A world-renowned entrepreneur, business leader and societal innovator, James Lee Sorenson provided the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah with a $13 million gift in 2013 to create the James Lee Sorenson Global Impact Investing Center (SGI Center), which will cultivate impact investing expertise in students. Jim will play an active role in setting the SGII Center’s direction and mentoring its student participants.
Jim helped develop several new industry categories in today’s business world, including digital video compression software, mass-market videophones, video relay service for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and environmental testing. Jim enjoys combining innovative and worthwhile ideas with talented management teams to produce growing new enterprises. This successful combination has produced thousands of new jobs and vibrant companies.
His philanthropic endeavors have been equally fruitful, helping establish highly impactful programs and organizations that improve the lives of the working poor, help build regional business communities and train the next generation of entrepreneurial and investment leaders.
Early in his career, Jim acquired and managed Utah Biomedical Test Labs and spun out a promising division, DataChem Laboratories, as an independent venture. DataChem became one of the nation’s largest environmental testing laboratories, pioneering today’s environmental testing industry.
As CEO of Sorenson Media, Jim built a team that developed the world’s leading digital compression software, which played a crucial role in the emergence and prominence of video compression technology in Apple QuickTime, Macromedia (now Adobe) Flash and YouTube. The team also developed a high-quality, low-cost videophone that became the industry’s standard design, for the groundbreaking nationwide video relay service for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. This enabled the deaf to communicate via the Internet through interpreters in their visual native language, American Sign Language, with any hearing person in the United States.
Spun off as Sorenson Communications, the video relay service company expanded quickly, growing from 50 to 2,500 employees while raising revenue by 400 percent in 2003 and 2004. In 2005, the company was acquired in the most lucrative private equity deal in Utah history up to that time. Sorenson Communications remains the nation’s preeminent provider of video relay services and Utah’s leading technology company with thousands of employees nationwide.
In 2009, Jim led a team that acquired a $701 million structured portfolio of commercial real estate loans from the FDIC. In addition, Jim served as Chairman of the Board of MediConnect Global, a leader in medical record retrieval and digitization that sold to Verisk Analytics in 2012 for nearly $377 million.
In 2001, Jim provided the seed money for the University Venture Fund (UVF) at the David Eccles School of Business. Now the world’s largest student-run educational investment fund, UVF provides unrivaled hands-on experience in venture capital and entrepreneurship for students.
Jim has served on many community service boards, including University Venture Fund, Art Works for Kids, Gallaudet University, the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, the Utah Sports Commission and the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development.