The Team


Bob Saunders, Chairman & Co-Founder

Bob is a General Partner of OCA Ventures (Chicago), a Founding Partner of Saunders Murdoch and Associates (Louisville/Boston), and is an active investor in many healthcare startups.  Bob was a Managing Director and General Partner at Chrysalis Ventures from 1997 to 2009. Bob was a founding board member of MetaCyte Business Lab, the University of Louisville’s life science incubator. Over the last 30 years, he has invested in several dozen startup companies and has mentored 100+ startups. Bob received a B.A. from Stanford University, an M.Sc. from the London School of  Economics, and an M.A. from Harvard University. He was both a Fulbright Scholar and a Marshall Scholar.

jackiewillmotJackie Willmot, CEO & Co-Founder

Jackie has over 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry and works as a Venture Consultant with startup organizations. In addition to her role as CEO of XLerateHealth, Jackie is the Vice President of Prenatal Diagnostics at NX PharmaGen and leads the Partner Development efforts at THRIVE365, a diabetes oriented startup that originated within Kraft Foods. Jackie has a B.S.N. from Villa Maria College, an M.S.N. from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.B.A. from the University of Louisville.

tedsmithTed Smith, Co-Founder

Ted currently serves as Louisville’s Chief of Civic Innovation and Executive in Residence for the University of Louisville’s Health Sector Management MBA Program. He has served as a Senior Advisor to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and co-founded and sold MedTrackAlert, a company that fueled consumer empowerment in healthcare. Ted has a B.S. in BioPsychology from Allegheny College, a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from Miami University and a Post-Doc in Cognitive Science from MIT.

bobbyferreriBobby Ferreri, Co-Founder 

Bobby is currently the Founder and Managing Partner of Ferreri Partners – a Louisville based law firm. After gaining distinction as a member of the American Inn of Court at the Brandeis School of Law, Bobby was admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 2004. Following his admittance, he has spent his career in litigation, economic development and entrepreneurial advisory roles. His current practice is focused on employer and small business related issues offering both legal expertise and practical solutions. Bobby has a B.S. in Finance from Miami University, and both a J.D. and M.B.A. from the University of Louisville.

Rebecca Brown XLerateHealthRebecca Brown, Director

Concurrent with her PhD work at Yale University, Rebecca completed internships both in Yale’s Office of Cooperative Research and in the Lead Discovery department at Bristol-Myers Squibb. As such, she has seen technology development through several distinct lenses and hopes to learn more from the XLerateHealth team about the interface of academia, biotechnology, and business.

Rebecca is a Neuroscience PhD candidate at Yale University. She received her B.S. in Neuroscience from Brown University.

Daniel Johnsen XLerateHealthDaniel Johnsen, Director

Daniel is a process-driven entrepreneur. Daniel company focuses in the wellness & fitness industry. In the region, Daniel has coached undergraduate, graduate, accelerator and volunteer teams on their presentation & lean startup experiments. Daniel has helped participated in and organized startup events including Startup Weekend for multiple cities.

Daniel hold a B.S.B.A in Computer Information Systems and an M.B.A., both from the University of Louisville.

zackpenningtonZack Pennington, Director

Zack is a creative and active entrepreneur. As the CEO and Co-Founder of a biotechnology startup, he has first hand experience in commercializing a university-developed technology. Zack has participated in several Startup Weekends and will work with the accelerator community to facilitate similar healthcare oriented events. He received a B.A. in Communications and an M.B.A. from the University of Louisville.