Stories and Articles
Serial Entrepreneur Explores Titanic and Much More
From scaling the heights of Mount Everest to descending the bottom of the Atlantic to visit the Titanic, SDSU alumnus, Chris Haver (’90, finance) has had many adventures, including those that come with being a serial entrepreneur
Currently a partner in Phoenix-based H4 Capital Partners, he has founded over a dozen technology or real estate development companies in 10 different countries. Many of those companies are still in operation.
Love of Adventure Started During SDSU Years
During his most recent adventure, Haver was part of a six-person team to be the first people to climb Antarctica’s Hall Peak in 2016. But it was while still a finance student at SDSU, Haver embarked on his first adventure travel outing. In 1989, he climbed and then skied down Mt. Everest. “The experience of traveling and the challenge of climbing was very motivating and suited my sense of adventure,” he said. After graduating from SDSU in 1990, he continued along those same lines until January of 1996, when he became the first American to climb and ski the Seven Summits which are the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.
Business Education In and Out of the Classroom
Haver’s love of adventure continued into the world of business as well. During his senior year at SDSU, he met John Knight. Knight was one of the owners of Knight & Carver, a yacht refitting and repair company who also happened to own waterfront property on Mission Bay. Haver convinced Knight to hire him to establish the Mission Bay Organizing Committee in order to develop facilities for the teams that were competing for the America’s Cup in 1992 and 1995. “I didn’t know much about development or sailing, so John took a big chance when he hired me,” said Haver. “The good news is that his investment in me and my crazy idea yielded significant return-on-investment for him and for me.”
Knowing What Your Strengths
After earning his finance degree from SDSU, Haver spent one more year at Knight & Carver then left to run the Mission Bay Organizing Committee full-time. But he didn’t leave either college or his first corporate experience without learning some lessons – mostly about working with people. “College tests your intellect as well as your ability to work with people,” said Haver. “Business is ultimately about people. But during my experience with Knight & Carver, I realized that I preferred the creative process of developing new companies more than people management.”
It was this realization and his early business success that led Haver to become a serial entrepreneur and the eventual founder and/or principal in 16 companies. His current venture, H4 Capital Partners, is a private equity investment firm specializing in “green tech”.
While Haver enjoys the risk of being a serial entrepreneur, he still enjoys the risk of adventure travel with one of his culminating experiences being a trip to the site of the sunken ship, Titanic. He and one of his business partners were able to visit the ill-fated ship’s final resting place in 1999 aboard a deep sea submersible owned by P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. “There’s nothing like sitting 12,500 feet below the surface on the bow of the Titanic to gain perspective,” said Haver. “It was a very emotional and powerful experience.” He was recently part of a team that completed a trek to the top of Hall Peak in the first-ever documented climb to the summit of the mountain.
As Haver well knows, those who enjoy risk and success also must be willing to fail at some point. Thus, his advice to today’s SDSU students: “Persistence, persistence, persistence,” he said. “Don’t ever give up and don’t let failure discourage you. We all fail at some point – take it as a lesson learned.”