In the Present
- CEO of Growth Science, a research firm in Portland that uses algorithms to predict if businesses will survive or fail. Growth Science works with Fortune 500 firms and has helped guide billions of dollars in growth investments spanning private equity, venture capital, organic growth and acquisitions.
- Managing Director at WR Hambrecht Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm in San Francisco.
- Senior Advisor for Data Science and Venture Capital at WR Hambrecht + Co, an investing firm in San Francisco. The firm and founder Bill Hambrecht have participated in around 700 IPOs and venture investments including Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Genentech, Google, Netscape and Salesforce.com.
- Board Member at Ironstone Group, a publicly-traded investment corporation.
In the Past
Formerly, Thomas used data science to guide growth investments and innovation at Intel. He ran a hedge fund that used data science to invest in disruptive opportunities, and also helped found a supercomputing business that was later acquired. As a result of his work in data science Thomas was invited to the Harvard Business School by Professor Clayton Christensen to collaborate as a resident Fellow. Thomas and his early research were the subject of book The Innovator’s Manifesto: Deliberate Disruption for Transformational Growth by bestselling author Michael Raynor.
Growing up in Honduras, Bolivia, India, Nepal and Indonesia, Thomas believes good business can be the key to social well-being.
“The world’s understanding of business has a bigger impact on our lives than just about anything else within our power to influence“
Thomas is a member of the Harvard Business School Forum for Growth and Innovation, and a Fellow at the Disruptor Foundation. In addition to his fellowship at Harvard, he holds a BA, MBA and Juris Doctor. While no longer practicing law, he’s a licensed attorney and previously practiced corporate law. He’s a Board Member and former Executive Director of the Revenue Capital Association, and an Advisory Board Member of the Washington State University College of Business.
“I would suggest that others examine the work of a former Intel colleague Thomas Thurston (now at Growth Science). Thomas has shown how a data-based model can be distilled from theory and can be very influential in decision making.”
- Brandon Barnett, Director of Business Innovation, Intel Corporation
“Thurston would appear to be in a league of his own… we should expect him to be taking calls from Warren Buffet.”
- Michael Raynor, Director, Deloitte Services
“One positive example is… Thomas Thurston… applying the theory that specifies when innovations succeed, he was able to predict, without knowledge of the outcomes, a statistically significant 85% of successes and failures… Thurston then teamed up with Clayton Christensen to teach the theory to business school students… The progress shows the theory’s value and that the students can learn the lessons and improve performance.”
- Michael Mauboussin, Head of Global Financial Strategies, Credit Suisse
“Cray works every day with customers and partners to help them use simulation and modeling to drive innovation and discovery in science, engineering and big data analytics. As our company looked at different opportunities to leverage our unique technology more broadly in the market, we followed this same path and partnered with Growth Science, leveraging their data-driven model and analytic tools to help us get insight and predict market success rates for new and different offerings.”
-Peter Ungaro, President & CEO, Cray Inc.
“[Thomas] basically worked out ways of finding quantifiable indices that tie to the qualitative, but he’s gone beyond that. He’s now done what the world is starting to call ‘big data’ where we try to identify trends that would help us with the timing of disruption.”
- William Hambrecht, Chairman, WR Hambrecht+Co, Founder, Hambrecht & Quist
“Growth Science is one of the only firms that understands how activities take place within an ecosystem. Each business ecosystem may appear unique, but each, given a set of circumstances, will behave the same when organizational DNA is exposed to external stimuli. Growth Science is the only company that has figured out how to simulate the outcome of an idea given both internal and external realities. It’s moved beyond discrete path models to a situational-aware behavioral model. No one else is doing this type of work.”
- Ron Hoffner, Senior Manager; Strategy & Business Development, 3M
In the news
Christensen vs Lepore: A Matter of Fact, TechCrunch
A Powerful, Predictive Tool to Create the Future, The Huffington Post
Will Your Startup Survive? Big Data Knows the Answer, icrunchdata
Why Businesses Fail: A Data Expert Explains It All, Entrepreneur
More VCs bet on algorithms to mine for deals, Reuters PE Hub
Will your project live or die? Predicting corporate infanticide, Innovation Leader
New Venture Focuses on Science of Deal, Not Art of the Deal, The New York Times
New Portland HPC Startup is ARMed and Dangerous, InsideHPC.com
Oregon startups compete for billionaire’s support. KGW NEWSCHANNEL 8
Executive Profile – Thomas Thurston. Portland Business Journal
How a data cruncher brought a VC to town. Portland Business Journal
Thomas Thurston’s secret algorithms for picking VC winners. Portland Business Journal
How Thomas Thurston helped lure Ironstone VC group to Portland. Portland Business Journal
- Thurston & Shih, Handheld Graphics Organization, Harvard Business Publishing
- Thurston & Shih, Image Components Organization, Harvard Business Publishing
- Thurston & Shih, Intel Corporation’s New Business Initiatives (A), Harvard Business Publishing
- Thurston & Shih, MXP Digital Media Processor, Harvard Business Publishing
- Thurston & Shih, Radio-Frequency Identification, Harvard Business Publishing
- Thurston & Shih, Vivonic, Harvard Business Publishing
- Thurston & Singh, Disrupting the Consultants; Could the Advisers use some Advice?, Thunderbird International Business Review
- Fox, Thurston & Zaheer, Revenue Capital & Disruptive Models: Venture Funding Tools for Developing Nations, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Entrepreneurship Review
- Thurston, Disrupting Venture Capital, Thunderbird International Business Review