Exact Sciences CEO Conroy Talks Growth, Foxconn, Startups & More

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that downtown building may have ended up being too small for us and we would’ve needed [more space]. Looking back, it’s probably fortuitous in that we’re going to need more space than that would have supported.

X: Earlier today, we heard the story of Promentis Pharmaceuticals, which is seeking to bring drugs to market based on technology licensed from Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Given Wisconsin’s struggles with startups, could programs focused on supporting technology transfer and efforts to commercialize existing research move the needle when it comes to high-growth startups here?

KC: Yeah, it could move the needle. I think we need more money focused on getting these concepts that are sitting in university research labs. [Funding, even as little as] $200,000 can help get proof of concept so you can go out and get an angel round done or a Series A round done.

We need different classes of venture capital. The state really should not miss this opportunity because of what could come out the back end.

If this state is going to put $4 billion into between 3,000 and 13,000 jobs [at a planned Foxconn display-manufacturing plant in southeastern Wisconsin], it certainly can help seed a multi-hundred million dollar fund or funds that will help grow over a 10- or 20-year period [and create] great-paying jobs.

It’s illogical for Wisconsin to lag Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, even Illinois, in access to entrepreneurial capital. But we do.

X: Have you ever considered or been encouraged to run for political office?

KC: I have considered it, and I decided not to.

X: Is that something you’re not ruling out in the future?

KC: I would never say never. But I’m focused now and for the foreseeable future on the job that I love.

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