Entrepreneur of the Year

Kevin O’Connor

Award Sponsor: Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf

Kevin O’Connor of ScOp Venture Capital bridges both sides of the technology industry with over 35 years of combined experience as a serial entrepreneur and venture investor. A co-founder and investor in several successful companies, including a number that went public or were acquired by Google, IBM, and Amazon, Kevin spends his life solving problems. He created his first invention at age 14 to electrocute a raccoon that had been ransacking his Michigan neighborhood. Fortunately, he did not kill the raccoon, and after this somewhat inglorious start both the raccoon and Kevin moved on to more productive ventures.

Kevin co-founded and was CEO of the Internet advertising company DoubleClick, which Google acquired in 2007. Riding the Internet boom, DoubleClick rapidly expanded in five years to over 2,500 people in 25 countries. While in college, Kevin founded his first company, Intercomputer Communications Corporation, which was acquired by DCA. Kevin made his first venture investment in Internet Security Systems (ISS), which went public and was acquired by IBM. In Santa Barbara, Kevin founded and served as CEO of Graphiq (formerly FindTheBest), which Amazon acquired in 2017 in order to make Alexa the most intelligent personal assistant in the world.

As a venture capitalist, Kevin has invested in companies such as Procore, Surfline, HG Data, HeyTutor, and MeetUp, among others. He and his son, Cormac, recently started ScOp Venture Capital, focusing on technology companies with scalable opportunities; their ideal investments are Southern California companies that fill a fundamental need in an efficient way.

Kevin relishes helping other entrepreneurs solve problems. He frequently lectures at the UCSB Technology Management Program and has spoken to countless student groups, including those at Harvard, Columbia, Michigan, and local high schools. Author of the book Map of Innovation: Creating Something from Nothing, Kevin is currently distilling his innovation technique for the software product TeamStormIt.com.

Kevin attended Detroit Catholic Central, where he was a wrestler and pole vaulter. He then obtained a B.S. in electrical engineering with honors from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. However, Kevin claims he also received a valuable informal M.B.A. as a wrestling coach for Cincinnati Moeller High School.

Father to Cormac, Kian, and Maeve, Kevin settled his family in Santa Barbara in 2001. He served on the board of their school, Crane Country Day, and continued to coach many local sporting teams. As a result of his belief in the transformative power of education and sports, Kevin’s philanthropic interests primarily involve those causes.