CCBC alumnus and entrepreneur to be honored by American Association of Community Colleges as one of its Outstanding Alumni of 2016
Apr 11, 2016Clarence Wooten, CCBC’93, has been selected as one of five American Association of Community Colleges’ Outstanding Alumni of 2016 and will be honored in April during AACC’s annual convention in Chicago, Ill. The AACC award recognizes community college alumni for their career achievements, philanthropic contributions and inspirational impact.
A self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Wooten was fascinated with video games at an early age. His fascination with video games fueled an interest in computers and sparked his curiosity about how software was made. Clearly, he was an entrepreneur in the making.
“You can say I was a kid who was fourteen going on 35,” jokes Wooten. “I was the only kid in high school handing out business cards to anyone I saw while everyone else was handing out notes or invites to parties. I was in the zone. There was no option for Plan B, only Plan A.”
In 1990 Wooten enrolled at the Community College of Baltimore County to pursue his dreams of architecture and computer design. While at CCBC, he excelled in the Computer-Aided Design for Architecture and Engineering (CAD) and received the foundation and support he needed to start his first company, Envision Design, a company based on the concept of CAD and animation. While Envision garnered little success, it laid the ground work for other Wooten ventures like Metamorphosis Studios, ImageCafe, Progressly, Groupsite and others to soar.
The sale of his first successful company, ImageCafe, for $23 million to Network Solutions/Verisign in 1999 propelled him into the national spotlight as a tech- savvy business man. Wooten has been featured in such well-known publications as Black Enterprise Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore Business Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine and numerous others.
Recently, Wooten has agreed to serve as a guest lecturer at CCBC returning to his college roots to help further enrich our technology program through the inclusion of relevant, specialized knowledge that will help broaden our students understanding and experiences. A staunch supporter of education, he credits CCBC for his start.
“Of course my motivation and drive helped to formulate my big ideas, but without CCBC to steer me in the right direction and give me the tools to succeed, my big ideas would never have become reality,” Wooten explains. “I have been blessed to have created companies that have helped society and others to achieve their own dreams. It’s all about having the tools, education and people to make things happen. And CCBC provided all of that and more for me.”
According to his website, “After being an entrepreneur based in Maryland my entire career, in early 2011, I moved to Palo Alto, Calif., the heart of Silicon Valley, with the goal of doing it bigger and better. In pursuit of this goal, I recently founded VentureFund.io where I serve as CEO and co-founded Progressly where I serve as Chairman.”
In addition to his education at CCBC, Wooten is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and an honorary alumnus of the University of Maryland. He also serves on the Board of Trustees at Philadelphia University, one of the nation's top design schools.