TiE-Boston’s Lifetime Achievement Award was conferred on entrepreneur and philanthropist Dr. Amar Sawhney, during the annual gala on December 13th at the annual black-tie gala which was attended by its founding charter members, past presidents and over 250 guests.
TiE Boston, one of the region’s largest business organizations supporting the Massachusetts entrepreneurial ecosystem, said in a statement that the highest honor by TiE-Boston was bestowed on Sawhney, who has founded numerous companies and is credited with creating thousands of jobs and over millions in value for shareholders.
Dr. Amar Sawhney, has founded six companies, including Confluent Surgical (acquired by Covidien), Ocular Therapeutix, Incept LLC and Augmenix, which was recently acquired by Boston Scientific. He has been honored with numerous business and technology awards, including being named one of the “White House’s Champions of Change” by President Obama, the MIT Global Indus Technovator award and the E&Y Regional Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Sawhney is one of the foremost innovators and entrepreneurs in medical technology. He currently serves as the Chairman of Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. and of Instylla, Inc. Previously, he served as Chairman of Augmenix, Inc., which was acquired by Boston Scientific in September 2018 for $600 million. Prior to that, Mr. Sawhney founded Confluent Surgical (acquired by Covidien), Focal Inc. (acquired by Genzyme), and Access Closure, Inc. (acquired by Cardinal Health). His innovations are the subject of over 120 issued and pending patents in biomaterials and bio-surgery.
“We are pleased to honor Dr. Sawhney and the other awardees at this year’s Gala,” said Nilanjana Bhowmik, President of TiE Boston. “Each of these awardees embodies our organization’s values — they have built, innovated and given back to their communities. Each has also assumed a responsibility to create something important — not just companies, but relationships and communities to support innovation and entrepreneurialism on an ongoing basis.”
TiE Boston also recognized its charter members, as well as individuals across numerous categories who exemplified TiE’s values by supporting entrepreneurship with an eye towards giving back to the community.
The colorful event at the Four Seasons Boston highlight the achievements of innovators and entrepreneurs across categories such as venture capital, digital health, B2B & B2C technology and robotics & automation.
These awards highlight the achievements of innovators and entrepreneurs across categories such as venture capital, digital health, B2B & B2C technology and robotics and automation, TiE Boston said in a statement.
The nominating committee selected individuals who have created or shaped a category through a significant contribution in their field of work, deemed “mission-critical” to the innovation economy, and have contributed to the well-being of the community through time, money, mentoring, guidance, etc.
Nilanjana Bhowmick announced the set-up of the TiE Boston Foundation to support and grow the activities of THe Young Entrepreneur (TyE) program with an initial endowment of $500K with nearly $350K already raised. Entertainment for the evening was provided by Avanti Nagral and her band from Harvard University and Berklee School of Music.
The TiE-Boston Board awards the Lifetime Achievement Award when an individual has made a lasting impact in the business community, and a significant contribution to the success of TiE-Boston.
Sawhney, an IIT-Delhi graduate, is always trying to solve unmet needs in medical technology, and in the process has founded numerous successful medical device companies. His inventions include several “first of a kind” surgical sealants to be approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, including DuraSeal for neurosurgery, FocalSeal for lung surgery, and Mynx for femoral puncture sealing.
“I don’t profess to be a perfectionist, but I am persistent,” says Mr. Sawhney. “When I take on a mission, I ensure that it reaches a logical conclusion, with not only the best possible financial outcome, but also the best outcome for patients and the team.”
His mantra for success is simple. “In my area of focus, which is medical innovation and entrepreneurship, I employ a value system. At the apex is identifying a genuine unmet need, or a worthwhile cause to focus on,” says Mr. Sawhney. “Next comes the right people to onboard for the journey, with the right values. And finally, we need to be good stewards of capital, to generate value for our shareholders.”
Sawhney grew up in India and came to the United States for higher studies. “My father was in the Indian Air Force, so I grew up in a number of different cities, Pune, Shillong, Allahabad, and Gandhinagar. As a family we were middle class. We never had a lack of what we felt we needed, but we never had much excess either,” recalled Mr. Sawhney. “My father believed in getting us the best education and he did everything within his power to ensure we had every opportunity in this regard.”
His mother was a teacher and she was always very friendly and concerned about the people around her – friends, family, neighbours and her students. “There were always people around us, who supported us, and looked up to my parents. This had a lasting impression on me, that it is not money that matters, but character, compassion, and concern for others,” shares Mr. Sawhney. “These principles are important in my personal life but are equally applicable in my professional life too. I make it a point that the teams we assemble feel like they belong to a family that is engaged in a mission that is greater than any one of us individually. It keeps us grounded, excited, and motivated.”