In the mid-1990s, Brian Hegarty and a group of his colleagues started a little company, NVX Corp., with their idea of creating technology for manufacturing flash memories.
They had been working on it for a few years and were waiting to hear from one big client. It was make or break time.
One of the team members had brought in a rare bottle of liquor to drink when they landed the big contract.
Hegarty looked at the bottle and said, “Well, one way or the other, we’ll be drinking that,” he said.
Hegarty, 73, often reflects on the paths taken and the paths not taken and what it all means to an entrepreneur when every decision feels like make or break.
He will share his story at the Nov. 9 Peak Venture Group breakfast meeting and he will be joined by another successful entrepreneur – his son.
“We live in a fantastic age of increasing complexity and every little movement provides opportunity,” Hegarty said.
PVG Entrepreneurs Breakfast series began years ago as a way to showcase successful entrepreneurs but also for the group to hear from up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Two local entrepreneurs will each give a five-minute presentation on their startup project.
Hegarty will be joined by his son Paul Hegarty for the keynote address. Paul Hegarty, 48, who attended Cheyenne Mountain High School, was a student at Stanford University in 1985 when Steve Jobs handpicked him, a the top engineering student, to help him launch NeXT. NeXT’s software was the foundation for MacOSX and iOS. After NeXT, Paul went to work for a venture capital firm and co-founded a successful software company. Today, he teaches at Stanford.
None of what the Hegarty father and son have accomplished was easy. Good ideas, Hegarty the senior said, are a dime a dozen. It’s the hard work and years of struggle that make them successful. And, it’s about recognizing the path, Brian Hegarty said.
“Most ideas are going to be in the poor house for a while – if you have the passion, the money flows,” he said. “It’s hard; I’ve personally had people said, ‘give up.’ ”
NVX Corp. eventually landed its first big client and the company took off. In 1999, the co-founders sold technology rights to Cypress Semiconductor, which sells millions of devices using their technology.
“We did have a big impact on the world of technology,” Hegarty said.
If you go:
PVG Entrepreneurs’ Breakfast
Peak Venture Group hosts a breakfast meeting from 6:30 to 9 a.m. Nov. 9 at Garden of the Gods Club, 3320 Mesa Road. Keynote speakers are father and son Brian and Paul Hegarty. Brian was co-founder of Signal Processing Technologies; Paul was hired by Steve Jobs to help start NeXT. Later, he co-founded a software company and now teaches at Stanford University. Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 at the door. For details go to www.peakventure.org.