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Tim Kopra is a partner with Blue Bear Capital, a venture capital firm investing in companies that provide digital technology solutions for the energy supply chain. Prior to Blue Bear, Tim served in various leadership and operational roles at NASA as an engineer and astronaut. While at NASA, Tim lived and worked on the International Space Station during two spaceflights, completing three spacewalks and logging 244 days in space. In 2016, Tim served as the ISS Commander for Expedition 47.
Tim served in the U.S. Army for 25 years as an Army aviator. He was deployed to Operations Desert Shield and Storm and then commanded an AH-64 Attack Helicopter Company. Following studies at Georgia Tech and completing the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School, Tim served as the Developmental Test Director for the Army’s Comanche Program until his assignment to NASA in 1998. Tim was selected as an astronaut in 2000.
Tim earned his Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy, a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech, and Masters of Business Administration from Columbia Business School and London Business School.
Dr. John Berdahl specializes in advanced cataract surgery, corneal surgery, and glaucoma surgery at Vance Thompson Vision. Dr. Berdahl is a recognized world leader for the advancement of glaucoma treatment. He’s been recognized by the American Medical Association as the Top Young Physician in South Dakota and was awarded the national Claes Dohlman Award by Harvard for being the most outstanding cornea fellow in 2008 and identified as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Ophthalmologists worldwide.
Dr. Radcliffe is a glaucoma and cataract surgeon who specializes in the fields of corneal biomechanics, micro-incisional glaucoma surgery, and glaucoma pharmacotherapy. He is the Chief Editor of the publication Glaucoma Physician and the Glaucoma Section Editor of Eyeworld Magazine and is on the ASCRS glaucoma program committee. Dr. Radcliffe is passionate about peer-to-peer education and innovation and blends academic science to elevate private practice clinical medicine.
Vance Thompson, MD is an internationally recognized specialist in Laser Vision Correction and Advanced Cataract Surgery. He is the Director of Refractive Surgery for Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls, SD and serves as a professor of ophthalmology at the Sanford USD School of Medicine. As a leading international researcher, he has played a key role in the development of the most advanced technologies and techniques for both laser and implant vision correction. He has served as the medical monitor lead or principal investigator in over 55 FDA-monitored clinical trials studying laser and implant surgery. In addition, Dr. Thompson has published numerous papers and book chapters and is co-author of the textbook Refractive Surgery. He has lectured and taught advanced laser and implant surgery to thousands of surgeons all around the world.
Thomas W. Samuelson, MD, a founding partner and attending surgeon of Minnesota Eye Consultants, is a board-certified ophthalmologist who specializes in the treatment of glaucoma, cataract, and refractive surgery. Dr. Samuelson’s research interests include surgical procedures involving Schlemm’s Canal as well as the management of coincident cataract and glaucoma. He has also performed research on the safety of LASIK in patients with other ocular disorders, especially glaucoma. Dr. Samuelson is the current Treasurer for the American Glaucoma Society and serves on its executive committee. He also oversees the glaucoma skills transfer courses for the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).
Richard A. Lewis, MD is the former Director of Glaucoma at the University of California, Davis. In addition to his busy clinical practice located in Sacramento, California, Dr. Lewis is actively involved in clinical research in national and international trials for glaucoma therapy. Dr. Lewis is the Medical Editor Emeritus of Glaucoma Today and on the editorial board of the Journal of Glaucoma, Video Journal of Ophthalmology, and Ocular Surgery News.
Malik Y. Kahook, MD is a professor of ophthalmology and the Slater Family Endowed Chair in ophthalmology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He is Director of Clinical and Translational Research and serves as chief of the glaucoma service and director of the glaucoma fellowship at the University of Colorado Eye Center. He specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of glaucoma and cataracts.
Ike K. Ahmed, MD is a fellowship-trained glaucoma, cataract, and anterior segment surgeon with a practice focus on the surgical management of glaucoma, complex cataract and intraocular lens complications. He is board certified in ophthalmology in Canada and the U.S., and is an active member of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS), American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), Association for Vision and Research in Ophthalmology (ARVO), International Society of Glaucoma Surgery (ISGS), Canadian Glaucoma Society (CGS), and the American Glaucoma Society (AGS).
As Vice President of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs, Paul Yoo, OD oversees and manages clinical and regulatory strategy and execution through the different phases of product development and launch. Paul completed his undergraduate education in molecular and cellular biology from the University of California, Berkeley, then went on to obtain his Doctor of Optometry degree from Southern California College of Optometry (now Marshall B. Ketchum University). He has a proven track record of successful clinical and regulatory leadership, as demonstrated by several landmark approvals at both AcuFocus and ZEISS. His particular interest in novel ophthalmic devices and a strong desire to impact the field of glaucoma has brought him to Equinox Ophthalmic.
Gary has extensive leadership and operational experience building healthcare companies. In particular, corporate strategy, business development, and raising capital from top-tier investors. Most recently, Gary was the Chief Business Officer at Breathe Technologies where he successfully raised significant venture capital from investors including Kleiner Perkins, Deerfield Management, Partner Fund, and Johnson and Johnson. He was instrumental in developing and executing the company’s strategy to create significant value by navigating the FDA and CMS to bring breakthrough technologies to market. He supported the company’s growth from five employees to more than 80 and secured sales contracts that have provided a pathway for the company to become one of the fastest growing med-tech manufacturers. Previously, he worked closely on a number of M&A transactions, including the $900 million sale of Ovation Pharmaceuticals to H. Lundbeck A/S and the $150 million acquisition of Prestwick Pharmaceuticals. Gary started his career in investment banking and moved to management consulting, where he worked with many Fortune 500 companies. Gary received his B.A. in economics and finance from Washington University in St. Louis.
Jeffry Weinhuff is the Managing Partner of Visionary Venture Fund, a later-stage venture fund focused on investing in drugs and devices for the eye. Visionary employs a unique approach to venture investing by partnering with over 40 Key Opinion Leader Ophthalmologists, as well as other sophisticated investors and industry professionals. In Visionary’s eight portfolio companies, the combination of KOL insights and professional investment approach reduces risk and enhances predictable returns. Visionary works closely with senior eye care professionals in the fast-growing $40 billion ophthalmology industry located in Orange County, CA, the global headquarters of the industry.
Mr. Weinhuff has been active in the private equity realm for over 30 years. At Jefferies & Co., the premier mid-market investment bank, he founded the investment banking and capital markets groups, served as head of investment banking, was a member of the board of directors and head of the commitment committee. Prior to Jefferies, he was a senior partner at Drexel Burnham Lambert, where he founded and co-headed the BuyerAdvisory Group and served on the underwriting committee.
Tyler J. Stowater is Partner and Vice President of Bluestem. He graduated from South Dakota State University with a B.S. in agriculture economics (1984) and an M.S. in economics (1986). Tyler spent 11 years with the State of South Dakota’s Bureau of Finance and Management. During his tenure, Tyler held the positions of Budget Analyst, State Economist, and Deputy Commissioner. In 1997, Tyler left the State to become an Assistant Vice President at Citibank South Dakota with business analysis responsibilities in the North American Cards Customer Service Unit. Tyler joined Bluestem in 2000 and is currently in charge of portfolio management. Tyler is married to Joni (Klosterman) and they have two children, McKenzie (Otterberg) and McCord.
Dr. Link specializes early-stage investing in medical devices. He is a Founder and Principal of Flying L Partners and a founder and managing director of Versant Ventures. Prior to co-founding Versant Ventures, Dr. Link was a General Partner at Brentwood Venture Capital and has over two decades of operations experience in the healthcare industry. Dr. Link was previously Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Chiron Vision, which was sold to Bausch and Lomb in 1997. Prior to Chiron Vision, Dr. Link founded and served as President of American Medical Optics (AMO), a division of American Hospital Supply Corporation, which was sold to Allergan in 1986. Later, he served on the board of AMO’s successor company, Advanced Medical Optics (AMO) which was acquired by Abbott in 2009. AMO was acquired by Johnson and Johnson in 2016. Before entering the healthcare industry, he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Link currently serves on the board of several private companies and three public companies, Edwards Lifesciences, Glaukos, and Second Sight Medical Products. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from Purdue University.
As a former President of Bausch and Lomb Surgical, Andy Corley has extensive experience working with medical device companies in the ophthalmic space. Corley is the founder of Eyeonics and Chiron Ophthalmics and was recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year in Orange County, CA.
Dr. Richard L. Lindstrom, Founder and Attending Surgeon of Minnesota Eye Consultants and Adjunct Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Department of Ophthalmology, is a board-certified ophthalmologist and internationally recognized leader in corneal, cataract, refractive, and laser surgery. He has been at the forefront of ophthalmology’s evolutionary changes throughout his career as a recognized researcher, teacher, inventor, writer, lecturer, and highly acclaimed physician and surgeon.
Matt Larson has over a decade of experience in the ophthalmic sector. With roles on the clinical research side as well as several positions with a commercial focus, Matt has been involved in multiple aspects of medical device companies. He was responsible for launching the KAMRA corneal inlay in Asia Pacific and, while living in Tokyo, Japan, he brought this innovative device for the treatment of presbyopia to over a dozen countries in the Asia Pacific region. He led the development and launch of the IC-8 intraocular lens in Europe and Asia Pacific. Matt also played an executive role in getting U.S. approval for the KAMRA corneal inlay—the first corneal inlay for presbyopia approved in the U.S. He is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg is Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology and Director of the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford University. His clinical effort is focused on patients in need of medical or surgical intervention for glaucoma and other retinal and optic nerve diseases, and he has developed significant expertise with implementing FDA clinical trials for optic nerve neuroprotection and regeneration. His research is directed at neuroprotection and regeneration of retinal ganglion cells and the optic nerve, a major unmet need in glaucoma and other optic neuropathies, and his laboratory is developing novel molecular, stem cell, and nanotherapeutics approaches for eye repair.