A Close Look at a Great Entrepreneur – Robert Duggan

One of the most renowned entrepreneurs and investors of all times is Robert Duggan, who started his exhilarating career with Sunset Designs, a company that produced children embroidery sets. The sets were sold under the name of Jeff Stichery and were considered the first of their ilk. Well-written and simple instructions were provided with these sets that set them out in a crowd. Robert Duggan’s vision was to sell sets with great aesthetics and colors and he managed to accomplish this by selling the embroidery sets in around 7000 retail stores. At Sunset Designs, Bob Duggan was part of the Board of Directors as he contributed half of the venture capital and also offered strategic advice.

The company dominated its market with 80% market share and from a substantial investment of $100,000; the company gave a return of $15 million, which was sold to Reckitt and Benckiser in the 1980s. The next endeavor of Rob Duggan was Paradise Bakery, which began in 1976 while he was still an investor in Sunset Designs and became one of the few to have brought fresh baked cookies in the American market. That’s how McDonald’s cookies came to be as they were produced and supplied by one of the founders of Paradise Bakery.

The concept was inspired by Bob Duggan, who invested the money, brought the people together and introduced the idea and recipes of fresh baked cookies. Today, Disney World, Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonalds can be used for accessing these cookies. In 1987, Paradise Bakery was sold to Chart House and now Panera Bread owns it. Robert Duggan got involved with some technology companies in the 1980s. Government Technology Services was one such company that provided micro-computer hardware and software access to the US Government Services Administration and Duggan had made an investment at a crucial time.

During his membership as a Board of Directors of GTSI, the company’s revenues increased to $600 million from $8 million in revenues and he brought the company to success by orchestrating their initial public offering. His venture in the world of Ethernet nodes was also another successful endeavor for VMEbus workstations. Initially, he raised $4 million and followed it with a further $2 million offer. The revenues of the company totaled $25 million and Duggan participated in the company’s sales and marketing strategy when he was Chairman of the Board. Eventually, for a price of $45 million in stock, the company was sold off to Rockwell and Ethernet technology became a key part of the internet.

Metropolis Media became Duggan’s next baby in the 1990s, one that he formed for helping some communist countries in making the transfer to capitalism. Outdoor media was used in Macedonia, Slovenia, Serbia etc. for marketing products. Duggan investment $3 million, the total financial capital needed and served as Chairman of the Board. The enterprise was run by his family and was sold for $45 million to Capital Research. He also worked for Computer Motion and launched the concept of ‘Patient and Physician Friendly’.

Working as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Pharmacyclics is the latest foray of Robert Duggan. 

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