John H. Martinson had a lifelong passion for all things related to math and science. He was a Distinguished graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, earning a B.S. in aeronautical engineering before going on to earn an M.S. in astronautics from Purdue University. While Martinson was in the Air Force, he enrolled in SIUE’s weekend off-campus MBA program at his military base in California, earning an MBA after two years.
“I was so pleased with the education that I received through SIUE’s weekend off-campus MBA program,” says Martinson. “The program is truly comparable to any ranked business school program in the country. Plus, the two- to three-day immersion program was an ideal format to better learn and retain the teachings.”
With the support of his incredible educational accomplishments, Martinson began a career in management and marketing at American Cyanamid. He got his first taste of entrepreneurial ventures working at Exxon Enterprises. In 1979, Martinson joined InnoVen Group, a national venture capital firm in Saddle Brook, N.J., which boasted three major St. Louis-based corporate investors — Monsanto, Emerson Electric and Anheuser-Busch. In 1986, he decided to start his own venture capital firm, Edison Venture Fund, in Lawrenceville, N.J. with a little encouragement from one of his neighbors. Martinson liked the idea of working with multiple companies.
Martinson has been working as a venture capitalist for the past 31 years. Edison Venture Fund has experienced tremendous growth and success, investing more than $620 million in 155 companies throughout the East Coast. The company specializes in software, communications and information technology, helping companies grow from $5 million to anywhere between $25 and 100 million in five to eight years. Additionally, Martinson has served as the Chairman of the National Venture Capital Association for three years, where he headed the membership and research committees. He also has served on the Board of Directors of 45 companies in diverse business industries.
John was Chairman and award recipient of National Venture Capital Association, Mid-Atlantic Capital Alliance and New Jersey Technology Council. He was selected to the inaugural NJBIZ and NJTC Hall of Fames.
John was recognized as 18th distinguished graduate of US Air Force Academy and flew over 500 combat missions. He received MS Astronautics from Purdue University and honorary Doctorate of Science from Rowan University.
Martinson Family Foundation supports dedicated programs at 20 colleges to advance K-12 instruction in technology, engineering, science and mathematics. John is a member of the 2011 SIUE Alumni Hall of Fame.