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.

Jackie Willmot, CEO & Co-founder

Jackie has 30+ years of experience in the healthcare industry including executive positions in the Life Science, Payer and Healthcare Service space. Jackie was trained by Steve Blank in his ‘Lean Launchpad Educators Class’ at Stanford University and serves as a business coach in a variety of capacities. She was a founding member and on the Board of Directors of the Network for Entrepreneurial Women and works with healthcare startups via the LaunchIT program where she works closely with Coulter, ExCITE, and iCorp funded companies.  Jackie volunteers her time in the start-up community and has served as a judge for the annual Invention and Innovation Awards competition and the Brown-Forman Cardinal Challenge. She is a Master’s prepared Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist and holds an MBA from the University of Louisville’s entrepreneurship program, a Master’s of Science from the University of Pittsburgh and a Baccalaureate Nursing degree from Villa Maria College.

Eugene Krentsel, CSO & VP of Strategic Partnerships & Alliances

Prior to joining XLerateHealth, Dr. Krentsel served as Associate Vice President for Research and Innovation and Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Louisville. He was responsible for the full range of activities in the discovery-innovation-translation-commercialization spectrum at UofL, including working with external groups in the public and private sectors to promote commercialization of university technologies and advancing industry engagement and entrepreneurship. Prior to being recruited to UofL in 2013, he served as Assistant Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Partnerships at Binghamton University in New York, where he helped develop and protect faculty intellectual property, paired researchers’ expertise with pressing market needs, and offered guidance to faculty and students interested in starting their own business. Eugene is a member of the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee on SBIR.

Rebecca Brown Rice, Life Science Advisor

Rebecca Rice is the Director of Operations at the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council (LHCC).  Previously, Rebecca managed the NIH-REACH Hub  and its associated healthcare technology development grant at the University of Louisville (called ExCITE) where she oversaw the investment of $3million into a portfolio of 19 promising early-stage healthcare technologies, including small molecule therapeutics, diagnostics, mHealth technologies, and direct-to-consumer products.  Rebecca received her BS in Neuroscience from Brown University and is a PhD candidate in Neuroscience at Yale University. 

Zack Pennington, Director, Technology

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.

Nathalie Tapolsky, Intern, Medical Devices

Nathalie recently obtained her Master’s in Bioengineering from the University of Louisville Speed School; she also has a B.S. in Bioengineering from UofL and was a James Graham Brown Fellow, a prestigious and highly selective fellowship, as an undergraduate. Her MEng thesis was done in the Advanced Heart Failure Research Lab located at the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute where she characterized a novel pulsatile left ventricular assist device; she is passionate about medical devices. Nathalie interned with a not-for-profit community health care provider in Colorado, performed research at a biotech company in Lyon, France, studied public health in South Africa and performed research at the Brown Cancer Center.