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Interim Dean Sunil Chopra (left) and Promod Haque ’83 (right) discuss the future of the venture capital industry at the Kellogg Impact Series event in San Francisco.

Interim Dean Sunil Chopra (left) and Promod Haque ’83 (right) discuss the future of the venture capital industry at the Kellogg Impact Series event in San Francisco.

Kellogg Impact Series: San Francisco

A capacity crowd turns out to hear venture capitalist Promod Haque ’83 discuss the global investment outlook

By Rachel Farrell

5/17/2010 - The economic meltdown may have left venture capitalists down for the count — but they’re not out of the game.

At least that’s the impression generated by the turnout for the Kellogg Impact Series event in San Francisco, which drew a capacity crowd of more than 170 alumni and friends.

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The May 11 event at the Olympic Club featured a networking cocktail hour, formal dinner and “fireside chat” with Promod Haque ’83, managing partner of Norwest Venture Partners, a global investment firm that makes early- to late-stage venture and growth equity investments.

During the hour-long discussion with Interim Dean Sunil Chopra, Haque talked about the impact of the recession on the venture capital industry; his outlook for the evolution of the industry; investment opportunities at home and abroad; and the role of innovation and entrepreneurship in the industry’s growth. (Haque also talked about the importance of listening to the customer during his March 11 visit to Kellogg as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series.)

“I was very impressed with Promod’s comments and that he was willing to share his views on entrepreneurialism,” said Sam Vitkoski ’72, a real estate consultant for San Francisco-based Zephyr Real Estate. “As someone who believes strongly in giving back to your school, I think it’s great that Promod has served Kellogg and Northwestern in various roles. His personal commitment to the school is much appreciated.”

Respected by venture capital industry observers around the world, Haque has been ranked as a top dealmaker on the annual Forbes Midas List for the past nine years, and in 2004, was named Forbes’ “number one venture capitalist,” based on his performance over the last decade. In 2006, he was presented with a Global Leadership award from NASSCOM.

The Kellogg Impact Series is a sequence of global events designed to foster lifelong learning and engage the Kellogg community in discussions on the future of business, innovation, leadership and society. Previous conferences were held in London (Feb. 8), Chicago (Feb. 19) and Hong Kong (March 19-20). The fifth and final conference in the series will take place on June 3 in New York City. For more information, visit the Kellogg Impact Series website.