Christopher Rand, CFA
Co-founder & Managing Director
Mr. Rand co-founded TriStar Technology Ventures in 2009. Through his role at TriStar, he serves on the Board of Directors for Angel Eye, Carrot Medical, Cobra Introducer, Evermind, InvisionHeart, MedCenterDisplay, Octovis, Preferral and Nashville Capital Network. Prior to co-founding TriStar, Mr. Rand was the Manager of New Venture Development in Vanderbilt’s Office of Technology Transfer and Enterprise Development. That responsibility included licensing Vanderbilt intellectual property, assisting in the formation of new start-up companies and working with existing start-ups. Since beginning as the Chancellor’s Fund in 2000, Vanderbilt has invested a significant amount of capital into 30 different Vanderbilt-related companies. Mr. Rand was responsible for managing this portfolio and represented Vanderbilt on the boards of five of these companies.
Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Mr. Rand worked in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ valuation group, providing consulting and transaction support services. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and his MBA from Vanderbilt.
Brian Laden, Ph.D.
Co-founder & Managing Director
Dr. Laden co-founded TriStar Technology Ventures in 2009. Through his role at TriStar, he serves on the Board of Directors for Molecular Sensing, NuSirt Biopharma and Diagnovus (exited), the Advisory Board for Cumberland Emerging Technologies and holds an observer seat on the Boards of TVA, BioStable and GenomOncology. Prior to the founding of TriStar, Dr. Laden served as the Assistant Director in the Office of Technology Transfer and Enterprise Development at Vanderbilt University. That role involved leading various technology transfer functions for Vanderbilt, which included identifying, protecting, marketing and licensing promising new technologies to companies of all stages and sizes, as well as developing collaborative, sponsored R&D and material transfer relationships with industry. He also participated in the office’s venture investment and company formation activities. Since beginning as the Chancellor Fund in 2000, Vanderbilt invested a substantial amount of capital into 30 different Vanderbilt-related companies.
Before moving into technology transfer, Dr. Laden was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt, where his work focused on structure-function studies of the cytochromes P450. He holds a doctorate in Toxicology from the University of Kentucky, a master’s degree in Environmental and Industrial Health from the University of Michigan and an undergraduate degree in biology from Penn State University.
Barry Didato serves shareholders and supports innovators to help them succeed in a rapidly changing global healthcare industry. Barry’s background and experience in investments, mergers & acquisitions and strartups, combined with a global business perspective enable him to assist the Institute in reaching its highest potential in terms of volume of ideas and inventions, as well as mission, impact, value, and access to care for vulnerable populations internationally.
Barry has over 25 years of experience in due diligence, investments and M&A leadership. He previously served for 14 years as Director of Strategic Investment for the Saudi Royal Family, and their various holding companies. During his career, he has earned values-based reputation for integrity, for creativity, and for helping deliver a continuous culture of improvement on behalf of shareholders. He has developed a global network of collaborative strategic business relationships and partnerships to help scale businesses in numerous international markets.
Barry received a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design & Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He earned a Master’s Degree in Real Estate, focusing on entrepreneurial management, finance and design thinking to accelerate innovation from Harvard University Graduate School of Design in conjunction with Harvard Business School, where he was the recipient of the Aga Khan Fellowship and Gerald D. Hines Fellowship Awards.
Harry R. Jacobson, M.D.
Co-founder & Partner
Prior to co-founding TriStar, Dr. Jacobson was Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs at Vanderbilt University and the CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). VUMC consists of a medical school, nursing school and a healthcare system. During Dr. Jacobson’s 11+ year tenure, VUMC revenues grew from approximately $750 million to $2.5 billion, its Federally funded (NIH) research program moved from 24th to one of the top 10 in the country, it opened over $1 billion of newly constructed facilities, it was recognized as a “most-wired” hospital as well as a U. S. News and World Report honor-roll hospital, and, most recently, it was recognized as a Fortune top-100 place to work. In addition, in his role at VUMC, Dr. Jacobson participated in the oversight of technology transfer operations that resulted in the creation of over 30 companies.
During the course of his career, Dr. Jacobson has been a successful investor and entrepreneur, having founded or co-founded eight companies, including Contact Software (the developer of Act!, the world’s leading contact management software), which was acquired by Symantec (SYMC: NASDAQ), Renal Care Group (RCG: NYSE), a leading dialysis service company, acquired by Fresenius Medical Care (FMS: NYSE), Ambulatory Services of America, a diversified outpatient ancillary services provider of dialysis and radiation oncology services, and CeloNova Biosciences, a medical device company with two CE-approved and one FDA-approved products.
Dr. Jacobson has been both a formal and informal advisor to several venture and private equity funds. He previously served on the Board of Directors of Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK: NYSE) and is also a past chair of the Nashville Health Care Council Board of Directors. Currently Dr. Jacobson serves on the Boards of Ingram Industries and SpecialtyCare Inc., as well as several other healthcare companies. In 2002 he was named the Ernst and Young Southeast Entrepreneur of the Year and was recently ranked No. 35 on Modern Physician’s ranking of the 50 Most Powerful Physician Executives in Healthcare.
Director of Investor Relations
Through her role at TriStar, Mrs. Harris is responsible for investor relations and other communication activities with LPs and existing portfolio companies. She also interfaces with the State as it relates to both the TNInvestco and INCITE initiatives. Mrs. Harris assists in many aspects of the investment process, from sourcing, screening and evaluating investment opportunities, to conducting due diligence and market research for potential deals. She provides on-going operational support, including fund administration, cash management, internal transaction support, and marketing and public relations activities.
Prior to joining TriStar in May 2010, Mrs. Harris served as the Communications Coordinator in Office of Technology Transfer and Enterprise Development at Vanderbilt University where she interfaced with inventors, potential commercial partners and the community. Before joining Vanderbilt, she worked as a Marketing Coordinator at The Beach Company, a real estate and development firm in Charleston, South Carolina. Mrs. Harris received dual undergraduate degrees in Advertising and Sociology from The University of Georgia.
Stephen Shaya, M.D.
Since 2004, Dr. Shaya has been the Chief Medical Officer and EVP of Corporate Development of J & B Medical, a global healthcare solutions company. J & B is a privately held global healthcare consortium based in Wixom, Michigan. Founded in 1996, J & B has sixteen different business enterprises and has customers in 48 states and 28 countries. This innovative company has brought many new ideas and solutions forward to the delivery care and continues to strive to improve patient access and quality. His role oversees all strategy, innovation and growth. By leading the planning and development of their new enterprises, many describe him as an “intrapreneur”, someone who behaves as an entrepreneur within a large organization.
Dr. Shaya has received many recognitions including becoming a Knight of Grace for the Knights of Malta, the 2015 Global Distinguished Health Care Award from the Center of Economic and Leadership Development, and a United States Congressional Commendation. In addition, he received a Global Medical Innovation and Leadership Award August 19, 2016 and a NY State Senate Commendation with both presented at the United Nations in New York City, New York. Finally, Dr. Shaya recently was anointed the title of Ambassador and a surname of “His Excellency” within the Knights of Malta, OSJ.