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Hadapt Cofounder Justin Borgman ’15 Discusses High Tech Entrepreneurship with Yale Alumni

Justin Borgman ’15, cofounder and former CEO of Hadapt, gave Yale alumni an inside look at the competitive, fast-changing world of high-tech entrepreneurship when he spoke at an event showcasing the entrepreneurial spirit at Yale.

Borgman and his Hadapt cofounder, Daniel Abadi, an associate professor of computer science, were part of a three-day lineup of speakers from across the university who shared their professional stories during the Association of Yale Alumni’s annual assembly, November 13-15.

Borgman was a first-year MBA student at the Yale School of Management in 2010, when he cofounded big-data-analytics company Hadapt. He left Yale SOM to focus full-time on the company, before selling it to Teradata—where he remains a vice president and general manager—earlier this year. Borgman returned to Yale SOM this year to complete his MBA.

Abadi and Borgman gave alumni an overview of Hadapt’s founding, describing out the assistance they received early on from Yale’s Office of Cooperative Research, through which they met, and from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, where they honed their business plan and made connections.

Today, the high-tech space is truly a moving target, Borgman said, and entrepreneurs must be flexible and ready to adapt to changes in both technology and in business models. The proliferation of open-source software is one major factor impacting the sector, he said: “It’s changing the business model of how vendors make money in this process when there is so much more free software.”

Abadi and Borgman suggested that, to better position Yale startups and encourage investment in New Haven, the University should streamline its research commercial licensing process and get more projects in the pipeline faster. “Yale has so many strengths when it comes to starting a company,” Borgman said. “And we’re on an upward trajectory. We need to take advantage of that.”

Abadi said that Yale has strong collaboration across schools and a rich diversity of research efforts with commercial potential. “We have top-notch departments all over the university,” Abadi said “The Yale brand draws good people.”

New Haven is ideally located, between Boston and New York City, to grow as a tech hub, Borgman said. “Yale is going through a metamorphosis, moving into tech entrepreneurship. It’s an exciting time to be here.”