In the summer of 2016 I made the “we’re not in California anymore” move from Oakland to Cookeville, Tennessee. During my 10 years in the Bay Area I’d developed a career in commercialization, leading technology partnerships at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Lab while moonlighting in renewable energy and biotech startups. I left Lawrence Livermore in ’16 to lead intellectual property efforts at a venture-backed pharma company. In parallel, I launched Rockridge Venture Law®.
Rockridge is at heart a founders’ firm. After law school my first job was with a biomass energy conversion startup, and to supplement the low pay + equity position I sold sandwiches from a street cart. I took random gigs from Craigslist like excavating basements in East Oakland. Newly married with law school debt, I literally dug trenches to make it happen. The sense of dedication and purpose I developed in that grimy Oakland underbelly would see me through successes in entrepreneurship, law, and civic service.
Fast forwarding to January 2017, I led Rockridge from a windowless, mixed-use 96 sq. ft. office space in Cookeville, Tennessee, with thin walls separating me from a newlywed couple. I offered intellectual property services to a rural, largely uninterested community. I was the only patent attorney within the surrounding 13 counties…for a reason. And still I hustled and persevered to realize my vision.