Health and Military are increasingly becoming drivers in Austin’s regional economy. Organically, they have become two of the most prevalent industries we work with at Capital Factory through monthly meetups, breakfasts, hack-a-thons, as well as investments in the ecosystem. Capital Factory currently houses the Defense Innovation Unit: Experimental (DIUx), a Department of Defense (DoD) branch created to help answer national security challenges with advanced technology. Exploring the intersection of emerging technologies and healthcare, an EMD Group innovation team operating out of Capital Factory also furthers the health tech industry in Austin.
We’re excited to announce Craig Cummings, a former Army Intelligence Officer turned serial entrepreneur, as our new Director of Military and Veteran Affairs and Wendy Smith, former Executive Director of Seton Health Plan, as our new Director of Health Tech. They have been both been involved with Capital Factory for a while, but this formal appointment increases their day-to-day involvement and makes each of them the go-to person in their specialty.
Capital Factory hosts the Bunker Labs Austin and collaborates with them to mentor and promote Veteran entrepreneurs. Recently, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced the deployment of a Defense Innovation Unit: Experimental (DIUx) at Capital Factory focused on sourcing technology solutions from startups to help the military. Craig recently welcomed Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning to Capital Factory where he announced a new “Hack the Army” initiative.
Capital Factory is already a hub of Health Tech entrepreneurship today, hosting the monthly Health Tech Breakfast and incubating startups such as Axon Health, Chiron Health, MDPortal, MedNoxa and NarrativeDX. We’ve been supporters of the Dell Medical School since it’s inception and have also worked with other healthcare providers and drug development companies to source technology from startups.
Maninder “Mini” Kahlon, Vice Dean for Strategy & Partnerships at Dell Medical School, is “delighted that Capital Factory is investing in the growth of the health innovation ecosystem in Austin, deepening their engagement by bringing on a seasoned health care executive [like] Wendy Smith.”
“We’re delighted that Capital Factory is investing in the growth of the health innovation ecosystem in Austin.” — Mini Kahlon, Vice Dean for Strategy & Partnerships at Dell Medical School
Craig has been a mentor at Capital Factory for more than a year but has been mentoring and investing in tech startups, many of which are founded by military veteran entrepreneurs, for years as an angel investor and now as a Venture Capitalist at Moonshots Capital. He’s the co-founder and former COO of RideScout (now moovel) and was recently named one of the “Top 20 Military Veteran Tech Entrepreneurs” by Inc Magazine. After attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, Craig served as an Assistant Professor of Political Science in the Department of Social Sciences. Not only does Craig have all of this on his resume, but he’s also an honorable Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a program that helps develop the next generation of world leaders.
Wendy’s also been mentoring our startups for many years. She’s a seasoned Healthcare Executive offering over 25 years of health plan, provider and healthcare technology experience. She’s President and CEO of Wendy M. Smith and Associates, was the previous Executive Director of Seton Health Plan, and executive for several large health insurance companies. She focuses on strategy and reimbursement negotiations including value-based pricing and population health management.
With extensive resumes like those, who wouldn’t be thrilled to have these two on their team? But it’s our entrepreneurs whose opinions matter most. Eric Frey, a military veteran, founder and CEO of current Capital Factory health tech startup, MedNoxa, told us that “Craig is the perfect person to help veterans use their unique skills to overcome the risks and excel in the transition to entrepreneurship.”
“Craig is the perfect person to help veterans use their unique skills to overcome the risks and excel in the transition to entrepreneurship.” — Eric Frey, Veteran CEO of MedNoxa
Andrew O’Hara, founder and CEO of health tech startup, Chiron Health, couldn’t agree more. Andrew sees this as a “tremendous growth in the Health Tech space, and [because of this, Capital Factory] has the opportunity to become one of the leading hubs for healthcare innovation. Wendy has been a fantastic advocate for healthcare entrepreneurs and is well positioned to help move Austin’s Health Tech community forward.”
“Capital Factory has the opportunity to become one of the leading hubs for healthcare innovation.” — Andy O’Hara, CEO of Chiron Health
“No one has a bigger network of healthcare executives in Austin than Wendy, and no one has a bigger network of veteran entrepreneurs in the country than Craig. Now all of the entrepreneurs at Capital Factory have access to their networks and expertise as well,” said Joshua Baer, founder of Capital Factory.
“No one has a bigger network of healthcare executives in Austin than Wendy, and no one has a bigger network of veteran entrepreneurs in the country than Craig.” — Joshua Baer, founder of Capital Factory
We’re Looking for Health and Military Mentors and Investors
Interested in learning more about becoming a mentor at Capital Factory? Come to the next Intro to Mentoring & Angel Investing meetup or come in for a tour and ask to meet with our Mentor Coordinator, Sarah Menicucci.
We’re looking for Health and Military Startups (including Veteran)
If you have a technology startup in the Health or Military industries or if you are a Veteran entrepreneur, come to the next Intro to the Austin Startup Scene meetup or come in for a tour.