Innovation Works Hires New Chief Strategy Operations Officer to Support Growth and Expanded Services
Pittsburgh, PA – March 2, 2023 – Innovation Works is pleased to announce that Kirk Botula is joining the team as Chief Strategy Operations Officer. Kirk will help to set the overall strategy and oversee the execution of Innovation Works’ accelerator and seed programs, focusing on entrepreneurial and platform programs designed to support startup companies in the region.
Kirk joins Innovation Works at an exciting time of growth and expansion. Innovation Works has expanded its programmatic scope and increased its investment capacity to further support companies and entrepreneurs. In effect:
- Increase in investment volumes and check sizes for accelerator and seed programs
- Programmatic expansion and customization (vertical focused, cohort-based, rolling-based)
- Platform service delivery model that allows entrepreneurs to easily access support services such as customer, mentor and investor networks.
In addition to oversight of the various programs to expand IW’s investment and support services to companies in software, hardware and life sciences, the Chief Strategy Operations Officer will support programmatic expansion with the rollout of the Robotics Factory, Innovation Works’ program within the $63-million Build Back Better Regional Challenge. The Robotics Factory will create, accelerate and scale companies in the robotics and adjacent sectors so they address industry-defined issues and start and grow in the Pittsburgh region.
“We are excited to bring Kirk onto our team,” said Ven Raju, President & CEO of Innovation Works. “Innovation Works has never been more vital to the economic growth of tech startups in Southwestern PA. As IW continues to support a rapidly evolving regional tech ecosystem with increased investment, expanded programs, and easily accessible support services – Kirk brings a wealth of experience and the requisite skill sets as a seasoned operator to effectively shepherd the range of new initiatives. Further, Kirk inherently understands the entrepreneur’s journey, having started, scaled and exited a number of prominent startups in the region.”
Kirk comes to Innovation Works with a wide-ranging background leading operations of a successful software company, as an angel investor, and as the founder of an organization to increase the productivity of software and systems engineering operations. Kirk served as President of Confluence, a Pittsburgh-based global software company providing data-driven tools for the asset management industry. Among other leadership roles, as founder and CEO, Kirk launched the CMMI Institute, a university spin-out promoting the adoption and benchmarking of best practices for software and related technology companies, and led it through a successful strategic acquisition. As CEO of Total Bank Solutions, a financial technology and services company, Kirk led the company through a founder transition and acquisition by private equity.
“I’m thrilled to join Innovation Works at this time of organizational growth, where we can have more impact than ever before,” said Kirk Botula. “As someone who has experienced the challenges of being both an entrepreneur and an investor, I deeply understand the need for support that founders require. With the exceptional team at IW, I am honored to have the opportunity to serve alongside them and help contribute to the economic flourishing of our region.”
About Innovation Works
Innovation Works (IW) is the Pittsburgh region’s most active investor in and supporter of early-stage companies developing hardware, software and life sciences technologies. Though focused exclusively on helping startups in the southwest PA region, IW’s level of investment activity makes it one of the most active investors in the U.S. Innovation Works is part of the statewide Ben Franklin Technology Partners, a network of four centers developed to help diversify PA’s economy and retain the state’s high caliber innovations that are invented and incubated here. The Ben Franklin Technology Partners are partially funded by the Commonwealth of PA and overseen by the Department of Community and Economic Development. To date, IW has financially supported over 700 companies that have brought in an additional $3.3 billion in outside funding to Southwest PA, making it one of the most productive uses of state dollars.
CONTACT: TERRI GLUECK