One of the key characteristics of Austin’s Innovation District is connecting innovators. Capital City Innovation has had the privilege of working with inspiring individuals engaged in this activity. People who are changing the way we think about health in Austin and who are bringing others along with them.
Verena Kallhoff is one of those people. Kahllhoff serves as the Manager of Workspaces @ Texas Health CoLab but her impact goes beyond the workbenches and desks in the CoLab. In Dell Medical School’s Health Discovery Building she has led an effort that is not only providing a community resource for entrepreneurs in health but also expanding our community of collaborators.
In March of this year Kahllhoff started the Learning Series, a monthly event that is open to Texas Health CoLab participants and the general public. The Learning Series draws upon the expertise of industry leaders, clinicians, investors and seasoned entrepreneurs to help innovators understand the opportunities and challenges of innovating in health care.
Connecting the Dots
Adrianna Cantu, CEO and Co-Founder of Revealix has been attending the series since June. Although she’s been an executive in health care for some time, Cantu started her career at Brackenridge Hospital and is a Physical Therapist by training with board certification as a wound care specialist. Her company is a recent graduate of TMC’s digital health accelerator program in Houston, where Verena also serves as a mentor. She said that following Verena’s work led her to discovering the Learning Series and that the information provided at them has helped her to troubleshoot and fortify her game plan as CEO.
After attending the Learning in Series in July she connected with the speaker Carol Pratt, who is an experienced regulatory attorney and partner at Lee & Hayes. Pratt covered FDA regulations on digital health, a topic that Cantu said was “very niche” as compared to what one might hear from traditional medical device experts. Pratt’s deep dive on digital health strategy was just what she needed to hear.
It helped her define her path to market in a connection that she described as “pivotal to the company”.
“This is part of my story. It’s why I show up…. I trust there will be some of the best people.”
Adrianna Cantu, CEO and Co-Founder of Revealix
Providing Vision and Value
Cantu’s connection with Pratt is just one of many. With the first Learning Series event having just over 40 people registered, it has now had almost 800 people in attendance to date and quickly outgrew its initial classroom setting. So far there have been 8 seminars covering topics such as managing SBIR/STTR grants to conducting clinical research.
“Austin has had an incredibly vibrant and mature technology innovation ecosystem for many years and with the arrival of Dell Med School, many people were very enthusiastic about health innovation.
However, health care is a very complex industry and we saw an opportunity to educate entrepreneurs, give visibility to the resources in the community, while at the same time offering a chance for health entrepreneurs and those who’d like to step into it to find community and build a network. From the start, we have focused on topics of interest to entrepreneurs in health care and areas that we are uniquely positioned to address.”
Verena Kallhoff, Manager of Workspaces @ Texas Health CoLab
Recently, a happy hour has been organized following each learning event providing an opportunity for unstructured networking. The happy hours are coordinated along with #PinkSocks and Venture Atlas Labs.
So What’s Ahead?
Join the last of the series THIS Thursday. You can join live at Dell Medical School or at one of the various live stream locations in Texas. And expect to see the series continue with exciting topics in 2019!
The Series is currently hosted the last Thursday of the month and has a live stream supported by CCI with partners across Central Texas and the potential to expand.
Want to support the series? Local businesses interested in supporting the growing health innovation ecosystem through this series can contact Verena about sponsorship opportunities at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Victoria O'Dell, Program and Communications Manager, Capital City Innovation
As Program and Communications Manager of Capital City Innovation, Victoria facilitates channels for collaborative work around Austin's emerging Innovation district in downtown Austin and beyond. Previously, she was a freelance designer working with non-profits, small businesses, and startups across Austin.
Follow Victoria on Twitter @victoria_odell