DR. MANNY VILLAFANA
Founder, Medical 21
Founder, St. Jude Medical
Founder, Cardiac Pacemakers/Guidant
Founder, ATS Medical
Manny Villafaña has a substantial track record of founding companies that develop and deliver successful medical products to the healthcare market. Medical 21 is Manny’s eighth medical device company, and he has led his previous seven companies to an IPO financing.
As the founder of Cardiac Pacemaker, Inc. (CPI)/Guidant, he co-invented the first long-life lithium-powered pacemakers and defibrillators which revolutionized the pacemaker industry. The technology he developed in 1972 is still in use in virtually every defibrillator and pacemaker worldwide. CPI was purchased by Boston Scientific for $27 billion.
He was the founder of St. Jude Medical, Inc and the co-developer of the St. Jude heart valve – an innovative mechanical bi-leaflet heart valve that dramatically reduced the frequency of blood clots. This is the most commonly used prosthesis in the world, in approximately five million patients. St. Jude was purchased by Abbott Laboratories for $30 billion.
Manny went on to develop several other companies including ATS Medical, which introduced the new generation ATS open-pivot heart valve. ATS was purchased by Medtronic for $400 million.
Born in the South Bronx to Puerto Rican immigrants, Manny quickly showed aptitude as a salesman. In his early 20s, he went to work for Picker International, a medical device exporter, selling medical products on behalf of companies such as Minneapolis-based Medtronic Inc., which precipitated his relocation to Minneapolis.
Manny has received numerous awards and honors including:
2010 Induction into the Minnesota Science and Technology Hall of Fame
2006 Ellis Island Medal of Honor
2006 Living Legend of Medicine Award from the World Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons
1998 Grand Prize Recipient from the Mediterranean Institute of Cardiology
1993 Inductee into the Boys and Girls Club of America Hall of Fame
1990 National Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Master category
Manny has guest lectured at Harvard, Universities of Minnesota, Iowa, Notre Dame, Miami of Ohio, Stanford, Brown, St. Olaf, and other notable universities, which led to receiving an honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the University of Iowa in 2014. He has donated generously to numerous charities and nonprofits, including the Kips Bay Boys’ and Girls’ Club of The Bronx, New York and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C..
Managing Partner, SV Health Investors
Former COO, Boston Scientific
Former President VC, Boston Scientific
Former President, International, Boston Scientific
Paul joined SV in 2009 as a Venture Partner and in 2011 was made a Partner. Paul was promoted to Managing Partner & COO in 2014 and heads our medical device investments.
Prior to SV, Paul built and ran medical device businesses for 29 years before joining SV Health Investors. Most recently he was Chief Operating Officer at Boston Scientific (BSC), an $8 billion medical device leader. During his 15 years at BSC, Paul served as Chief Operating Officer; Group President, Cardiovascular; President, Cardiology; Group President, Endosurgery; and President, International.
During his tenure, the company grew revenue over 20 times. Paul integrated two dozen acquisitions and led extensive product development, manufacturing and worldwide commercial organizations. Previously, Paul held marketing and general management positions at CR Bard and various marketing roles at Kendall (Medtronic).
Outside of SV, Paul serves as Chairman of the Medical Device Manufacturing Association and as Vice Chairman of the Innovation Advisory Board for the Partners Health System. Paul also served on the board of Advamed for 10 years and is a routine speaker at industry meetings.
BA, Psychology, Fairfield University; MBA, Boston College
DR. AJIT SINGH
Partner, Artiman Ventures
Former President and CEO, BioImagene
Former CEO of Digital Radiology and Medical Informatics, Siemens Healthcare
Former President and CEO of the Oncology Care Systems Group, Siemens Healthcare
Former Group Vice President of Siemens e-Health
Former Vice President of Siemens Health Services
Ajit Singh focuses on early-stage Technology and Life Science investments. He currently represents Artiman on the boards of Aditazz, CORE Diagnostics, medECUBE, and Visby Medical.
Ajit is also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Medicine at Stanford University and serves on the Board of Directors of Max Healthcare based in New Delhi, India.
Prior to joining Artiman, Ajit was the President and CEO of BioImagene (acquired by Roche), a Digital Pathology company. Before BioImagene, Ajit spent nearly twenty years at Siemens in various roles, most recently as the Chief Executive Officer of the Digital Radiology and Medical Informatics business of Siemens Healthcare. His previous roles included President and CEO of the Oncology Care Systems Group, Group Vice President of Siemens e-Health, and Vice President of Siemens Health Services. From 1989 to 1995, he was at Siemens Corporate Research working on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Computer Vision, and Image Analysis. During this time, he concurrently served on the faculty at Princeton University.
Ajit has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Columbia University, a master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Syracuse University, and a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Banaras Hindu University, India. He has published two books and numerous refereed articles and holds five patents.
Director, Venture Investments, Johnson & Johnson
With over a decade of experience in venture capital investment, Tamir is responsible for identifying and leading medical device, consumer and health technology investments in line with Johnson & Johnson sector strategies. This includes deal sourcing, due diligence, negotiation, structuring, decision making, execution, and post-investment portfolio management.
Covering West North America, Australia & New Zealand, Tamir is an engaged, hands-on investor who likes to be detail-oriented and involved in his companies. He aims to help young entrepreneurs maximize their potential by providing meaningful advice and empowerment through close relationships and personal commitment to the people and companies in JJDC's portfolio.
Prior to joining JJDC, Tamir worked at GKH Law Offices – one of the largest law firms in Israel, supporting the firm's managing partners for over six years in many aspects of the various deal processes, including marketing and business development.
Tamir has a B.Sc in Chemistry from Tel-Aviv University and an extensive background in biomedical engineering and entrepreneurship, as well as an MBA with a major in Finance, from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.
DR. ABE HEIFETZ
Abraham Heifets is the CEO of Atomwise, which uses artificial intelligence to help discover new medicine. Abraham was a Massey Fellow at the University of Toronto and the Ontario Brain Institute, where his doctoral work used machine learning to help plan organic syntheses, a long-standing challenge in chemistry. Previously, Abraham researched high-performance data processing at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center and contributed to the artificial intelligence system of the world-champion robotic soccer team at Cornell University, from which he holds two previous degrees. Abraham has presented his work at the National Institutes of Health, the American Chemical Society, and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. He is an author on 19 papers, patents, and patent applications. He was a Time Person of the Year in 2006.
Mehdi has over 20 years of experience building great teams and operating both startups and public companies. Before BookRenter, Mehdi was SVP of products and services at CafePress where he joined the team in the early days and grew the company to over $130M in revenues. Prior to CafePress, Mehdi was SVP of products at Intellisync where they had 90% ownership of the mobile sync market before Nokia bought the company for $450M. Mehdi held a number of executive positions at other Valley companies and currently sits on the board of BookRenter, Pbworks and Fotomoto. Mehdi is also a geek at heart and did his undergraduate studies at Berkeley and his graduate studies in computer science at Stanford.
Partner, Questa Capital
Brian is a Partner at Questa Capital where he focuses on sourcing and executing new investment opportunities and monitoring portfolio companies. Prior to joining Questa, Brian was an analyst and associate at Great Point Partners, a healthcare private equity firm, where he spent three years focusing on growth-oriented transactions in the medical device and life science industries. Brian was previously a consultant at Insight Strategy Advisors where he completed a variety of engagements with pharmaceutical and life science companies. Brian graduated from Harvard University with an AB, magna cum laude, in Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology and received his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Co-founder/Managing Partner, DigitalDx Ventures
Michele Colucci, Co-founder/Managing Partner, is a lawyer, investor, serial entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She has authored five patents in the technology space and founded companies in the legal, technology, retail, and entertainment spaces. Michele’s extensive experience operating in highly regulated verticals has focused on issues from management to legal (employment, corporate, International, litigation, torts, negotiations, business strategy, and marketing). Her most recent company focused on the application of big data and artificial intelligence in legal technology. She has worked at law firms including Hughes Hubbard & Reed, run her own media production company, owned and operated a chain of retail stores in the political space, run a political fundraising venue, and founded a legal technology company.
Currently, Michele serves on public and private Boards of Directors at Global Indemnity Group, Nephrosant, Optina Diagnostics, Prime Genomics, and Trayt. She is also an Advisor to eHealth Analytics (a digital health startup) and Quantellia (a platform powering decision-based analytics through artificial intelligence). She is a Huffington Postblogger on female entrepreneurship and an award-winning expert on E-Local. She has served as a regular guest lecturer and mentor at Stanford University’s School of Engineering focused on Global Marketing and Entrepreneurship and has lectured at USC’s Gould School of Law.
In 2017 Michele was named by the Nobel Laureate Foundation as a West Coast Ambassador for her ongoing work in concert the Nobel Laureate Foundation to expand their global footprint and aid young scientists— selected from around the world to attend their summer program—to connect, learn, and interact with Nobel Laureates in their field of study. She has served on nonprofit boards including NOFAS (National Organization for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome), Hope After Divorce, and City Hearts.
The Silicon Valley Business Journal honored Michele as a ‘Silicon Valley Woman of Influence.’ She was featured in a cover article of the American Bar Journal as a ‘Leading Woman in Legal Technology’ and named a ‘Person to Watch’ by Silicon Valley’s Gentry Magazine. Michele’s accomplishments have been featured in a variety of media including NBC, Inc. Magazine, Redbook, and the San Jose Mercury News.
Michele earned her Bachelor’s degrees in English and Philosophy and J.D. from Georgetown University. She earned a Master’s in Fine Arts from the American Film Institute. She speaks three languages, and lives in Silicon Valley with her four children.
DR. CHRIS APFEL
Chair, Life Science Committee, Keirtsu Forum
Christian Apfel is internationally recognized for changing medical practice by bringing innovation to millions of patients by designing and executing on highest quality clinical research. One of his most notable innovations, the “Apfel Score,” is now used in clinical practice globally. Chris has turned his attention to precision medicine and is the founder and CEO of SageMedic Corporation. SageMedic redefines precision medicine with its SAGE Direct Platform™ to help millions of cancer patients to identify the most effective treatment by overcoming limitations inherent to genome-driven targeted therapy. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and is an Adjunct Professor at UCSF. He is an investor with Life Science Angels and the chair of the life science committee at the Keiretsu Forum. Chris is a California licensed physician and received his MD/PhD from Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Germany, and his an MBA from Wharton, University of Pennsylvania, PA.
DR. SAMMY DATWANI
Board of Directors, Life Science Angels
Dr. Sammy S. Datwani is the Vice President of Development at Synthego. He has previously been Head of Technology Development at Inscripta, Sr. Director of R&D and Principal Scientist at Labcyte (Beckman Coulter Life Sciences) and was also at Eksigent Technologies and Caliper Life Sciences. His career focus has been on the development of emergent life sciences technologies, particularly revolutionary biotech tools and microfluidics-based instruments. Sammy serves on the Board of Directors for the Life Science Angels, the Society of Laboratory Automation & Screening (SLAS) and the Johns Hopkins University School of Engineering. Dr. Datwani was inducted to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers (AIMBE). He received his Ph.D. in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.
Founder, Tau Ventures
My focus is mostly on digital health and a little bit on automation / logistics. I have been in Silicon Valley for 20+ years — at Samsung NEXT Ventures, cofounded a startup called HealthIQ (as of May 2019 a series D that has raised $137M and valued at $450M), at Norwest Ventures, and doing product and analytics at Google. My academic training is BS in computer science and MS in biomedical informatics, both from Stanford, and MBA from Harvard. I speak natively 3 languages, live carbon-neutral, am a 70.3 Ironman finisher, and have built a hospital in rural India serving 100,000 people.
Key investments I have worked on in the past include UniKey (smart locks), nuTonomy (self-driving cars, sold for $450M), BioBeats (machine learning for human well-being, acquired by Huma / Medapod), Glooko (diabetes management), Cohero Health (respiratory management), Terapede (low-dosage X-ray detection), Figure1 (medical communication), HealthifyMe (fitness and health-tracking), Healthy.io (home-based urinalysis) and RapidDeploy (cloud-based emergency response).
Founder and Managing Partner, PanCosmic Capital
Vishal Arora is the founder and managing partner of PanCosmic Capital.
A seasoned venture capitalist, Vishal was previously an investor at Blumberg Capital, a San Francisco based early-stage VC, where he invested in and worked closely with early-stage technology startups such as Workjam (Raised $60M Series C), Biocatch (Raised $165M Series C), Doubleverify ($4.2B IPO) and Braze ($8B IPO).
Prior to Blumberg Capital, he was at Salesforce’s Corporate Development team where his investments included Apttus (~$2B acq. by Thoma Bravo), Mulesoft ($6.5B acq. by Salesforce), Steelbrick ($365M acq. by Salesforce) and Vlocity ($1.3B acq. by Salesforce).
In his previous life, Vishal was part of Technology investment banking team at Goldman Sachs working closely with Technology clients on strategic transactions and was involved in the Uber investment at the Series B stage while it was still an upcoming Silicon Valley based startup.
In his free time, Vishal likes to spend time with loved ones, read on topics such as psychology, history, spirituality, business/tech/finance, play tennis and sweat it out in the gym. He believes that free entrepreneurial spirit in technology holds the key in dissipating obsolete boundaries that can unlock the next phase of planetary evolution.
Partner, Wilson Sonsini
James Huie is a corporate and securities partner in Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati's San Francisco office, where he has one of the most active practices in the country representing venture-backed companies. He advises life sciences and technology companies on general corporate matters, mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, strategic partnerships, and private equity and debt financings. He also has extensive experience in representing venture capital firms and other investors in private equity and debt financings.
James also serves on the investment committee for the firm's affiliated fund, the WS Investment Company.
DR. ALI ALEMOZAFAR
Partner, Wilson Sonsini
Dr. Ali R. Alemozafar is a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where he focuses on strategic intellectual property counseling in a wide range of technical fields, including diagnostics, tools, genomics, digital health, bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, materials and various engineering fields.
His expertise includes patent strategy, patent prosecution, and patent diligence—including freedom-to-operate analyses—for financings, mergers and acquisitions, and public offerings. Ali has prepared and prosecuted patent applications in the United States and other jurisdictions, including Europe, China, and Japan. He provides legal counseling to companies at various stages of growth, from pre-financing start-ups to public companies.
Prior to joining the firm, Ali worked on data warehousing, business intelligence, and enterprise data integration. He frequently lectures at the UC Berkeley School of Law and UC Hastings College of the Law on various intellectual property topics, including patent strategy and IP due diligence.