Dennis E. Murphree is the Managing General Partner of Murphree Venture Partners, a series of early-stage and growth-equity venture capital funds, and the Murphree Capco Fund, a venture capital fund for two primary insurance company investors, Prudential and John Hancock. Founded in 1987, his fund-management firm, Murphree and Company Inc., is headquartered in Houston and has additional offices in Austin, Colorado Springs and Birmingham. This distributed office approach allows the partners to work closely with their portfolio companies to build viable business enterprises. Dennis has helped start and grow over 100 companies in the course of his career.
Dennis Murphree graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1969 with a B.A. in Economics and, after serving in the U.S. Air Force, he graduated from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with an M.B.A. in Finance. Immediately following graduation, he began his entrepreneurial career by starting a real estate development company that grew to be the eleventh largest commercial developer in the U.S. by 1986. In the meantime, in 1975 he began doing venture capital deals while building his real estate companies and did eleven commercial bank start-ups, eight restaurants and several high tech companies between 1975 and 1986. With the fall in the real estate industry of the mid-1980’s, Dennis sold all his real estate firms in late 1986 and began Murphree Venture Partners in January of 1987 to do start-up ventures. The firm is now one of the most active VC managers in the southern U.S. and is considered a “generalist, growth equity” firm doing a wide variety of traditional industry categories wherein new technologies or new business models can be employed to spur growth.
In addition, Dennis taught “Investment Management” to college seniors for six years at the University of St. Thomas in Houston and, for the last eighteen years, has been on the faculty of the Jones Graduate School at Rice University where he teaches two second-year MBA classes: “Creative Entrepreneurship” and “Venture Capital”. At Rice, he was a co-founder of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and was the founder of the Rice Business Plan Competition, now the largest event of its type in the country. An extremely active public speaker, Dennis speaks in venues throughout the U.S. between 20 and 30 times per year on both business and motivational topics. He has also served or is serving on many public and private boards including: Southern Methodist University ; Sadat Peace Foundation (where he served as Chairman); American Ballet Theatre in New York; Texas Institute of Family Psychiatry; The Children’s Fund; Cancare; The Association for Community Broadcasting (currently President); and numerous others. Married to his high school sweetheart, Penny, they have two grown children and reside in their hometown, Houston.