Richard G. Horan, Senior Managing Director
Mr. Horan joined Slater in 2002 and focuses in the area of life sciences and biomedical technology. At Slater, he has led the fund’s investments in: NABsys, a venture-backed company developing DNA sequencing technology; Medrobotics, a developer of integrated systems for robotic surgery; IlluminOss Medical, a medical device company developing minimally-invasive therapy for fracture fixation; Luc Therapeutics (formerly Mnemosyne Pharmaceuticals), a drug discovery venture targeting NMDA receptor function for treating neuro-psychiatric conditions; Tivorsan Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company developing a therapeutic for muscular dystrophy; ProThera Biologics, a biopharmaceutical company developing protease inhibitors for treating inflammation; CytoSolv (acquired by Semma Therapeutics), focused on encapsulated cell therapy and regenerative medicine; and MindImmune Therapeutics, a drug discovery venture focused on neuroinflammation. Previous portfolio companies have included: Afferent Corp., which developed neurostimulation systems for stroke rehab and elderly balance; EpiVax, a pioneer in immuno-informatics; Concordia Medical, a developer of biomaterials for regenerative medicine; and Genome Corp., a developer of massively parallel systems for Sanger sequencing.
Mr. Horan has served on advisory boards of the Brown Institute for Brain Science, the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute at Rhode Island Hospital, and the George and Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience at URI. He represented Slater as a founder of the Rhode Island Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RICIE). He is actively engaged with R.I.-based angel investor groups, including the Cherrystone Angel Group and the Ocean State Angels. He also serves on the Innovation Providence Council, a collaborative initiative of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Horan began his career in the investment banking business in 1980, when he joined the Capital Markets Group of BankAmerica, San Francisco, CA. In 1986, he joined the venture capital firm of Johnston Associates in Princeton, N.J., one of the original seed-stage investors in the field of life sciences and biotechnology. In 1998, he founded Sachem Ventures LLC, an independent seed-stage venture development firm focused on life science and healthcare markets.
During his tenure in the venture capital business, Mr. Horan has served as CEO of several portfolio companies, including: Immunicon Corp. (acquired by Johnson & Johnson), a Philadelphia-based developer of cellular diagnostic systems, where he was CEO from 1989-1991; Praelux Corp. (acquired by GE Healthcare), a Princeton-based venture developing advanced technology platforms for drug discovery, where he was CEO from 1992-1997; and M2S Inc. (acquired by Altaris Capital Partners), a medical imaging business based in Hanover, N.H., where he was CEO from 1998-1999.
Mr. Horan received his A.B. from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from the Tuck School at Dartmouth.
Thorne Sparkman, Managing Director
Mr. Sparkman joined Slater in 2000 as Executive Director of the Slater Center for Interactive Technologies (‘Slater Interactive’), now the Slater Technology Fund (‘Slater Fund’), where he invests in software, new media, and energy-related technologies.
Mr. Sparkman began his career at Time Warner in 1993, where he led the book group’s early efforts in online publishing and commerce on CompuServe and the web. In 1995, Mr. Sparkman co-founded EScribe Corporation, an online publisher that developed communities for upscale, outdoor enthusiasts. The company grew organically and was acquired by NameMedia in 2006. From 1996 to 1998, Mr. Sparkman was co-founder and CEO of Incubator, Inc., an angel-funded, Internet business incubator in Berkeley, California, which backed web-based start-ups from the university community, including Emptor (Accept.com), a venture-backed online payments company acquired by Amazon.com.
At the Slater Technology Fund, Mr. Sparkman continues to focus on the earliest stage of company creation. He serves as a board member for Advanced Image Enhancement, Alektrona, Dynadec, Tizra, and Traction Software, and as a board observer at Andera, Location, Inc., Mofuse, RxVantage, and VCharge. He was previously involved with MTI Film and MTI Machine vision (acquired by DVT Corporation, NSDQ: CGNX), GeneSpectrum (acquired by NABsys), Swyx, Tazz Networks, and ModEnergy (acquired by Enersys NSDQ: ENS).
Mr. Sparkman enjoys working with young entrepreneurs as a guest in entrepreneurship classes at Brown University and the University of Rhode Island, a judge at the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, and a mentor at BetaSpring, a Providence venture accelerator. He is a frequent panelist at forums including the Brown Forum for Enterprise, the 128 Innovation Capital Group, and the Rhode Island Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and his articles on entrepreneurship have appeared in publications including The Providence Journal, Mass High Tech, and American Venture.
Mr. Sparkman holds a B.A. in Biological Anthropology from Harvard and an M.B.A. from the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
Michelle Woods, Director of Finance and Accounting
Michelle Woods joined Slater in 2015 as director of finance and accounting. Her responsibilities include overseeing compliance matters as well as day-to-day accounting activities. Before joining Slater, she worked at Providence Equity Partners for 11 years in the company’s finance group. As vice president, she was responsible for investment operations accounting and investor communications for 20+ funds. Prior to her career in private equity, Michelle worked for CVS Pharmacy as an internal auditor and Arthur Andersen, LLP as an auditor in its assurance practice. She graduated from Bryant University, and is a Certified Public Accountant.
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