University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate Jack O’Holleran will give an alumni presentation at 2 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Nebraska Union Auditorium as part of the College of Business Administration’s Business Week.
O’Holleran, a former Husker football player turned entrepreneur, will speak about his experiences starting as “the lowest man on the totem pole” and working his way up to co-founder and vice president of business development at Aktana, a San Francisco-based software company.
Prior to the alumni presentation, O’Holleran will be the Entrepreneur in Residence at UNL Center for Entrepreneurship, 1320 Q St. Students are invited to join him for a free pizza lunch and discussion from noon to 1:15 p.m.
After his 2005 graduation, O’Holleran started his career at a hot venture capital funded startup in Santa Clara, California, making cold calls. He moved to the top of the sales ranks and eventually was promoted to a business development role leading key strategic alliances and product strategy. In 2008, he and colleagues founded Aktana and transformed it into a global leader in sales analytics software. Aktana has been selected twice to the JMP Securities’ 2011 Hot 100 list of best privately held software companies.
“We now have a customer list that includes many top Fortune 500 companies. We raised over $10 million in venture capital and have offices in Tokyo, New York City and San Francisco,” he said. “What makes me most proud, though, is to have been a part of a team that took something from an idea to reality.”
A North Platte native, O’Holleran credits his time at UNL for the ability to succeed in a startup culture. Recruited to play football for the Cornhuskers – his parents, aunt, uncles and grandfather all graduated from UNL – he earned two varsity letters and was twice awarded first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors.
“Balancing classes at CBA with the workload and stress of playing for the football team helped me mentally and emotionally prepare for the world of venture capital backed startups. They require a lot of time and effort. It is not a 9-to-5 operation,” he said.
Learning the dynamics of international business helped prepare O’Holleran for foreign markets, where the culture and process was very different. He has been to Tokyo more than 30 times in the last four years.
“I’ve been fortunate to be able to take on new challenges and spend time around the world since starting my company. My favorite place, though, is still Nebraska. I’m proud to be from Nebraska and to have graduated from CBA,” he said.
B-Week is an annual celebration of CBA and its community. Originating in 1921 as BizAd Day, B-Week is sponsored by Union Pacific and coordinated by the CBA Student Advisory Board.