About Us

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.

Who We Are

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

What We Do

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.

Board of Directors & Staff



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.


Rich Harbin, Director

Picture1Rich Harbin is the Founder and President, Empowered Solutions. Rich leads the strategic development of Empowered Solutions and defines the vision, strategy, structure, values, and financial objectives for the firm. Rich has successfully led the transformation and deployment of various large scale implementations for various Oracle technologies to customers in thirteen countries around the globe.

Prior to, Rich had served in various IT leadership positions for Fortune 1000 companies, held various consulting and management consulting roles and was instrumental in implementing, upgrading, extending, and deploying various Oracle projects within the USA.

With over twenty years of extensive IT experience, Rich is actively known as a visionary leader and advocate of transforming organizations, people, processes, and systems with the continuous evolution of the Oracle technology. Rich received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Texas A&M University


Christine Hollinden, Director

Picture2As founding principal of Hollinden | professional services marketing, Christine is
passionate about helping professional services firms distinguish themselves from
the pack. Her energetic and forward-thinking approach has earned her industry
recognition and status as a sought-after speaker on marketing topics.

Prior to founding Hollinden in 1993, Christine’s career included serving as
director of marketing for KPMG in Houston, regional communications manager
for Coopers & Lybrand, and marketing coordinator for Grant Thornton.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Houston at Victoria, and a Master of Business Administration from Texas A&M University. She also holds the prestigious CPSM (Certified Professional Services Marketer) designation and is a Certified Kolbe Consultant. Dedicated to her field, she served as an adjunct professor of marketing at the University of St. Thomas in Houston for over ten years and currently teaches Social Media for Business at Rice University’s Susanne Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.


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.


Blake Petty, Staff


Blake Petty is the director of the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship. Petty received his bachelor’s from Texas A&M in ’98 and his master’s in 2000. After graduating from A&M, he worked in administrative positions at the university and Texas A&M System, including a 10-year stint in the Office of Technology Commercialization.

Most recently, Petty served as assistant vice president of Research and coordinated all Innovation, Industry Relations and Business Development initiatives at Texas A&M. He also facilitated commercialization and entrepreneurship opportunities for the campus and its faculty researchers.

 In addition, he served as a founding partner in the launch of Startup Aggieland.