Virtuoso Surgical, Inc. was born out of a collaborative research effort at Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center among co-founders Robert Webster, Duke Herrell, and Richard Hendrick.
In April 2016, they founded Virtuoso Surgical to bring the benefits of robotic technology to endoscopy for surgeons and patients worldwide.
Virtuoso has been funded by grants from the U.S. National Institute of Health and the State of Tennessee. To date, Virtuoso has been funded by over $9M of private funding from individual investors. Our investing partners are truly part of the Virtuoso team — they have made and continue to make the Virtuoso System possible.
Robert Webster is the primary inventor of the technology at the heart of the Virtuoso device and provides strategic technical leadership to the Virtuoso Surgical team. He is professor of mechanical and electrical engineering at Vanderbilt University, where his research focuses on the intersection of engineering and surgery. Throughout his academic career, he has invented and developed many novel robotic surgical systems and has 38 awarded and pending patents to his name. His impact in robotic surgery has been recognized through numerous awards, including the National Science Foundation Career award, the IEEE Volz award, and the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Career Award.
He is a co-founder of the Vanderbilt Institute in Surgery and Engineering (VISE), which brings together surgeons and engineers to solve challenging clinical problems. He is a graduate of Clemson University and Johns Hopkins University.
Richard Hendrick leads and manages all engineering and day-to-day business operations at Virtuoso Surgical. He has spent his career improving surgery through engineering novel medical devices. He received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University, where his research focused on the technology at the heart of the Virtuoso device.
Before graduate school, he began his career at DJO Surgical, where he engineered orthopedic implants and engaged in regulatory approval efforts for new products. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University and Vanderbilt University.
Duke Herrell provides strategic clinical leadership to the Virtuoso Surgical team. He is a urologic surgeon and pioneer in robotic surgery and minimally invasive surgical approaches. He is the director of the robotics committee at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and is a co-founder of the Vanderbilt Institute in Surgery and Engineering (VISE).
Dr. Herrell’s research has focused on creating novel surgical robotic systems and devices for minimally invasive surgery, and his papers have been cited over 3900 times. He is a graduate of the University of Richmond and the University of Virginia School of Medicine.
Mark Pickrell provides legal, financial, and administrative leadership to the Virtuoso Surgical team. He has spent 25 years advising and representing companies, entrepreneurs, and investors on matters related to corporate formation and governance, contracting, intellectual property, securities, and legal and regulatory compliance.
He is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Tennessee College of Law. Inquiries about investing in Virtuoso should be directed to Mark.
Business Advisory Board
Dr. Jacobson is recently co-founder of TriStar Health Partners, where he acts as Managing Director, Partner and Principal. Formerly, he served as Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs at Vanderbilt University and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he grew revenues from $750 million to $2.5 billion.
During the course of his career, Dr. Jacobson has been a successful investor and entrepreneur, having founded or co-founded 10 companies, such as Contact Software which was acquired by Symantec (SYMC:NASDAQ), and more recently Renal Care Group (RCG:NYSE) which was acquired by Fresenius Medical Care (FMS:NYSE) for approximately $4.0 billion.
Martin chairs a holding company with controlling interest in Brown-Forman Corporation, a NYSE-listed distiller of Jack Daniel’s and other fine whiskies. Martin served on the board of Brown-Forman for 10 years. He is an attorney with Adams and Reese and has served as board member or legal counsel for companies in various health care fields, including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, wound care, and mental health services.
He is currently a director of the parent corporation of Aegis Sciences Corporation, a Nashville-based toxicology laboratory company.
Brandon Ewing was most recently CEO and President of Server Technology Inc., and he oversaw the growth of the company as it became a leading establishment in a lucrative marketplace. Brandon led the company in the expansion of manufacturing capabilities across the globe, including China, South Korea, Mexico and the U.S. He currently advises several companies on sales growth and product execution.
Michael D. Fabrizio, M.D., F.A.C.S., has been recognized by Castle and Connelly as a Top Urology Doctor in the United States and was involved in Computer Motion’s Zeus Robotic FDA trials. He has been involved in over 100 clinical trials for a range of applications and has a keen interest in minimally invasive surgery and advanced prostate cancer. He has been the President of the MidAtlantic Section of the American Urological Association and on the Board of the Large Urology Group Practice Association for 6 years. He most recently was CEO of Urology of Virginia from 2008 to 2019.
Charles founded and served as CEO of MFG Chemicals. He was the first to successfully develop acid-dyed filament carpet, now an industry standard. Charles was inducted into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2016. He is a philanthropist, providing scholarship support to several universities, including a major gift to Auburn University to found the Gavin Engineering Research Building.
Thomas R. Kasser previously held the role as Senior Vice President of Intrexon Corporation and built the foundation for taking the company public in 2013. He served on the executive team of Covance, Inc., with previous roles at Monsanto Company as General Manager and Senior Science Fellow. He retains a seat on the MFG Chemical Board of Directors after an 18-month tenure as CFO assisting Charles Gavin in the successful sale of the MFG Chemical business.
Dr. Mark Richter has more than 20 years of experience in the medical device startup environment. He founded and served as president for MAX mobility, an assistive robotics company with multiple products including several kinds of robotic wheel chairs, among other assistive devices. He led MAX mobility from startup to successful exit. He has served on Vanderbilt’s Mechanical Engineering External Advisory Board and holds the position of Adjunct Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Vanderbilt.
Rob was most recently Chief Executive Officer at Foundations Recovery Network, LLC, before its sale to Universal Health Services, Inc. As CEO at FRN, Rob led the expansion and development of the company from startup to exit. Prior to FRN, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Lakeside Behavioral Health System.