“I think that luck plays a big part in everyone’s life,” said Irwin Federman, general partner at U.S. Venture Partners. “One’s life is really enhanced by the humility of being grateful. I was lucky. You are lucky to be born in America.”
Federman was addressing the senior class at Hawaii Preparatory Academy as the first speaker in the school’s Leadership Speaker Series. The series, funded by Perry Olson of Atherton Lane Advisers LLC, and organized by Rea Callender of InterSchola, brings inspirational men and women to campus to share their experience with students.
Federman, who grew up in poverty, was the first college graduate in his family. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Brooklyn College and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering Science from Santa Clara University. He serves as a trustee of the San Francisco Ballet and Brooklyn College.
Federman was chief executive officer of Monolithic Memories, leading the firm’s investments in successful startups such as Cypress Semiconductor, Xilinx and Altera. During his tenure as CEO, he spearheaded MMI’s turnaround from virtual bankruptcy to a $250 million revenue organization.
He is former chairman for the Semiconductor Industry Association and served as a board member of the National Venture Capital Association. He was a founding or lead investor in BeVocal, Blue Martini, Check Point Software Technologies, Centillium Communications, Crescendo Communications, Mellanox Technologies, MMC Networks, NeoMagic, Netro, Nuance Communications, Quick Logic, SanDisk, and TelCom Semiconductor.
In sharing advice with the HPA seniors, Federman said, “The wrong thing is the wrong thing no matter who does it.
“Real strength is being able to be the last person standing.”