CEO, Excell Partners Inc
Years in current role: 16
What was your biggest success in 2021?
This past year our company, Excell, successfully recruited a biotech company, which has a promising cure for MS, from Israel to Rochester. They were drawn to Rochester because of the talent and reputation of the UR Medical Center. The entire community rallied to support this company- GRE, Empire State Development, NY Ventures, Senior Staff at UR and the Medical Center. Local investors contributed to a $10 million fundraising campaign. As a result, we now have a biotech company that has the potential to bring medical tourism to Rochester for individuals in the US & Canada seeking treatment for MS.
What are your expectations for 2022?
In 2022 I hope to capitalize on the momentum we currently have by looking to raise a Medical Angel Fund in the region that will focus on life sciences and, in particular, Healthcare IT, which is one of the pillars identified as an asset by the Finger Lakes Regional Council.
What is your biggest takeaway from dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic?
Winston Churchill is quoted as saying: “Kites rise highest against the wind”. The Power of Resiliency was my biggest takeaway from the pandemic. I experienced this firsthand with my staff who, when the pandemic sent us to shelter, literally leaned into the chaos and rapidly created a virtual environment that has made our lives completely seamless. I saw the CEOs of our portfolio companies respond instantly to the rapid change. Yes, some companies failed but an equal number found creative ways to pivot and weather the storm, and some even beat the storm coming out stronger than before. And throughout it all everyone managed to maintain a positive attitude and a commitment to persevere.
What is your favorite thing about the Rochester community?
My favorite thing about Rochester is that with all its brain power, talents, assets and culture, it holds the promise of a bright future for all of us.
If time were no issue, what would you do to help the community that you aren’t already doing?
I would work to promote entrepreneurship at all levels both within the schools, universities and urban and suburban communities. Why? Two reasons: One, it would enhance a culture of innovation that has always been dominant in Rochester. Two, entrepreneurship is a “can-do” sport, and this can-do spirit engenders core values and tends to promote self-esteem.
This profile is part of Rochester Business Journal's Power 100 list for 2022. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at rbj.net.