Ray Johnson is CEO of the Innovate Marquette SmartZone, a newly created non-profit business accelerator for tech start-ups and tech entrepreneurs, established by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The SmartZone provides a broad array of entrepreneurial-related services, support, and programs for community-based inventors, innovators, researchers and entrepreneurs.
With over 20 years of high-tech industry experience, Mr. Johnson is recognized as a successful public company technology executive, serial entrepreneur, fundraiser, and start-up CEO with a proven track-record of successfully building, financing, leading and scaling companies from the early proof-of-concept stage to successful global ramp and profitable exit.
Mr. Johnson’s experience includes company executive and board level management positions for venture-backed start-ups and nonprofits, raising equity financing from a variety of investor types and entities, crowdfunding, vetting new start-ups, mentoring entrepreneurs, strategic planning and partnering, new technology and product development, engineering management, manufacturing facility build-outs, IP licensing, product marketing, corporate and product branding, sales channel development, worldwide product rollouts, and merger/acquisitions.
In his career, Mr. Johnson has raised over $90 million in venture capital, angel and private equity investment funding for his tech start-ups from accredited investors and the world’s top venture capital firms and private equity investment funds. His companies have generated close to 200 international patent and trademark filings. Mr. Johnson earned a business degree from the University of Notre Dame and is a named co-inventor on four patents in microelectronics and energy storage.