Clare J. Fairfield has over 25 years of entrepreneurial management and business development experience, including founding and managing businesses, venture capital investing, designing and delivering entrepreneurial and venture capital educational programs and providing legal advice to start-up and existing companies. Mr. Fairfield was instrumental in the development of a nationally recognized university entrepreneurial program before helping to lead the development of venture groups and innovation development programs in the United States and globally.
Mr. Fairfield is the Chairman of the Venture Capital Institute, founded in 1974 to provide applied educational training programs to venture capitalists from around the globe; the Executive Managing Director of Innovictus, a global innovation development organization; Executive Managing Director of the Concerto Group, an early stage venture advisory firm and venture fund; and a current General Partner and past Managing Director of AAVIN Venture Capital, a sector and stage diversified venture capital/private equity fund. Within these firms Mr. Fairfield’s responsibilities included and include: fund raising; sourcing deal flow; negotiating the acquisition, financing and disposition of portfolio investments; sitting on the boards of individual portfolio companies and overseeing their growth; managing staffing needs and making compensation decisions; and making portfolio investment determinations as an investment committee member.
From 1996 through 1998, Mr. Fairfield served as founding Associate Director of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Iowa where he designed curriculum, taught classes, established a state-wide network of entrepreneurial education in partnership with the 15 community colleges located in Iowa, worked with the Kauffman Foundation to establish and fund entrepreneurial educational programs for K-12 students and designed and taught classes in a distance learning environment utilizing the Iowa Communications Network. Since 1998, the Iowa Program has been ranked as one of the top 35 entrepreneurial programs in the country. The Iowa program was the first program in the United States to offer an accredited Engineering Certificate in Entrepreneurship. From 1989 through 1993 Mr. Fairfield practiced business and tax law while overseeing the operation of the tax department of Davis & Kuelthau, S.C., a full-service private law firm headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. From 1986 through 1989 Mr. Fairfield was associated with the law firm of Stanley, Lande & Hunter, P.C, where he provided services to clients ranging from start-up ventures to Fortune 500 companies. Since 1983, Mr. Fairfield has been involved with the start-up, acquisition and/or development of companies in the communications, information technology, retail, healthcare, manufacturing, medical device, software, construction and real estate industries.
Mr. Fairfield serves on the Board of the Small Business Investor Alliance where he chairs the Education Committee and the Venture Capital Committee. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies (NASBIC) for seven years, Chairman of the NASBIC Education Committee and is a past member of the Executive Committee of NASBIC. Mr. Fairfield is a past member of the National Venture Capital Association, NASBIC, the Regional Association of Small Business Investment Companies, and the Wisconsin Bar Association. Mr. Fairfield has frequently served as a judge and as chairman of the selection panel for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Program. He serves as a member of the Venture Capital Commercialization Review Panel for the National Science Foundation, was a charter member of the MidAmerica Healthcare Investor Network, served as a Co-Chairman of the MIT Enterprise Forum Committee on Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, and is founding the MENSA Special Interest Group on Innovation and Venture Capital. Mr. Fairfield also served as a member of the US-Brazilian Venture Capital Task Force and is a member of the national advisory board of the KTEC Pipeline Project. In addition to serving as a board member of several companies, Mr. Fairfield is a Senior Advisor to Guangdong Technology Venture Capital Group located in Guangdong, China and a Senior Advisor to Qingdao Science and Technology Venture Capital Company located in Qingdao, China. He is creating a private equity and venture capital graduate degree program in partnership with Fudan University in Shanghai, China. He assists the development of an innovation economy in Russia in his capacity as a Business Mentor with the United States Civilian Research & Development Foundation. Mr. Fairfield has been a leading member of the U.S.-Sweden Entrepreneurial Forum since 2006. He is a frequent regional, national and international speaker on the topics of innovation and venture capital.
Mr. Fairfield received a BBA, JD, and MBA from the University of Iowa. While at the University of Iowa, he was designated a Tippie Scholar, a School of Accounting Faculty Scholar, a University of Iowa Undergraduate Scholar, a College of Law Scholar, a College of Business Rhodes Scholarship Nominee and a Hancher-Finkbine Medallion Nominee. In 1997, he was named a Price-Babson Fellow in Entrepreneurship at Babson College in Boston.