Monday, April 10, 2006

Bill Townsend at Baylor on PBT

Twelve years ago, Bill Townsend and a team of computer engineers at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh were mulling over possible names for an Internet search engine and Web directory they were developing.

Though the imagery they decided on was a little unorthodox, their message was clear -- wolf spiders, of the Lycosidae family, actively hunt their prey rather than waiting for it to come to them.

The name was shortened to Lycos Inc., and the rest, as they say, is history. Townsend will be on campus today as part of the Ben Williams Distinguished Speaker series, sponsored by the Hankamer School of Business.

Cynthia J. Jackson, director of communications and marketing, said Townsend is a May 2005 graduate of Baylor's Executive MBA program in Austin and an expert on new venture funding. "He's just one of those people that has been really successful in the high-tech industry, starting new companies that are still viable," Jackson said.

Townsend is now executive vice president of Pay By Touch, a global leader in biometric authentication technologies.

Jackson said Townsend will talk about how he (helped) turned Pay By Touch into a billion-dollar company with more than 300 employees in fewer than four years.

(PBT's valuation was put at $2.25 billion dollars during their $190 million financing completed last December.)

Townsend will speak on the fifth floor of Hankamer at a free luncheon open to faculty, alumni and students interested in business.

"He'll speak to honor students in the afternoon and a group of MBA students after that," Jackson said. "In the evening, he'll speak at the annual banquet we hold for our graduating seniors."

Jackson said he'll base his evening speech on
Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go!