This brought me to the Royal Institute of Technology, KTH, to run their incubator and internationalization programs. I coached about 100 startup teams and ran programs for faculty founders in Silicon Valley, Boston, New York City and Munich. In this position I hosted several international delegations and one was a group from Colorado. They introduced me to Venture Partners at CU Boulder, and I was excited as I felt that this position allowed me to use my business development experience together with the research commercialization background from KTH.
Q: What is your role at Venture Partners? Tell us more about what you do.
A: I lead our business development, so I help fast-track the commercialization path for our research inventions. I work closely with the licensing managers on commercialization strategy for our innovations.
Q: What is your favorite part about your job and what do you like most about working on the Venture Partners team?
A: I love the impact we have on society. These groundbreaking research inventions have the potential to solve some of society’s most pressing problems. It’s a privilege to be able to support this process.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you've ever received?
A: Trade expectations for appreciation :)