OwlSpark | Rice University Startup Accelerator | PeopleWise: Michael Kane
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PeopleWise: Michael Kane

Michael Kane has the success story that many entrepreneurs strive for. Although Kane didn’t grow up with entrepreneurship in mind, he found a successful career in his first company, Caltius Capital Management, that he’s been with for 21 years. Michael is also a trusted OwlSpark advisor and gracious donor.

Kane attended George Washington University for two years before transferring to Rice University in pursuit of a tight-knit community. And Rice proved to be the right place for him. Kane graduated with an undergraduate degree in Economics and went on to achieve his MBA and Masters in Accounting at the Jones Graduate School of Business.

Kane spent part of his early career in larger companies like General Electric, but he was still looking for an opportunity for self-made success. In 1997, he and two other friends started a Los Angeles based private equity firm with a goal to provide junior debt and minority equity to lower middle market companies. Spurred by “the desire to be successful and the chance to do something you really want to and believe in,” Kane and his partners founded Caltius Capital Management. To this day, Kane is working at Caltius Capital and continuing to cultivate the vision of a collaborative, entrepreneurial team that partners with portfolio company owners, investors and their professional community.

You take the risk in the hope of being successful, which is what I would assume all startups and founders are trying to do.

Since it was founded by Kane and his partners in 1997, Caltius Capital Management has grown significantly in its success. Taking that first venture into entrepreneurship proved to pay off. With the success Caltius found, Kane found room to venture into other areas of entrepreneurship, including an interest in startup angel investment. Six years ago, Kane started “getting intrigued with startups and trying to help other younger people with their entrepreneurial desires. So I made my first angel investment. And I’ve now done 37 investments personally outside of my job at Caltius Capital.” These startup investments span a wide breadth of industries and about a third of those have at least one female founder. One of those startups even came out of OwlSpark!

Kane considers Rice and OwlSpark nurturing alumni and students to start their own companies and get invested into entrepreneurship good for the Rice and Houston community as a whole. With his valuable experience and insight into entrepreneurship, Kane has this advice for founders:

I would encourage founders at OwlSpark that if they really want to go for it, then understand it’s going to take time, effort, and there’s going to be bumps to cross over. Ask yourself, do you have the drive to do that? Most won’t find success, but you’ve got to try.
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