The Aggie Angel Network (AAN) is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to providing quality early-stage investment opportunities for accredited angel investors, and to assisting early-stage high-growth potential technology companies with fundraising and advisory services.
We are a network of accredited investors who invest directly into promising entrepreneurial businesses in return for stock in the companies. The Center for Venture Research estimates that U.S. angel investors invested $19 billion in 55,000 deals (about 35,000 small businesses) in 2008
The Aggie Angel Network is actively seeking to invest in great startup companies. In addition to money, the AAN brings connections, market knowledge, mentoring and operational excellence to early-stage entrepreneurs with disruptive technologies. Let us help you to turn your vision into reality.
Will Botts, Director
William W. Botts (Will) is currently the Chief Commercialization Officer at Lynntech Inc., a private research and development company headquartered in College Station. Previously, for 22 years, he was Chairman and CEO of OI Corporation, a NASDAQ Company and market leader in the field of scientific instruments. OI Corp was recognized by Business Week Magazine as one of the “Best 100 Small Companies” and by Forbes as one of the “Fastest Growth Small Companies”. Prior to that, he was Chief Operating Officer of The Brandt Company, an oil field service company, which he led through a dynamic growth cycle and sale to TRW Inc.
Mr. Botts also served as Vice President and general manager of business units held other positions in two Fortune 500 companies. He initiated and directed a number of acquisitions and the formation of international subsidiary companies. He is a community director of Wells Fargo Brazos Valley bank, has served as a director on the boards of two private companies, and has served on the board of directors of various trade associations and non-profit organizations.
Mr. Botts graduated from Mississippi State University with a BSIE and an MBA.
Brett Cornwell, Director
Brett Cornwell is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Commercialization for Texas A&M System Technology Commercialization. He oversees and is responsible for the Licensing and IP Mangement, New Ventures, and Industry Alliances Division activities. This includes partnering with industry to commercialize the A&M System’s portfolio of technologies to spin out of new companies in support of the commercialization of technologies. The services for new spin out companies include screening stage market assessments, business plan development, marketing plan development, market research studies, strategic business planning, and the development of venture pitches.
He is on the adjunct graduate faculty at Texas A&M University teaching courses in technology commercialization in the Mays Business School. His courses focus on technology market screening and evaluation, venture planning and evaluation, and business planning and launch. He is also a Faculty member at the IC2 Institute at The University of Texas at Austin and is an Adjunct Lecturer in the McCombs School at the University of Texas at Austin as an instructor in the Master’s in Science and Technology Commercialization degree program. He has led a number of international technology commercialization benchmarking and training projects including projects with CONACYT in Mexico, Innovisa in Portugal, The University of Otago in New Zealand, and ProTon in Europe.
Brett Cornwell was a program coordinator for the NASA Mid-Continent Technology Transfer Center (MCTTC) for ten years and served as the deputy director for three. At MCTTC, his experience and knowledge was used to write marketing studies for new technologies, outreach to companies, and define market opportunities and barriers for potential licensees. He has twenty years experience in technology transfer and two years experience with small companies as sales and marketing manager. He was recognized as the Outstanding Technology Transfer Intermediary in Arkansas in 1997, received the Distinguished Service Award from the Mid-Continent Federal Laboratory Consortium in 2001, designed major portions of the Federal Laboratory Consortium’s Technology Assessment process for the RIB-IT program and has been published in R&D Enterprise, Asia Pacific. He is a co-author of Marketing Scientific Results published in October 2004.
Cornwell holds an MBA from Texas A&M University and a BBA in marketing from Baylor University.
Omar Hakim, Director
Omar Hakim is a management consultant, entrepreneur and angel investor with over 23 years of experience. He has mentored over 100 technology startup companies since 1997.
Omar was the co-founder and first managing director of the Aggie Angel Network, which is now one of the most active angel networks in Texas. Prior to co-founding the AAN, Omar was the General Manager of the Research Valley Innovation Center (RVIC), a non-profit business incubator providing strategy and intellectual property consulting services and fundraising assistance to over 50 technology startups.
Prior to leading the RVIC, Omar was co-founder of IP Tactics, an IP monetization and professional services firm. Omar identified promising patent portfolio acquisitions, performed valuation analysis and presented recommendations to investment groups and hedge funds.
Prior to co-founding IPT, Omar was with Accenture for ten years. Omar founded Accenture’s Asia region network consulting practice which supported all network engagements across 15 countries. Omar was responsible for regional account planning, alliance management, sales support, proposal development, project reviews, quality oversight, opportunity pipeline tracking, relationship management and communications with senior client and Accenture executives. He grew his consulting practiceʼs revenues from zero to 5% of the entire regional market unit’s annual revenues in two years.
Prior to relocating to Asia, Omar worked in Accentureʼs New Business Models group, providing consulting services to startups. Omar was also a liaison to Accenture Technology Ventures ($1 billion VC fund), supporting due diligence and making investment recommendations. Omar also managed one of Accentureʼs five patent portfolios which was made up of over 500 awarded and pending patents.
Omar earned his BS in Applied Mathematics with a minor in EE, and his MS in Technology Commercialization. He has been awarded seven patents and has over 15 patents pending.
Dr. David Hickson, Director
Dr. David Hickson is currently President and CEO of HCE Companies. HCE is a Texas based minority owned cost containment services company helping Research, Healthcare, governmental agencies and private sector companies reduce their contracted services costs. Dr. Hickson has been a City Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem for the City of College Station for almost a decade, Past Chairman of the Research Valley Partnership, Past Board Member of the Chamber of Commerce, Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist in 1992 and a member of various other Boards and Agencies.
Dr. Hickson holds a BS in Biology and an MS and PhD in Food Science & Technology from Texas A&M University.
Blake Petty, Director
Blake D. Petty serves as Texas A&M University’s Assistant Vice President for Research, in the Division of Research. Blake leads all innovation, commercialization, entrepreneurship and economic development initiatives stemming from the university’s $780M annual research budget. Blake facilitates industry collaboration opportunities for the 3000 faculty researchers he serves at Texas A&M’s flagship campus in College Station, while broadly promoting the university’s multi-disciplinary intellectual capabilities, and broad opportunities for public/private partnerships.
In 2012, Blake helped launch and served as Interim Director for Startup Aggieland, Texas A&M’s first student business incubator. Blake remains in leadership to assist in the foundation of Startup Aggieland as a cross-campus experiential entrepreneurship program being designed and operated by the students themselves.
Mr. Petty is a Texas A&M graduate (’98 and ’00) and has worked in a variety of roles for the university since graduation, including technology transfer, new venture formation, industry partnerships, faculty and student entrepreneurship, economic development and real estate management. He lives in College Station with his wife, Khara (’99) and son, Jackson (’26).
Tim Prichard, Director
Mr. Prichard serves Wells Fargo Insurance as the organization’s lead for Group Insurance related issues including Health and Welfare benefits including Group Life, Disability, and Absence Management insurance services. While serving 125 offices within the Wells Fargo Insurance National Practice, Tim also continues to work as a client advocate, spending approximately half of his time developing unique solutions for his own clients and their group insurance benefits.
In recognition of Tim’s extensive support and partnership with Wells Fargo Insurance and his commitment to his own national account client base, his team was awarded the 2011 “Wells Fargo Chairman’s Award” for his outstanding client service, growth and retention.
In June of 2010, he was recognized by Risk and Insurance as one of the Top 20 Power Brokers in the country. Noting his work for successfully consolidating their various plans in a large, decentralized environment into one enhanced benefit program, the 40,000 life client commented “He’s really been a partner with us – an extremely valuable, strategic partner”. Mr. Prichard was also nominated by another client to the prestigious, Houston Business Journal’s “40 under 40”.
Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Mr. Prichard co-founded BridgeStreet Consulting Group, a national consulting firm with particular focus on providing specific, customized Life, Accident and Absence Management solutions for both public and private large employers. Tim combined forces with Wells Fargo Insurance Services in 2009 and assumed his current responsibilities – to support and grow not only his client base, but also the national Wells Fargo consulting group insurance practice.
Prior to starting BridgeStreet Consulting Group, Mr. Prichard served as a National Practice Leader for Disability and Absence Management programs with a national consulting firm. Additionally, Tim served in a various Sales and Management roles for Unum Group, one of the largest providers of disability and life insurance coverage in the world. His previous roles with UNUM included national account sales, product innovation and development and leadership of the sales/service operations. His office consistently ranked as a leader for sales growth, profit and persistency; he was awarded UNUM’s highest sales achievement award six consecutive years.
With over eighteen years of industry experience, Mr. Prichard’s work has primarily focused on group disability and lost time programs for some of the country’s largest employers. His competencies include the quantitative analysis of Absence Management and Paid Time-Off initiatives for various corporations. Most recently, he has been extensively involved with pilot programs to introduce Integrated Disability Management plans focused on reducing barriers between Disease Management administrators, Mental Health & Behavioral vendors and disability insurance carriers. He has worked with many customers creating specific product designs and features to achieve their unique strategic objectives.
Mr. Prichard has also contributed to the national forum on group insurance and various employee benefit related matters through interviews and quotes in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times, Benefit News and Risk and Insurance as well as several local newspapers. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, he was twice named to the Aggie 100, an award recognizing Texas A&M alumni’ top companies in the country that are lead, founded or run by a Texas A&M graduate.
Prior to working in the insurance field, Mr. Prichard worked for the United States Treasury Department inWashingtonDC. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University.
Bob Starnes, Director
From education to the environment to opportunities for veterans and children, Robert Starnes ’72 is committed to a wide array of charitable activities and organizations. This isn’t surprising to those that know Starnes, whose life is defined by a diversity of experiences as he’s moved from military officer to entrepreneur.
As a young man, Starnes was active in the Boy Scouts of America; a group he says was an important part of his development. With a scholarship from the Garden Clubs of Texas, he went on to A&M where he was active in the Corps of Cadets, as well as two agriculture honor societies. A distinguished student, he graduated with a BS in Recreation and Parks in 1972, then began a 10-year career in the Army. After duty assignments in Panama, North Carolina, and Virginia, Starnes was delighted to be sent back to College Station as a Captain, where he worked with the ROTC program as an assistant professor of military science. Starnes says that there is a misconception that educators have an easy job. On the contrary, he says teaching was one of the most challenging things he’s undertaken. His time as an assistant professor gave him new appreciation for the high quality instruction he received at A&M and increased his dedication to giving back to his alma mater.
While stationed at A&M, Starnes’ wife, Robin (Hodges) ’76 earned an MBA concentrating in business computing science. The material she studied piqued Starnes’ interest, and he began taking MBA classes at A&M. In 1982 he left active military duty so that Robin could focus on her career, but continued as a reservist for an additional ten years. With his newly minted MBA,
Starnes took a job as an analyst for two years before launching his own venture, The Ontra Companies, Inc., in Austin. Over the past 25 years, Ontra has morphed into a large holding firm focused on real estate and healthcare. There have been many ups and downs for the company, says Starnes, but Ontra has continued to grow in employees, revenues, and services.
Today, Starnes divides his time between his company’s headquarters in Austin, his ranch near Lampasas, and College Station, where his wife teaches at Mays. Their son; John, is a graduate of the Professional Program at Mays in 2011. Bob’s interests include organic and sustainable farming, wilderness conservation, volunteering with veterans groups, and being active on the
A&M campus through involvement with the advisory council of Mays’ Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship and the board of Aggies in Business Properties. He is also on the board of several other professional and charitable organizations. Robin and Bob have been selected as Fish Camp Namesakes for the 2012 Fish Camp.
David Wesson, Director
David Wesson is a serial entrepreneur with more than 15 start-up companies to his credit, including numerous oil and gas manufacturing and service companies (both international and domestic), nutrition and skin care companies, a web-based business services company, a patent licensing company, a winery and a hospitality company.
In 2003, Mr. Wesson founded GEODynamics B.V. (Netherlands) and served as the company’s CEO and President until September 2009. In 2005, he was instrumental in the reorganization of the company whereby Shell Oil and Orica became investors and partners as part of his vision for GEODynamics to become the leading provider of perforating technology to the global oil and gas industry. GEODynamics was Number 1 in 2006 and Number 10 in 2007 on the “Aggie 100” list of fastest growing Aggie founded companies (http://www.aggie100.com). Compounded annual revenue growth of GEODynamics has exceeded 250% per year since its inception with more than 60% of its revenue coming from outside the United States. He remains active in GEODynamics today, serving as a board member and a consultant to the company.
Mr. Wesson is also an inventor or co-inventor of more than 45 US patents and he has extensive patent licensing and technology commercialization experience. His inventions include numerous oilfield technologies licensed to Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Weatherford and others.
Mr. Wesson is a registered professional engineer and holds a BS in Agricultural Engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from Southern Methodist University.
Chris Scotti, Staff
Chris Scotti runs the day to day operations of the Aggie Angel Network. His duties include screening and coaching companies prior to pitching to the Network’s investor members. Chris has a history as both an elected official and entrepreneur, who is dedicated to helping coach companies and foster the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Aggieland.
Chris came to College Station to attend Texas A&M University but ended up starting a business and making the area his permanent home. He founded in 1995, and ultimately sold in 2006, the IT services company, AgniTEK, which won 3 Newman 10 and an Aggie 100 Award for fast growth. He then devoted his business skills & spirit of entrepreneurship to help the Center for New Ventures & Entrepreneurship launch Aggies in Business. AiB is a student run & led business consulting & property management company associated with the Mays Business School at Texas A&M that teaches students how to start and run a company through hands on practice. He was elected to the College Station City Council in 2005 for a 3 year term and remains active in politics.
Chris is married to Hayley, a local Realtor, and they have a 5 year old son, Thomas.