Andrea Kokolis, who has spent her career in the technology sector helping start-up and early stage companies develop and achieve growth objectives and execute against exit strategies, was named the University of New Hampshire’s Paul J. Hollway Entrepreneur of the Year.
Kokolis, who has close ties to Manchester and Durham and currently resides in Shelburne, Vermont, has been involved in 15 mergers, acquisitions and IPOs, putting programs in place to support these successful exits. Most of her career has tracked the pattern of “join early, scale, and exit.” She is currently consulting with several startups where she is focused on developing investment opportunities and mentoring several entrepreneurs.
Kokolis has sought out smaller companies with strong product potential and has been key in sourcing and developing the necessary talent to support whole product development and release. Her skills have led to hiring highly skilled management teams—she quips “that a product can be great, but without the right team to sell and support it, success won’t come.” From her perspective, the right management team is as critical as the right product/market fit.
Most recently, Kokolis was a key management team member in the following companies that achieved successful exits: Newforma, Granite Systems, NuMega Technologies and Powersoft. She currently teaches in UNH’s Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics MBA program and in the Grossman School of Business at the University of Vermont. She serves as an advisor to the student-run Rines Angel Fund at UNH and is a long-time judge in the Holloway Prize Competition.
Kokolis earned her undergraduate degree and MBA from UNH and served on the UNH Alumni Board. Her three sons also attended UNH.