A Reluctant Entrepreneur Bringing Bioinformatics Startup to San Diego

2/24/09Follow @bvbigelow

A couple of years ago, Peter Dresslar saw an opportunity to start his own company when he was working as an information science consultant for a big corporation he describes only as the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company. Now Dresslar is the 38-year-old CEO of a software analytics company with plans to move to San Diego, joining the region’s expanding concentration of software analytics companies.

But the Michigan resident is not a typical startup CEO. If anything, he’s a reluctant entrepreneur.

“I kind of liked the corporate life,” Dresslar told me over a breakfast last week at the Cottage in La Jolla. “I don’t really like this startup business, with no real HR.” Don’t get him wrong. “It’s not that I don’t want to be an entrepreneur—I really believe in the business,” Dresslar says. “It’s just that there are aspects of running a small business that are not my cup of tea.”

Aside from yearning for a full-fledged human resources department, there are the frequent the frequent treks across time zones. Dresslar estimates he’s racked up more than 400,000 miles over the past decade, including almost-weekly flights between his home in Ann Arbor and the software development office in La Jolla.

That will probably change in coming months. The company he founded, Torrey Path, is in late-stage due diligence with two venture capital firms. If he gets funding, Dresslar plans to expand the business, which will presumably include someone to handle payroll, benefits, and other pesky HR issues, at his soon-to-be corporate headquarters in La Jolla. Either way, he plans to relocate his family to San Diego after his kids finish school in Ann Arbor. That should eliminate much of his air travel. All of which should enable Dresslar to spend more time on what he’s really interested in, which is information technology and bio-informatics.

Dresslar founded Torrey Path because he saw how to provide complex scientific data to life science companies—along with analytical software tools that customers could use to extract information that would be really useful to them.

Dresslar says he and his immediate family have funded the company so far.

So how did a guy from Michigan come up with a quintessential San Diego name for his company? “We were trying for something not-too-techie sounding that was evocative on a few levels,” he says. “It certainly didn’t take me many visits to fall in love … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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