Entrepreneurship lecture series launches; Jumpstart Foundry CEO is inaugural speaker

Venture capitalist Vic Gatto to speak about entrepreneurs as today’s heroes

The Vanderbilt University School of Engineering announces the creation of the Chambers Family Entrepreneurial Lectureship. The semi-annual lecture series is endowed by the Chambers Medical Foundation.

The intent of the lectureship is to encourage and invigorate entrepreneurial activity among School of Engineering students and throughout the university community.

“This lectureship will bring highly successful business leaders to campus to share their experiences and give advice to students and other entrepreneurs on a wide-ranging variety of topics. We’re grateful to the Chambers family for their support, especially directed toward this critically important focus in our educational mission,” said Dean Philippe Fauchet.

Vic Gatto

The inaugural lecture is Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 4:10 p.m. in Jacobs Believed in Me Auditorium, Featheringill Hall, and will be delivered by Vic Gatto, founder and CEO of Jumpstart Foundry and a partner in Nashville-based venture capital firm Solidus. The lecture will be followed by a networking reception.

Gatto’s lecture – “Entrepreneurs: Heroes of our Generation” – will focus on narratives and stories from several sources and will include an overview of the Hero’s Journey, as outlined by psychologist and mythology researcher Joseph Campbell and others.

“There’s an assertion that entrepreneurs are the new heroes of our culture, and I’ll use a comparison of Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and the journey of an entrepreneur,” Gatto said. “Everyone has the choice to become an entrepreneur or support these new heroes of our generation.”

Seeing a need for greater support of Nashville’s burgeoning entrepreneurial community, Gatto founded Jumpstart Foundry (JSF) five years ago. The mentor-driven micro-fund provides a small amount of capital ($100k) and a large amount of support in order to accelerate the growth of innovative healthcare companies.

Since its founding, JSF has successfully launched 37 companies that have collectively raised over $15 million in follow-on funding. Notable alumni include NextGxDx, InvisionHeart, Evermind, Octovis, and Healthcare Market Maker. Jumpstart Foundry’s success has earned it a place on multiple national accelerator rankings, including being named the #12 accelerator by MIT’s Sloan School of Management

Gatto joined Solidus in 2007 from Massey Burch Capital Corporation, where he was a partner. Prior to Massey Burch, in 1993, he co-founded InfoTech, a software company in Boston that grew from three to more than 250 employees by the time it was sold in 1999.

Among Gatto’s responsibilities at Solidus are sourcing, analyzing, and structuring new investments as well as monitoring existing portfolio companies. Currently, he is on the board of seven: SouthComm, Check’d In, J2 Software, OnFocus Healthcare, Venture Incite, Change:Healthcare, and Tricycle.

Gatto also serves on the boards of The Nashville Technology Council and the Vanderbilt Healthcare Business Alumni Association. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Amherst College and a Masters of Business Administration degree from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management.

The Chambers family has an ongoing legacy with the School of Engineering. George Russell Chambers was a 1940 graduate. His son, Russell Carlyle Chambers, was a physician and philanthropist, and founder of the Chambers Medical Foundation, a private foundation that awards grants for medical research at biomedical companies and universities. The Russell C. Chambers Scholarship, awarded to engineering students, was established in 2010. Jason Russell Chambers, Russell Chambers’ son, is a 1999 graduate of the School of Engineering. Jason Chambers serves on the school’s Board of Visitors.

Jason Chambers is president of Golden Blends Inc., and he is a co-trustee of the Chambers Medical Foundation. He is a member of the Salk Institute Council at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Chambers also is a Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Hematologic Oncology visiting committee member.

Chambers, who resides in Atlanta, holds a bachelor of science degree from the School of Engineering and a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in finance and marketing from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management.

Brenda Ellis, (615) 343-6314
Twitter @VUEngineering