IVCA Profile: Christopher B. Galvin, Recipient of the 2018 Richard J. Daley Award at the  upcoming IVCA Awards Dinner

November 21, 2018

The 2018 IVCA Awards Dinner is coming soon... December 3rd at the Four Seasons Hotel... and the recipients of those upcoming awards have been named. The Richard J. Daley Award – which honors individuals who have given extraordinary support or advocacy to the Venture Capital and Private Equity industries – will be presented to Christopher B. Galvin, one of the area’s most accomplished investors and business executives, with an outstanding record of public and philanthropic leadership both locally and nationally. 

Christopher Galvin’s family was rooted in Motorola, Inc., the legendary telecom company. His grandfather Paul Galvin founded the company, and his father Robert served as CEO from 1959 to 1990. After working his early career in the company, he then served as CEO from 1999 through 2004, during a period of restructuring – his turnaround strategy was one of the most successful in tech history – and unprecedented growth. 

After Motorola, he served as Chairman (2004-2008) of Navteq Inc., a major provider of digital mapping databases, and delivered a 255% positive return to investors at the time of the IPO and sale to Nokia. He also was an investor in and Chairman of Cleversafe Inc., a digital storage company that became one of the most successful start-ups in Illinois, was sold to IBM for more than $1.5 billion dollars, and was named IVCA Venture Capital Company of the Year in 2016.

In 2005, he co-founded Harrison Street Real Estate Capital LLC, a real estate private equity firm focused on investing in sectors of the market including Senior Living, Student Housing, Medical Office and Self Storage. Also serving as Chairman and CEO, he oversaw about $15 billion in assets before selling a majority interest to Colliers International in 2018. He also founded Gore Creek Asset Management LLC, which has become a large wealth management and investment company. Galvin also serves or has served on the boards of UniqueSoft LLC (Chairman), Bechtel Corporation and MCR-Aerodyne Inc.

His non-profit work is equally impressive. He has served on the board of Rand Corporation, the American Enterprise Institute and the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, among others, and has been a Chairman of the U.S./China Business Council, the Illinois/Michigan Rhodes Scholar selection Committee and the U.S. Department of Defense Science Board. 

Christopher Galvin is also a Trustee, and member of the Investments Committee, for Northwestern University for many years (he is an alumni and received his BA and MBA from the school). He and his family has made major financial commitments to the Kellogg School of Management to support graduate business education and to encourage entrepreneurship initiatives. 

Two colleagues submitted the nomination of Christopher Galvin for the Daley Award, Lee M. Mitchell of Thoma Bravo and Tony Palcheck of Zebra Ventures. Palcheck offered this in the nomination, “Chris is a gentleman, a leader, a visionary and a true supporter of all things Chicago. He leads with patience, respect, and a commitment to the future. His legacy is felt well beyond Motorola as the group he supported included two former Daley Award winners, Warren Holtsberg and Jim O’Connor.” 

The IVCA got the opportunity to get some insight from Christopher Galvin himself, in the following Q&A profile.
IVCA:How has you background at Motorola helped to inform the types of investments you make and the boards you decide to join?  

Christopher Galvin: Most of my business philosophies and approaches are derived from my grandfather... Paul Galvin founder of Motorola Inc., and also my father Bob Galvin, who was the second-generation CEO. I am attracted to ideas that most people disregard as not in favor of, or as too risky.

IVCA:You’ve proven your abilities and success many times over... with Navteq, with Cleversafe, and with Harrison Street, among others. What is your approach towards the companies and the management teams you back? 

Galvin: As noted, I seek out ideas that find themselves or are positioned as ‘minority opinions.’ Or we create something that when we first describe it, most people respond ‘that will never work.’

IVCA:You have made many contributions to our civic, academic and philanthropic organizations.  How have you decided to focus on the organizations you’ve worked to promote and support?  What criteria do you use to decide to get involved... is it based on the industry, the stage of the people? 

Galvin: I gravitate towards think tanks, and people who are focusing toward the future. But maybe my greatest interest is in higher education, through my work with Northwestern University, the University of Virginia and others.
IVCA:As the 2018 recipient of the IVCA Richard J. Daley Award, what does it mean to you to be honored by your peers in the Venture Capital and Private Equity industries?

Galvin: I am honored and humbled to be recognized by my peers in the Venture Capital and Private Equity community, for the accomplishments achieved since leaving my role at Motorola.

For more information regarding the 2018 IVCA Annual Awards Dinner, click ww.illinoisvc.org/featured-event-2014-ivca-annual-awards-dinner