Bela supports the firm’s investing activities while juggling a full-time position as the Vice President of Academic Programs and Dean of the School of Management at Union Graduate College.
Bela is one of the three co-founders of High Peaks, which is now Primary Ventures. He is currently Vice-President for Academic Programs at Union Graduate College and serves as an Active Advisor to Primary. Prior to founding High Peaks, Bela was Director of the Technology Incubator Program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. An engineer, researcher and entrepreneur he worked at GE Corp Research and IBM Corp Research as well as co-founding two venture backed companies. One of which went out of business and the other public in late 1996.
Bela focuses his investing activities Ed-Tech and university based technology commercialization. At Union Graduate College Bela is responsible for all academic programs and teaches entrepreneurship in the School of Management.
He is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with undergraduate and graduate degrees in mechanical engineering as well as a MBA.
The Rest of the Story
In addition to my life as an educator and venture capitalist I am a member of the National Ski Patrol where I served as National Chairman of the Board in 2009-2012. I met my wife on ski patrol and our two sons are also patrollers. So, needless to say, I can be found on the slopes of Gore Mtn. in North Creek, NY on winter weekends. I am actively involved in the entrepreneurial community in upstate NY. If you would like to see a picture of what I looked like a few years ago, get a copy of the 1983 IBM Annual Report and my picture is on the cover.
I was born in Budapest and immigrated to this country as a young boy in 1956. My father and grandfather were involved in the Hungarian revolution in 1956 and when things were not looking good, my dad had the foresight to say, “time to leave” and my dad, mom and I walked across the border to a refugee camp in Austria. While in the camp we had to fill out a card with our name, age, etc and also had to check one of four boxes. They were, UK, Australia, Canada, or the USA. My dad checked the USA box and as they say, the rest is history.
Stuff You Wouldn't Know
First Job: I started mowing lawns in the neighborhood when I was 14. I was making about $4/hr running my own business back when my friends were making $1.75 flipping burgers. Once I was 16 years old, I also spent summers as a mason’s helper for a builder and spent my college summers working for a small commuter airline as a ramp and fuel guy.
Greatest Life Experience: Life itself is a great experience. Enjoy everyday.
Most Humbling Life Experience: Realizing the world’s population is almost 7 billion, and we are in a very small, fortunate subset of about 300 million who do not have to worry about having something to eat or is someone will be shooting at us. And we are part of this privileged group not because of anything we have done, but because of getting lucky in picking parents. It’s our responsibility as citizens of the world to “give back” in order to make the world a better place.
Random Fact: Bela is a very common Hungarian name with 3 well know Belas in the world. Bela Bartok, Bela Lugosi, and Bela Fleck. They are all Hungarian and as different as three people can be. (Classical music composer, actor who played Dracula in the 1920s-1950s, and a modern day banjo player.