Jonathan Murray

Jonathan Murray

Semi-Finalist Judge

jonathan-murrayJonathan Murray has followed a bumblebee’s path through American business. After double-majoring in English Literature and Biology, he experimented with careers in journalism in Washington, D.C. and in advertising with major agencies in New York. Journalism was a good place to learn interviewing, writing, and analytical skills, but an observer’s job.

Leaving Washington to gain exposure to business in New York was a good move, but Jonathan decided that he wanted to move from executing marketing programs to developing business strategies. “ I wanted to be the dog, not the tail.” He applied to a number of top business schools and went to the best one that accepted him, the University of Michigan. While there, he founded his first business and discovered a love of entrepreneurship. The next logical move was, Silicon Valley, to which he decamped after receiving his MBA.

Ten years in Silicon Valley included a successful 7-year stint at Spectra Laboratories, where he headed marketing and software development. The Company was purchased in 2007 by Fresenius Medical Care for $140 million. Jonathan was then recruited to be President of Volk Optical, in Cleveland—a job that didn’t work out but returned him to the Midwest, where he has lived ever since. In 2001 he co-founded Early Stage Partners, an early stage venture capital fund that invested $100 million from two funds. Successful investments include TOA Technologies, bought by Oracle, and OnShift, one of Cleveland’s leading technology up-and-comers.

In 2014 Jonathan joined Draper Triangle, opened the firm’s Michigan office, and relocated to Michigan.