TRACK B- Business Growth:

Fundraising Strategies

Entrepreneurs know it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and funds to make a company successful. Scientist-entrepreneurs and fundraising CEOs need to know that a clear value proposition will be the differentiating factor in progressing your discussions with investors past the initial conversation. Join us for a discussion around different financing vehicles in life sciences, from grants to equity to debt, and the key milestones needed to close each one.

David Heenan
Director of Operations, BrightEdge Ventures at American Cancer Society

David Heenan began his career working on trade, security, and nonproliferation policy issues for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce in Beijing, China and then at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, IL. He then transitioned over to the political side, working on economic development for the Governor of Georgia, before joining a congressional office and running digital media for a US Senate campaign. After the campaign ended he joined the Editorial Staff of the Journal on Preventing Chronic Disease published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA. It was there that he came face to face with the inefficiencies in medical research and lack of accessibility to cutting edge care. In 2015, he left the CDC and founded Aces Health in order to address these challenges by leveraging mobile technology and artificial intelligence. Aces Health, now, was acquired by a San Francisco based Venture Studio in 2018. Following the death of his grandfather due to colon cancer, he shifted his focus to fighting cancer and ending the pain and suffering for patients and families affected by the disease.   


David graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. in International Affairs as a Richard B. Russel Security Leadership Fellow. 

Tom Callaway, MD, MBA
Venture Partner, HealthQuest Capital

Tom has been a venture partner with HealthQuest since 2012, where he leverages his training as a physician, experience in the diagnostics industry and success as one of the industry’s best executive recruiters and management team builders. He currently serves as a board member of HealthQuest portfolio company InMediata and an observer for BioIQ and Lineagen.

Tom founded Life Science Partner, a very successful executive recruiting firm that has helped build the leadership teams at some of the world’s foremost medical device and pharmaceutical companies, as well as many venture-backed companies in the medical device, biotech and healthcare services sectors.

Prior to LSP, he led similar practices at Korn/Ferry and Russell Reynolds. Tom has learned that the quality of a company’s management team predicts it’s success more than products or technologies and that perspective guides him in looking at companies for HealthQuest.

Tom began his career at Roche Molecular, where he developed and implemented their first marketing programs around PCR for medical diagnostics, including HIV detection. Like all HealthQuest partners he then worked inside a start-up, SyStemix where he established technology developmental partnerships with major cancer centers including MD Anderson, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Mayo Clinic. SyStemix developed proprietary stem cell purifying technologies important for treatment of cancer and genetic illnesses. He was the liaison with Sandoz's oncology group, whose parent company completed its acquisition of the company in 1996.

Tom has been especially active at promoting the industry across his home state of Georgia and the entire southeast. He is former Chairman of Georgia Bio, co-founder of SEMDA, the Southeast Medical Device Association and serves on the boards of SEBIO and the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at Georgia Tech.

Tom earned his MD from Vanderbilt and both his undergraduate degree and MBA from Duke University. He lives in Atlanta and splits his free time between hiking/skiing in the mountains and kite-boarding on the coast.

Kim Seals
General Partner, The JumpFund

Kim is an active investor in early-stage technology, health care, consumer product, and media companies. In addition to her role with The JumpFund, Kim is also a Managing Director and co-founder of the Atlanta chapter of Golden Seeds.  Since 2013, The JumpFund has invested in 25 woman-led, Southeast based companies across our two venture capital funds. 

Golden Seeds is a leading force in focusing on women’s leadership, gender diversity, entrepreneurship and job creation. Investments are made through our nationwide angel network and venture funds. We have invested more than $110 million in women-led companies in technology, health care, consumer products and media.  

Kim has over twenty-five years of global expertise in human resource consulting, corporate and leadership roles. Kim’s experience includes leading M&A transactions, service delivery transformation, talent, compensation, benefits and recruiting program design, as well as technology development, selection and implementations. 

Kim most recently was a Senior Partner with Mercer, a global HR consulting firm, responsible for leading their overall go-to-market strategies in Atlanta. Kim received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Louisiana State University.  

Mary Beth Thomas, PhD
Senior Vice President, Science and Business Development,
North Carolina Biotechnology Center

Mary Beth Thomas was promoted to senior vice president, science and business development in July 2018 after serving several years as vice president of NCBiotech’s Emerging Sector Development program. 

As senior vice president, she is responsible for the Center's emerging company development (ECD) and science and technology development (SciTech) programs, as well as the information technology and life science intelligence programs. The ECD and SciTech units administer the Center’s loan and grant programs. Thomas has also managed the Center’s biodefense/biosecurity and precision health initiatives. 

Before joining NCBiotech in 2008, Thomas served as the statewide director of technology commercialization with the Small Business and Technology Development Center in Raleigh. Before that, she was the assistant director of the neurosensory program at Tranzyme Pharma in Research Triangle Park. She also served as an assistant director of the neuroprotection program at Cogent Neuroscience in Durham. 

Thomas earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biotechnology at the Rochester Institute of Technology (New York), a doctorate in developmental biology from the University of Cincinnati and served as a postdoctoral fellow with the Department of Neurobiology at Duke University. 

Nicole Walker
Partner, Baird Capital

Nicole Walker joined Baird Capital's Venture Capital team in 2013 and focuses on early-to-growth stage healthcare investments. Nicole is a current member of the board of directors at Amphora Medical, Elucent Medical, MI Bioresearch, NeoChord, Inc, NeuMoDx Molecular, and Strata Oncology. She is also a Life Science Council member for Springboard Enterprises, an accelerator program dedicated to building high-growth technology-oriented companies led by women.

Prior to joining Baird Capital, Nicole was a venture investor with Abbott focusing on early stage biotech, device, and diagnostic opportunities; and prior to that with Onset Ventures, a Menlo Park, CA firm that specializes in seed & early staged healthcare and tech service investments. Before starting in venture, Nicole served in a number of operating roles. Beginning her career as a reliability & process engineer with Guidant's Advanced Cardiovascular Systems division, she went on to hold a variety of roles within product design, engineering management, and marketing management including roles in Commercial Marketing for Guidant's Asia Pacific operations, based in Hong Kong and in Strategic Marketing for Abbott's OUS discrete and continuous diabetes monitoring brands.  

Nicole received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and dual Masters Degrees in Business Administration and Engineering Management from the Kellogg School of Management & the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University. 

© 2019 by Georgia Bio. Proudly created with