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Robert Wiltbank

Contributing Associate Professor of Strategic Management

Headshot of Robert Wiltbank

Contact Information

Salem Campus

900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301

Portland Center

200 SW Market Street, Suite 101
Portland  Oregon  97201


Strategy is all about understanding how everything connects. Strategy is figuring out how marketing and HR go together. You can't suck at anything and win, but winning is always relative. Two great teams can always beat each other. One great team can go undefeated. Strategy shares a lot of marketing ideas that have to be external facing. It's moving it in the same direction - In business management and not-for-profit - you really are trying to create value by making sure you do it better than anyone else. If you're going to go out and do fundraising, you have to be better than other fundraising options. In government, it's relative, but if you want to create real value, you have to get the whole machine moving in the same direction. If you're going to create value, you have to to do it better than anyone else.

Strategy is built around the notion that value is created by thoughtfully integrating the separate business functions. The perpetual challenge is creating new combinations of those functional resources and capabilities that manage organizational, customer, and competitive interactions over time. This interaction through time reminds us that the success of any strategic move is largely dependent upon how others react to it.


Dr. Wiltbank is Contributing Associate Professor of Strategic Management for Willamette University’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management. He is also a former member of the full-time tenured faculty of the school, where he was the founding faculty member of the Willamette MBA Angel Fund and Entrepreneurship course – a course recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the top 10 entrepreneurship courses in the United States. Dr. Wiltbank now combines teaching with his position of CEO of two companies: Niobium, Inc. and Galois, Inc.

Rob serves as a member of the Board of Directors for several companies and is a Partner with Montlake Capital, through fund II, a Seattle based venture capital fund. He has published two books about entrepreneurship and research in top tier academic journals covering topics from top management teams to non-predictive control strategies, to formal venture capital practices among angel investors.

Robert loves basketball, music, and traveling. He also enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, playing sports, going to church and seeing movies, as well as arguing politics and military strategy, and he plays a bit of Xbox.


  • Ph.D. Strategic Management, University of Washington
  • B.S. Finance and Accounting, Oregon State University
  • Certified Managerial Accountant (CMA)

Professional Experience

Niobium, Inc. Chief Executive Officer. 2021 to Present

Galois, Inc. Chief Executive Officer. 2013 to Present

Willamette University, Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Professor of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship, 2004 to Present (full-time faculty member 2004-2014).

Professional Activities

Board of Directors, Galois, Niobium, CoinMe, TangramFlex, TOZNY, thatDot

Board of Directors, MuseDev, acquired by Sonatype.

Board of Directors, Veriwave, acquired by Ixia.

Board of Directors, MaxViz, acquired by Astronics.

Partner with Montlake Capital, through fund II, a Seattle based venture capital fund.

Dempsey Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship, University of Washington. 2012-2014

Batten Research Fellow, Darden Graduate School of Business, Univ. of Virginia, 2007-2010

Research Interests

Angel Investing, entrepreneurship, strategy, new venture creation and management, strategy under uncertainty, and effective board governance for non-profit organizations.

Published Books

Wiltbank, Robert with S. Read, S. Sarasvathy, N. Dew, and A. Olson. Effectual Entrepreneurship, November 2010. Routledge Publishing: London.

Wiltbank, Robert with J. Liedtka, and R. Rosen. The Catalyst: How You Can Become an Extraordinary Growth Leader. April, 2009. Crown Publishing: New York City. Named one of the Top 10 Innovation/Design Books of 2009 by Business Week.

Selected Publications

Wiltbank, Robert with N.Dew, S.Read, S. Sarasvathy. Microfoundations for New Market Creation: Differences Between Expert Entrepreneurs and Expert Managers, International Review of Entrepreneurship. 2018.

Wiltbank, Robert with N.Dew, S.Read, S. Sarasvathy. Co-Creating Effectual Entrepreneurship Research, Academy of Management Review. 2016. 41(3):528-556.

Wiltbank, Robert with N. Dew, S. Read, S. Sarasvathy. Entrepreneurial Expertise and the Use of Control, Journal of Business Venturing Insights. 2015. 4:30-37.

Wiltbank, Robert with C. Murnieks, M.Haynie, T.Harting. I Like How You Think: The Role of Cognitive Similarity as a Decision Bias. Journal of Management Studies. 2011 48:7, p 1533-1561. Winner of the Academy of Management Ent Division Best Empirical Paper Award 2007

Wiltbank, Robert with V. Rindova, W. Ferrier. Making Sense: Patterns of Competitive Actions and Valuation of New Firms, Strategic Management Journal, 2010, v31(13): 1474-1497.

Wiltbank, Robert with N. Dew, S. Read and S. Sarasvathy. Effectual versus predictive logics in entrepreneurial decision-making: experts & novice differences. Journal of Business Venturing. 2009, v24(4): 287-309.

Wiltbank, Robert with S. Sarasvathy, N. Dew, S. Read. Affordable Loss: Behavioral Economic Aspects of the Plunge Decision. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal. 2009, vol 3, p105-126.

Wiltbank, Robert with S. Read, N. Dew, S. Sarasvathy, and M. Song. Marketing Under Uncertainty: An Effectual Approach. Journal of Marketing, 2009, vol 73 (May) p1-18. Gerald E Hills Best Paper Award, based on quality, impact, & citations from 2005-2015.

Wiltbank, Robert with S. Read, N. Dew and S. Sarasvathy. Prediction and Control Under Uncertainty: Outcomes in Angel Investing. Journal of Business Venturing. 2009, vol 24 p 166-133.

Wiltbank, Robert with N. Dew, S. Sarasvathy, S. Read. Immortal Firms in Mortal Markets? An Entrepreneurial Perspective on the Innovator’s Dilemma. European Journal of Innovation Management, 2008 vol 11 (3) p313-329 . Winner of the 2008 EJIM Outstanding Paper Award

Notable Reports and Articles

Wiltbank, Robert with W. Brooks. Tracking Angel Returns, Angel Resource Institute Research Report, Fall 2017.

Wiltbank, Robert with W. Boeker. Returns to Angel Investors in Groups, Kauffman Foundation Research Report, Nov, 2007.

Wiltbank, Robert. Siding with the Angels, NESTA Foundation Research Report, May, 2009.

Wiltbank, Robert with S. Carr, J. Liedtka, R. Rosen. In Search of Growth Leaders, Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2008.

Willamette University

Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Salem Campus

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

Portland Center

200 SW Market Street, Suite 101
Portland Oregon 97201 U.S.A.