David Ahlers

David Ahlers, Ph.D. is a consultant to the SCF Start-up Team. In addition, he is currently a director of Primet Precision Materials and an advisory board member for M&T Bank, Cornell’s Life Science initiative and Cornell’s Office of Economic Development Coordination Committee. He was a founding member and chairman of the first Cayuga Venture Fund (CVF – a member-managed LLC) and co-managing principal and executive director of CVF II (a manager-managed LLC). The two CVF funds have been responsible for the direct investment of over 60 million dollars in regional high tech businesses and over 200 million dollars plus 300 high tech jobs when investments by national venture capital funds in CVF deals are included. The IRR for CVF I was 60% during the turbulent market conditions from 1996 – 2002. Adding to this performance is the remarkable fact that CVF funds have yet to have a portfolio company fail. During this period, Dr. Ahlers was a director of Pathlight Technologies, Silicon Video and Viral Therapeutics. The Finger Lakes Entrepreneurs Forum, of which he is a member, presented him with the R. Davis Cutting Award in 2006. This award is presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to assisting entrepreneurs in the Central New York region.

During 2006, Dr. Ahlers was active in regional economic development as a member of the Tompkins County Area Development Steering Committee to produce an economic development strategy for the county. He was also a fuse 2006 conference panelist for University Technology Transfer and the moderator for Manufacturing Innovation in Central New York. Additionally, by Governor Pataki's appointment, Dr. Ahlers served as a board member of the New York State Project Finance Agency.

A former Cornell tenured professor and holder of the Berens Chair of Entrepreneurial Management at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management, Dr. Ahlers taught the first entrepreneurial courses at Cornell in the late 70’s. While at Cornell, he was a director of: (i) the Johnson School's Executive Development Program; (ii) the Cornell Research Foundation, which marketed all Cornell intellectual property; (iii) Student Agencies, a privately funded corporation which helps enterprising Cornell students run businesses in order to work their way through Cornell; and (iv) CBORD, a high tech food and access management firm started by a former student and now a major international business. He was a personal seed investor in CBORD as well. During his 12 years on the Johnson School faculty, Professor Ahlers was selected by the MBA student body to receive Cornell's Excellence in Teaching award. He was also honored by Touche Ross for his innovations in business education during their first national recognition of significant contributions to American business enterprise.

He received his Ph.D. as a Ford Foundation Fellow from Carnegie Mellon University where he undertook an unusual joint program in management and computer science. His Ph.D. dissertation on the evaluation of the pension fund management system installed by Dr. Ahlers and his staff when he was a vice president of Bankers Trust Company was cited by the Institute of Management Science as one of the eight best applications of management science in practice in their first annual competition. Dr. Ahlers also holds two master’s degrees, one in industrial administration from Carnegie Mellon and a second in operations research from the University of Washington. His bachelor's degree is in physics from Ohio State University. He was a recipient of the Cox newspaper boy four year, full scholarship at the Phillips Exeter Academy.