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Augen Loosens the Tie and Sizes Up a Startup

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“You’re probably wondering why I did this,” says Jeff Augen, speaking about his recent decision to leave a cushy post as worldwide director of strategy for IBM’s life science unit for his new job as president of New Haven, Conn.-based TurboWorx.

It turns out that, even post-dot-com crash, startup fever is contagious: While working with the smaller company under an alliance the two firms formed in the spring, Augen, whose previous experience was at EDS and Compaq, says he was simply won over by the company’s potential and felt the urge “to do something more entrepreneurial.”

Now splitting his time between Turbo- Worx (formerly TurboGenomics), a new post as entrepreneur-in-residence at investment bank Trautman, Wasserman & Co., and writing a textbook on post-genomic computational biology for science publisher Addison-Wesley, Augen says, “the first week has been pretty interesting.”

While running lean and keeping the company’s burn rate down, “we don’t plan to keep the revenue small,” he says. Sizing up the market for the type of parallelized workflow management software TurboWorx provides at “tens of billions of dollars,” Augen says he expects the company to capture “a few percent share of that market,” reaching the hundred-million-dollar range within the next five years — and that getting there will involve implementing key aspects of the IBM credo, such as forging partnerships rather than doing everything in-house.

— Bernadette Toner

 

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