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The Mid-Point

The Mid-Point

By One America Works

Conversations with the extraordinary people building the American innovation economy from the inside out. Hosted by Patrick McKenna, founder of One America Works.
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Will Young, Sana Benefits

The Mid-Point Jul 10, 2023

Dietrich Stephan, Cyto Ventures

Dietrich Stephan, Cyto Ventures

Dietrich Stephan, general partner of Cyto Ventures, is a human geneticist and entrepreneur who works in personalized medicine.  Trained as part of the Human Genome Project through the National Institutes for Health (NIH), he spent part of his career in San Francisco helping build the national infrastructure through which to deliver genetic information to the medical industry.His insight on moving innovation into commercialization and licensing landed him an opportunity to work with the University of Pittsburgh.He launched CytoVentures to give biotech founders access to infrastructure, expertise and a network of equity investment.  Through its own fund and network of investors, Cyto has helped raise over $400 million for about a dozen startups.Listen in as he discussed the future of life sciences and biotech and his experience as both an operator and investor.Cyto Ventures is based in Pittsburgh, PA.

Aug 30, 202318:41
Sankalp Arora, Gather AI

Sankalp Arora, Gather AI

Sankalp Arora is the CEO and Co-founder at Gather AI. A truly inspiring story - as a young man from Delhi, India, he always dreamed of making robots.  He was constantly enamored with aerial robotics and as he puts it “making drones curious”.  Sankulp earned his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University and leveraged the strength of the robotics ecosystem there to develop his company.Gather AI drones gather data with fully autonomous drones to optimize warehouse inventory processes.  The company is at the forefront of taking everyday hardware like a camera or a drone and optimizing it with incredible software and data.  The drones scan inventory, process data, find damages and more helping companies drastically improve productivity and efficiency.The company recently acquired a bay area startup, making Gather AI one of the world’s largest in the domain of providing autonomous warehouse data with drones processing thousands of palettes weekly.Gather AI is based in Pittsburgh, PA.

Aug 30, 202309:40
Jordon Rooney, Jaster Athletes

Jordon Rooney, Jaster Athletes

Jordan is no stranger to entrepreneurship.  With deep dive experience in sports marketing and branding, he leveraged his expertise into a new innovative concept - Jaster Athletes.  The company is building an impressive client roster with top notch athletes including Damar Hanlin.Jaster started as a simple sports marketing agency and has evolved into a scalable business model through the use of AI.  Not traditionally a techie, Jordan’s ability to see an opportunity and be ahead of the curve by applying technology to adapt his business model created a “win”.Listen in as Jordan discusses his perspective on building a service based business.

Aug 30, 202315:56
Jeremy Keele, Catalyst Opportunity Funds

Jeremy Keele, Catalyst Opportunity Funds

OneAmerica Works Founder Patrick McKenna chats with Jeremy Keele.

About Jeremy

Jeremy Keele is a recognized leader in impact investing with a diverse range of professional experiences in the private and public sectors. Jeremy is currently Co-founder and Managing Partner of Catalyst Opportunity Funds, a real estate impact investment firm with ~$300 M under management and dozens of assets in strategic secondary / tertiary markets around the country.

Prior to founding Catalyst in 2018, Jeremy was President & CEO of the Sorenson Impact Center, a university-based think-tank focused on social impact and innovation. During his time at Sorenson, Jeremy advised dozens of investors, government agencies, family offices, foundations and non-profits on strategies to align their funding, activities and measurement with their values. In partnership with the Obama Administration and the Sundance Film Festival, Jeremy created one of the premier social impact and innovation events, the annual Winter Innovation Summit. Under Jeremy’s leadership, the Center grew from two employees in 2013 to nearly 40 in 2018 with ~100 student fellows annually.

Prior to Sorenson, Jeremy was senior advisor to the Mayor of his hometown of Salt Lake. Jeremy advised on the policy portfolio of Mayor Ben McAdams with a $1.2 billion annual budget, 4,000 + employees and 1.2 million residents. While in government, Jeremy helped launch the first social impact bond in the country focused on early childhood education for at-risk kids in the community.

Prior to his time in government, Jeremy was a corporate attorney with the law firms of Cleary Gottlieb and Latham & Watkins in New York, London and Los Angeles. During his 7 years of practice Jeremy led numerous multibillion dollar, cross-border mergers & acquisitions and corporate financing transactions for large corporate clients around the world.

Jeremy holds BS / BA degrees from Brigham Young University, a JD from New York University School of Law and an MPA from Harvard.

Jul 10, 202330:25
Jared Glover, CapSen Robotics

Jared Glover, CapSen Robotics

OneAmerica Works Founder Patrick McKenna talks automation and robots with Jared Glover.

About Jared

Jared Glover is the CEO and co-founder of CapSen Robotics--a company that makes software to give robots more spatial intelligence. Jared received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT in 2014, where he developed and applied new theoretical tools for processing 3D orientation information to applications in computer vision and robot manipulation. Prior to that, he completed his B.S. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University, where he led a team developing robotic walkers. He has 20 years of research experience in robotics and computer vision and over 500 paper citations. He is also on the boards of Catalyst Connection, a private non-profit that provides consulting and training services to small manufacturers in southwestern Pennsylvania, and the Pittsburgh Robotics Network.

Jul 10, 202320:38
Ilya Preston, PAXAFE

Ilya Preston, PAXAFE

OneAmerica Works Founder Patrick McKenna has a conversation with PAXAFE CEO Ilya Preston.

About Ilya

Ilya Preston is the co-founder and CEO of PAXAFE, a company that specializes in smart packaging technology for temperature-sensitive products. Prior to PAXAFE, Preston was the CEO of Thaddeus Medical Systems, Inc., a company that builds smart packaging technology to improve global shipment outcomes by protecting sensitive specimens through the entirety of the supply chain.

Preston has always been interested in improving healthcare and logistics. Ilya was motivated to start Thaddeus Medical Systems after learning about the billions of dollars wasted each year in the healthcare supply chain specifically due to temperature excursions and lost products. Ilya saw an opportunity to create a more dependable solution that would simplify and automate the packaging process and reduce exposure to human error, improve quality, reduce the total cost of ownership, and enable customers to consolidate their logistics supply base.

Under Preston's leadership, Thaddeus Medical Systems developed the iQ+-ler, a smart, all-in-one, hardware and software packaging IoT solution that integrates three key features: active temperature control, tracking and communication, and documentation automation. The iQ+-ler was well-received in the market and helped put Thaddeus Medical Systems on the map as a leading healthcare and logistics company.

Preston's experience with Thaddeus Medical Systems made him a natural fit to lead PAXAFE. With PAXAFE, Preston is continuing their mission to improve global shipment outcomes by developing even more innovative packaging solutions that protect sensitive products throughout the entire supply chain.

Ilya Preston's educational career began at Indiana University Bloomington, where they earned a Bachelor of Science degree Cum Laude in International Business, Economics, and Spanish. Ilya then went on to earn their Masters in Business Administration from the University of Indianapolis - School of Business.

PAXAFE is the OS for visibility control towers. PAXAFE's B2B SaaS platform — CONTXT — is an AI-enabled, device-agnostic risk-management platform that reduces product loss, improves operational efficiency and optimizes decision making for perishable shippers and service providers. PAXAFE contextualizes active and passive visibility data, quantifies risk and predicts OTIF adverse events.
Unlike sensor-enabled visibility providers that leave enterprises as ‘data rich but insights poor’, PAXAFE understands that operationalizing visibility is not a human problem -- it’s a machine problem. PAXAFE exists to unleash the value of visibility program data.

Jul 10, 202327:33
Charles Robinson, 1888 Capital

Charles Robinson, 1888 Capital

OneAmerica Works Founder Patrick McKenna chats with Charles Robinson from 1888 Capital.

About Charles Charles Robinson is a serial entrepreneur and partner with 1888 Capital. He co-founded Teamworks and Forward Cities. Charles is a graduate from Duke University and his background is in investment banking, ad agencies and worked for several #TechStartups. He then built a successful career in real estate before becoming an angel investor. He is a partner in Teamworks, a sports tech company, a successful venture which has acquired other smaller companies. He is passionate about closing the wealth gap and helping underrepresented entrepreneurs find new pathways of discovery into the market. You’ll hear about his strong ability to build networks and discovery opportunities. Listen in on the episode as he describes himself as more of a “pirate” than an entrepreneur! He offers a unique twist and perspective to his approach on success and his ability to lead with empathy coupled with a strong demand for results. Charles shares his insight on what he looks for in budding entrepreneurs, the key upcoming hot upcoming verticals for the southwest and the power of maximizing and building “the network.” 1888 Capital is based in Atlanta, GA. #startups #startups #venturecapital #founderfriday #oneamericaworks

Jul 10, 202325:50
JJ Xu, Talk Me Up
Jul 10, 202319:13
Michael Taylor, Duality

Michael Taylor, Duality

One America Works founder Patrick McKenna is joined by Michael Taylor who shares his background, his journey to building Duality with partners, the unique benefits to living in the #robotics capital that is #Pittsburgh, and what the next big thing in robotics will be. More about Mike Mike Taylor is one of three founders of Duality. The company utilized the metaverse to engineer enterprise solutions for their clients through the power of simulation. Duality has gained many notable clients including Honeywell. With a background in field robotics - solving problems, Mike and his team have been successful at raising capital and generating customers, all while staying on budget and continuing to innovate. Positioned in what many call “the robotics capital of the world”, Pittsburgh based Duality is part of a robust ecosystem of over 100 robotics companies. Mike discussed the marketability factors of being based in Pittsburgh, how it’s helped with the growth and development of his business and gives incredible advice on how founders should build. Mike drops a lot of wisdom in this episode including validating your idea, finding a better way to build and advice on how founders can successfully build their networks. He discusses his take on the future of robotics, from marketing, to household innovations to his sense on the future of autonomous inventions. Duality is based in Pittsburgh, PA. #startups #founderfriday #venturecapital #techstartups #oneamericaworks #robotics #startupfounder

Jul 10, 202322:47
Josh Sanchez, FloatMe
Jul 10, 202323:03
 Ana Kraft, Xena Workwear

Ana Kraft, Xena Workwear

OneAmerica Works Founder Patrick McKenna interviews Ana Kraft, founder of Xena Workwear.

About Ana

Ana Kraft is the founder of Xena Workwear, a manufacturer of workwear safety boots that are both fashionable and comfortable. Ana never expected to be in the industry, but her background in #manufacturing sparked the idea one day. She initially started her business in Detroit and moved to #Milwaukee where most of her team lived. Listen in as she discusses her approach to growing her team of investors, expanding her product line as well as her tips to overcoming fear and approach to building relationships. Xena Workwear is based in Milwaukee, WI. #startups #founderstories #startupfounder

Jul 10, 202322:03
Aaron George, Supply Now
Jul 10, 202330:20
Will Kaigler, sovaSage
Jul 10, 202321:20
Will Young, Sana Benefits
Jul 10, 202317:38
Steve Case, Revolution
May 25, 202313:33
Kyle Maggard, Over Easy
May 24, 202309:20
Ray Leach, Jumpstart 
May 24, 202313:41
Brandy Burch, Benefit Bay
May 24, 202311:07
Nida Ansari, Karmic Partners

Nida Ansari, Karmic Partners

Nida Ansari is CEO of Karmic Partners. Listen in as Nida discusses the innovation happening in Indianapolis and the launch of the Hardtech corridor.

May 24, 202309:21