#EngineerGirlShow highlights amazing women in engineering to inspire the next generation. This series was produced by George Retelas with his digital art students at SAE Institute.
Watch an interview with Leslie Bottorff from GE Ventures in Menlo Park, California.
What type of projects do you do in your job now?
To go out and look at startup companies, that’s entrepreneurs, people who started companies and invented a medical device or a medical software or some inventions. And so what I do is I evaluate them for investment and then I invest money in them, and then I will go on the board or be a board observer and be an advisor to that company to help them be successful and help them grow up.
What got you interested in this field?
I like this program that was called the Six Million Dollar Man which was a kind of a science fiction where they had fixed this man up was also some biomechanical parts, and I thought that that was really cool and I decided that I was going to go design the six million dollar man. And so I went to engineering school to be able to do that and studied biomedical engineering.
What college did you go to and what degrees do you have?
So I went to Purdue University, that's in Indiana and that was for my undergrad and I got a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary engineering mostly with a biomedical concentration. And I got an MBA from Harvard Business School and i think that the engineering degree for me, I never actually was a practicing engineer after I graduated college. I went into sales and marketing because I like that better it was a more social activity and I felt like that's where my skill sets were. But that engineering degree, it was, it helped me immensely. It was a badge of honor. It was the credibility issuance that I knew what I was talking about and be able to understand working with doctors and hospitals, and then in the last 17 years I've been in the venture capital business a real confidence and really understanding what entrepreneurs are developing, what hospitals need, what doctors need, and really being able to pick that out very quickly because of that background that I had in biomedical engineering. So I so much appreciate it and I'm so glad that I stuck with it even though it was very hard at times.
So I'm interested in the biomedical field because I want to help people, and one of the people that I'd like to help is my best friend who has diabetes, so I want to somehow be able to create a synthetic pancreas that would get rid of people's diabetes. Do you think that would, like any companies would be interested in that?
I think that every company would be interested, and if you can do it it's a holy grail, I will tell you! There are many companies working on what they're calling the artificial pancreas concept and there's a lot of different angles they're going at it with, from electrical stimulation to implantable little implantable cell machines to all sorts of things, and somebody is going to do that and I hope it's going to be you and help your friend! But you can do that if you want to do it and boy, it’d be huge. It’s a great idea.
Thank you. So last question, can I please have a hug?
Yes, you can have a hug!