April 21st – 2017 – CHICAGO (New York Times)
For 35 years, Gregory D. Wasson worked at Walgreens, eventually presiding over some of the drugstore chain’s biggest deals as its chief executive.
Now he is working on a smaller scale to build up new companies.
Mr. Wasson’s family investment office and a team of entrepreneurs have a new project, Innventure, which aims to develop businesses around new technologies lent by big corporations. Innventure’s first partner, expected to be announced on Friday, is Procter & Gamble.
Mr. Wasson is joining forces with a group led by Michael Otworth, whose previous business, also called Innventure, will now be run as a joint venture with Mr. Wasson’s family office, Wasson Enterprise. Mr. Wasson will serve as chairman and Mr. Otworth as chief executive.
It is the latest career turn for Mr. Wasson, who left Walgreens in 2014 after the company finished its merger with a European counterpart, Alliance Boots. After retiring, he set up Wasson Enterprise to provide angel investments in health and retail start-ups.
“Innventure will identify the opportunities, create a company, nurture it, then put in a management team to where it stands on its own — and then we move on,” Mr. Wasson said in an interview.
It is a corporate incubator of sorts. But Mr. Wasson said that Innventure’s management team had both the insight to identify commercially viable technologies furnished by Procter & Gamble — and any future partners — as well as the know-how to create flourishing businesses. That approach, he said, reduced the risk that accompanied any start-up.
“What I think is most interesting is that we’re looking to help leverage their powerful R. & D. machine with our nimble entrepreneur team to identify the opportunities that they have developed,” he said.
In return, Innventure will have a stake in any companies it creates.
The venture already has one new business based on a Procter & Gamble technology: PureCycle Technologies, which aims to reuse polypropylene plastic more efficiently than current approaches allow. In particular, it allows for the material to be recycled without any residual odor or color.