As a serial entrepreneur, Bob Curtis has started 10 companies. He’s succeeded and failed and succeeded. “You learn more from the failures than successes,” he says.
What he has not succeeding in doing, though, is retiring.
He’s at the age when he should be retired, but he wears the mantle of “serial failed retiree” proudly. “I’ve failed at retirement three times.”
With a stellar track record in medical technology and bioscience startups, Curtis relocated from Silicon Valley to Santa Fe in 2005 to retire. But soon he was on the board of Respira Therapeutics, advising the startup as the company sought to bring its dry powder asthma inhaler to market. Next thing you know, he was CEO.
It was not so much that anyone talked Curtis out of retirement, says Brian Birk, managing partner of the private equity firm Sun Mountain Capital. “I think we just had to show Bob where the candy store was and step back out of the way.”
It’s not unusual for entrepreneurs to get back in the game, says David Blivin, managing partner of Cottonwood Technology Fund, which along with Sun Mountain invested in Respira. “It’s kind of an addictive pursuit,” says Blivin.
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