Deep Dive

Taking risk in your career with Jorge Torres

Published on
April 2, 2024
Matthew Gira
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One of my favorite parts in talking to innovators is that their pathways are rarely linear.

Jorge Torres is one of those innovators.

Jorge has always been around innovation, but it’s looked different in different stages of his career. He started out studying science at Yale, became a patent attorney, then a venture capitalist aka a VC, and eventually found himself back at Yale teaching venture capital 101.

There’s a lot of good discussion in this episode. We talk about how people have affected every step of Jorge’s journey, diversity in venture capital, and how impactful Jorge’s teaching is.

Without further ado, here is my conversation with Jorge Torres:

Here are some snippets from my conversation with Jorge Torres:

Note: these answers are summaries and are cleaned up to be easier to read. Full answers can be found in the full episode!

Before you even stepped foot on campus at Yale, was there any early influences that really set you on this trajectory towards innovation work?

I always liked science. I was the science nerd. Even though innovation is broad, it encompasses much more than science. If you like science, you're someone keen on innovation and well suited for that work.

Science was my favorite subject in school. Going into college and law school, I wanted to be around scientists and keep up with the latest in biophysics, my favorite in school. In law school, I did pro bono work with entrepreneur Ben Durant, helping with his intellectual property strategy for a business plan competition at Wharton, which we won. Working with Ben was formative; I saw what it's like to work in a team and have tangible success quickly.

Even though I went to law school during the dot-com bubble, working with Ben's team made me want to work with entrepreneurs more and be part of their journey

Did you think about tying your entrepreneurial experiences with your science background?

In college, I started a science organization focused on underrepresented students' research. But I didn't connect science and innovation until law school. The tech frenzy in the late '90s, like Netscape's launch, and the Microsoft antitrust case in law school, made me see the potential in entrepreneurship. Working with Ben at a business plan competition solidified my interest in helping innovators bring ideas to market. That's been the consistent theme in my career.

When you're done with this work, what impact do you hope to have?

I train investors and startup joiners to be better partners for entrepreneurs. I want my students to enable startup success and be selective in their partnerships, especially with investors. I teach young, ambitious people to take more risks in their careers, guiding them to consider entrepreneurship even if they start later. My goal is for my students to have the confidence and skills to take calculated risks and create impactful changes in their lives.

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