Chris Carter of Ponte Vedra Beach is an angel investor and advocate for entrepreneurship and innovation, having served in a variety of mentorship, advisory, consulting and venture development roles in support of entrepreneurs and their visions. He has been actively involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Northeast Florida, serving on, and moderating, several panels at innovation conferences and events, as well as judging entrepreneur pitch competitions in the region. He has proactively developed relationships with innovation communities and universities throughout Florida, local and regional government officials, and state organizations like the Florida Venture Forum and Launch Florida, a consortium of entrepreneur organizations and accelerators throughout the state formed to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in Florida.
Most recently Chris served as President of One Spark Ventures (OSV), the Florida Social Purpose Corporation formed to identify and develop ventures with talented teams and scalable ideas that participate in One Spark sponsored programs. Chris has worked with the One Spark’s Board to restructure and rebrand the organization away from its broad focus and crowdfunding roots to a focus on high caliber teams with scalable business ideas in targeted market segments that could, potentially, create new businesses and jobs in the region and provide a source of deal flow to the local investment community. Chris has worked closely to mentor and advise several portfolio teams on strategy, operational, business planning and funding issues, several of whom have now raised equity rounds and are scaling to launch, or that have launched, commercially.
Prior to this Chris was principal of a boutique consulting firm that provided venture development, strategic business advisory, and interim management services to corporations and VC-backed enterprises. He previously led strategic venture and business development initiatives for divisions of Fortune 500 companies, including Panasonic, CBS, and the former Bell Atlantic Corporation.
Chris earned his MBA in finance at the Sellinger School of Business and Management, Loyola University and a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration at McDaniel College.
Dr. Martin Handfield of Gainesville is a serial entrepreneur, having served in a variety of private and public startup companies in the life science industry. He started his career as a postdoctoral associate in the College of Dentistry at the University of Florida, working through the ranks to tenured associate professor during his 14 years at UF. To date, he successfully participated in raising more than $15M (in academia) and over $150M (in the industry) in R&D funding.
During his 24+ years career in the industry, Dr Handfield led the scientific, pre-clinical and clinical development of multiple classes of therapeutics in the anti-infectives, vaccines and live bacterial therapeutics sectors, several of which were first-in-man or new biological entities at the FDA/EMEA. He also developed strategies and lead the planning, development, and execution of short- and long-term strategic business development plans designed to grow corporations and funding objectives. Martin led teams of scientists across multidisciplinary areas to determine deliverables for scientific, corporate and regulatory needs, and contributed to the execution of several complex key co-development/research agreements with industry and academia. By establishing partnership with multiple CDMOs and CROs, he participated in the clinical development of several therapeutics (pre-IND, Phase-1 and -2) and developed and managed complex corporate IP portfolio. Most recently, Martin served as the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at Oragenics (NYSE:OGEN) and is currently the founder, manager and/or CSO of three local startups. He also serves as an Advisory Board Member for the Florida International University Biomolecular Sciences Institute, and he is part of the Dental & Medical Professional Advisory Council for ProBiora Health, a Florida Corporation.
Martin earned his BS in biochemistry, MS and PhD in microbiology and immunology from Laval University in Canada, at the Colleges of Engineering and Medicine, respectively. He did his postdoc at UF in the labs of Drs. Progulske-Fox and Hillman (co-Founder of Oragenics, Ret.).
Robert Mino, living in Palm Beach County, is a triple Gator, having a JD, MBA, and MS (Medical Sciences) from UF. He is a corporate and patent attorney with broad commercial and research experience beyond the practice of law, uniquely positioning him to help UF Innovate companies and entrepreneurs. Robert works as an economic developer focused on life sciences for Palm Beach County, maintains a private law practice, and serves on the board of a public healthcare company.
Mr. Mino began his career as a molecular biology and pharmacology laboratory researcher, including in the UF College of Medicine where his graduate committee included many of the pioneers of gene therapy from UF. During this time, he was also a partner in a startup biotech that raised over $2M. Upon graduation, Robert worked for Sigma-Aldrich, Roche Diagnostics, and Applied Biosystems (ABI) in commercial roles, culminating in a position as a strategic marketing manager for a $500M DNA sequencing product line in N. and S. America for ABI. He then switched gears to work with smaller companies, having been general counsel, general manager, and other roles at pharma and device companies, including Applied Food Technologies, once housed at Sid Martin. He also worked with UF Innovate as a patent fellow.
Robert is married to Samantha, also a triple Gator and a dermatologist, whom he met at UF. He works to build the local ecosystem in S. Florida by making connections for entrepreneurs, companies, and resources. S. Florida is becoming an entrepreneurial hotspot and Robert looks forward to helping UF spin-offs and technologies find a home in S. Florida. He also won an intramural softball championship at UF in each of the past three decades and might consider another run now that a new decade is upon us. Go Gators!
Bob Crutchfield is the managing director of the BrightEdge Venture Fund. BrightEdge is the American Cancer Society’s strategic venture philanthropy platform, targeting investments in advanced therapies to treat, detect, and prevent all types of cancer. Prior to the BrightEdge Fund, Bob was a Sr. Partner at Harbert Growth Partners where he led the healthcare practice. While there, he served as a board member or board observer on Shipt – acquired by Target in 2017, Wellcentive – acquired by Royal Philips in 2016, nContact – acquired by Atricure in 2014 and Novamin – acquired by GSK in 2009.
BrightEdge has made four investments to date. Great Point Ventures – an institutional venture capital fund, Castle Biosciences – a provider of a diagnostic test for uveal and cutaneous melanoma that also identifies patients with the highest risk for metastasis, Freenome – a blood-based, multi-analyte screening test for colorectal cancer, Navigating Cancer – a healthcare IT company focused on helping cancer patients remain compliant and adherent to their oncology treatment programs and Tmunity – a CART-T immuno-oncology company. He served as a board observer to Castle Biosciences prior to their NASDAQ listing in July, and currently services as a board observer for Freenome, Navigating Cancer and Tmunity.
He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Georgia Research Alliance, the boards of South East Life Sciences, the Southern Capital Forum, the Atlanta Global Center for Medical Innovation and HealthSouth Connect.
Most recently, he was the executive director of Innovate Birmingham, an 18-month initiative in which he led a team to assess, evaluate and recommend to Birmingham’s economic development organizations strategies for accelerating the growth of that market’s technology-based economy. During this time, he also served as an operating advisor to Harbert Growth Partners, after stepping down as the senior partner and healthcare practice leader in 2017. Prior to Harbert he was vice president/general manager of the Pharmacy Services Division at US Oncology, a privately held, vertically integrated cancer care provider network, that sold to McKesson in 2010. Prior to US Oncology, he was a senior executive at Cardinal Health where he served as vice president/general manager of New Ventures. Prior to Cardinal he was the founder and CEO of Surgical Innovations & Services, Inc. (SIS).
Bob is a graduate of the University of Georgia and holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Political Science and Chemistry.
Alan is a managing director at The Procter & Gamble Company, with the role of identifying and establishing partnerships for our P&G Ventures organization. His mission is to create $B businesses in new areas for P&G, allowing him to have an expansive global network within the start-up and investment comminutes. Alan, an alum of UF, is a passionate innovator in a relentless pursuit to deliver game-changing consumer experiences. He has almost 30 years of experience delivering disruptive and consumer product innovations.
Alan’s sustainable track record of delivering new-to-the-world innovations across P&G businesses has included the creation of new brands such as Febreze, Swiffer, and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. He currently leads several areas within P&G Ventures, developing new businesses with an emphasis on external partnerships. Alan has more than 30 granted patents.
Bill Gurley has spent nearly 20 years as a General Partner at Benchmark, joining in 1999. Before entering the venture capital business, Bill spent four years on Wall Street as a top-ranked research analyst, including three years at CS First Boston.
Bill also maintains a blog on the evolution and economics of high technology businesses called Above the Crowd.
Over his venture career, he has worked with such companies as GrubHub (IPO: GRUB), Nextdoor, OpenTable (IPO: OPEN, Acquired by Priceline), Stitch Fix (IPO: SFIX), Uber (IPO: UBER), and Zillow.com (IPO: Z).
Bill has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Florida and an MBA from the University of Texas. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst. Bill is a board trustee at the Santa Fe Institute, a research and education center focused on the study and understanding of complex adaptive systems.
Accomplished technology executive with a proven track record of business growth and extensive experience in running large scale manufacturing services for consumer, enterprise, medical, and industrial OEM’s. Dr. McGee also holds widespread experience with service & delivery, quality & security, infrastructure development, facilities and international expansion, partnerships & strategic alliances, business development, contract negotiations, and client relationship management initiatives. Considerable experience with start-up’s, early-stage companies, and disruptive technologies. Effective consensus builder with an innate ability to analyze existing operations and impact necessary change to increase profitability, efficiency, productivity, and employee and customer satisfaction.
With more than 30 years in the technology services industry, Rodney Rogers is recognized as a successful serial entrepreneur and expert technologist, known for his leadership contributions in the realization of two back-to-back “unicorns” — startups that achieve billion-dollar valuations. Today, Rod operates as a founding partner of the Blue Lagoon Companies. Blue Lagoon, through its various entities, develops, advises and invests in disruptive technology start-ups and next-generation technology companies. Rod currently serves as Chairman of the Board for UnitedLex, Inc., Lemongrass Ltd. and Bestmile S.A., as Lead Board Director for Beep, Inc., and as a Board Director for New Signature, Inc., Revenue Analytics, Inc. and agrematch Ltd.
Rod most recently led Virtustream, the enterprise-class cloud company trusted by organizations worldwide to run their mission-critical applications. He co-founded Virtustream in 2009 and was Chairman and CEO prior to its acquisition by EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) in 2015 for $1.2 billion. Virtustream’s acquisition marked one of the largest private technology start-up exits globally in 2015, and in that acquisition year, Virtustream and Rod ranked 3rd on the Forbes list of “Best Cloud Computing Companies and Best CEOs To Work For.”
After the EMC acquisition, Virtustream became one of EMC’s four Federation operating companies with Rod as CEO reporting directly to the CEO of ~$24 billion EMC. In 2016, Dell Technologies acquired EMC for $60+ billion in the largest acquisition in the technology industry’s history. Rod then led Virtustream through its second successful post-merger integration in as many years, and ultimately on to become one of Dell Technologies’ seven ingredient brands. From 2016 until the time he retired in 2018, within Dell Technologies, Rod served as the President of the Virtustream business, a member of both the Dell EMC Infrastructure Solutions Group and Dell Services & Digital executive leadership teams, and a member of the Dell Technologies extended leadership team.
Rod has been the recipient of numerous technology industry awards including being an E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist twice, an American Business Awards CEO winner, and was recognized along with co-founder Kevin Reid as Intel Capital’s Entrepreneur/Exit of the Year in 2015. He is also an angel investor and advisor to a variety of technology startups and the co-founder and director of The Blue Lagoon Foundation, a non-profit charitable giving organization. Rod has been both the subject and author of a number of technology industry-related articles and publications.
Rod holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering from the University of Florida and is the establisher of the Rodney & Judith Rogers Entrepreneurial Excellence Endowment for the Warrington School of Business at the University of Florida. Rod also serves as an advisor to the University of Florida’s Innovate | Ventures fund.
Randy is a Partner and co-founder of HealthQuest Capital, a venture capital firm focused on growth investments into companies transforming the value of healthcare. HealthQuest has approximately $850M in committed capital across 3 funds. At HealthQuest Randy currently serves on the Boards of Magnolia Medical Technology, Trice Medical, and Springbuk and is a Board observer at CareMetx. He was previously on the Boards of Avizia (acquired by American Well), Virmedica (acquired by CareMetx) and Vestagen Technical Textiles.
Prior to moving into venture capital, Randy was a successful medtech entrepreneur for many years. Randy’s industry successes include starting NovaMin Technology, Inc. leading it through financing, growth and eventual acquisition by GlaxoSmithKline; and a turn-around of USBiomaterials Corp, leading bone-grafting products company to profitability (now known as NovaBone Products, LLC).
He is a graduate of Georgia Tech.
David Seider is a principal at Weatherford Capital, a Tampa-based growth equity firm with over $650 million in committed capital since inception. He leads the firm’s investment analysis, transaction execution, and portfolio management activities. David serves on the board of directors of SOMA Global and HDVI and is a board observer at The Zebra.
Prior to joining Weatherford Capital, David led merger and acquisition execution for Roper Technologies (NYSE: ROP). Previously, David worked as a senior associate at Ballast Point Ventures, executing late-stage venture investments in healthcare and technology companies in the Southeast and Texas. David started his career as an investment banking analyst at Raymond James & Associates, focusing on mergers, acquisitions, and capital raising efforts.
David earned his B.S. in business administration from the University of Florida and is a member of the Florida Blue Key leadership honorary. He earned his M.B.A. degree from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and was a Fuqua Scholar.
Kyp has more than 30 years of experience in creating and growing companies both as an early-stage venture investor and a senior executive in various technology and life science companies.
Kyp is the co-founder and managing partner of Epidarex Capital, a majority women-owned and led venture capital firm which finds, invests in, and builds early-stage breakthrough life sciences companies in emerging hubs. In her role at Epidarex she is responsible for all aspects of the firm from leading investments, financial reporting, and LP relations to developing the strategy for the firm’s future growth.
Prior to co-founding Epidarex, Kyp was part of the senior management team of MASA Life Science Ventures (MLSV), an early-stage life science venture fund where she co-led the fund’s investment strategy and managed several MLSV portfolio investments through successful exits.
Kyp was the funder and managing director of WomenAngels.net LLC, a top-performing 2000 vintage year fund investing in startup technology and healthcare companies in the Mid-Atlantic region. Kyp learned the life science industry as the chief financial officer of Oncologix, a venture-backed, early-stage biotechnology company based in Gaithersburg MD, which was subsequently sold to Antigenics, Inc.
Kyp has extensive experience collaborating directly with numerous universities and in creating companies from university-related technologies. She also was previously the director of a technology accelerator and adjunct professor at George Mason University. Kyp is a frequent speaker on early-stage investing and venture capital.
Kyp has held numerous directorships of startup companies throughout her career. She serves on the boards of Virginia Bio, the Virginia Catalyst, George Mason University Research Foundation, and Southeast Life Science. She is on the advisory board for the University System of Maryland’s Momentum Fund and on the Investment Committees for Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology BioLife Fund and the Ivy Foundation (University of Virginia).
She is a graduate of Boston College’s School of Management Honors Program.
Chris Walker was asked to join the UF Strategic Early Stage Investment Committee in 2019 given his extensive background within private equity.
Chris is currently a principal at HarbourVest Partners where he joined in 1998 in the primary partnership group and has focused most of his efforts on US venture capital and buyout fund investments. Chris also has extensive experience working in the healthcare sector, as well as primary partnerships in Canada. He chairs the ESG Committee at HarbourVest and currently serves on the advisory committees for multiple partnerships in Canada and the United States.
Previously, Chris served as a pilot in the United States Navy for 11 years, flying the P-3 Orion aircraft, and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
He received a bachelor’s degree in finance from Providence College in 1986 where he played lacrosse all four years and a master’s degree in finance from the Carroll School of Management Program at Boston College in 1998.
Chris is also a member of the Providence College Investment Committee and is a former chairman of the Boston President’s counsel for Providence College. He met his wife Susan while at college and currently resides in Scituate, MA, with his three children.