By Sarah Mauet
While experienced startup professionals often use the phrase “taking a leap” to describe entrepreneurship, when Dan Janes says it, he also could be referring to his experience jumping out of airplanes.
Dan, the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program’s new Mentor in Residence, is not only a successful entrepreneur, startup advisor and angel investor, he also received parachute training in the military. Much as jumping successfully out of a plane requires preparation, practice and a plan, so does entrepreneurship.
“The military taught me about leadership, organization and developing processes. Everything is done in small units and the focus is on innovation and leadership,” he said. “Starting a business is the same in many ways.”
While his military experience was a good foundation for the hard work and discipline necessary to run a business, Dan also credits going to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was there on Sept. 11, 2001 and his career as a military intelligence officer included deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.
After the military, Dan went to work at the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency, but they did not have the same excitement as the military, so he joined a startup. He then took his entrepreneurial leap when he bought out part of the company to co-found 42six Solutions, a big data and analytics that he later sold to Computer Sciences Corporation in 2012.
Owning a small business made Dan realize that he would rather work at a new venture than a large company, so when he moved to Tucson to be closer to family (his wife, Crystal, is an Arizona native and Eller graduate), he got involved with the local startup scene. For the past few years, Dan has worked as a mentor and advisor for Startup Tucson, Tech Launch Arizona, and IdeaFunding, and is on the board of Desert Angels. Dan enjoys helping people prepare to take the leap into entrepreneurship and is looking forward to helping develop the next generation of entrepreneurs.
“I have a passion for helping to build great teams that deliver something new to customers,” he said. “I have had the privilege of working with great teams and people in the military, 42six, and throughout my career. I’m really excited to work with the McGuire teams to build the future.”
Dan’s background, community involvement, and dedication to mentoring has prepared him well for his new role, said McGuire Entrepreneurship Program Director Patricia Sias.
“Dan is the perfect addition to the McGuire Program team,” Sias said. “His entrepreneurial experience and connections within the startup community will be a huge asset to our students. We are thrilled to have him join us as a Mentor in Residence.”
Top image of McGuire class of ’15 at the annual McGuire on the Mall event by Sarah Mauet.