Understanding Venture Capital with Dan Watkins, Ph.D

Houston, TX

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Dan Watkins has over 20 years experience in operating and investing roles with technology and startup companies, particularly in bioscience and advanced materials. Prior to co-founding the Mercury Fund, Dan was the founder and Managing Partner of A3 Associates, a Houston-based venture firm focused on seed-stage investments in university and research center-based technology transfer opportunities. In this capacity, Dan co-founded Nanospectra Biosciences and X-EMI. He has also been awarded three National Science Foundation grants as Principal Investigator for life sciences research. Prior to A3 Associates, Dan was a Vice President at Schnitzius & Vaughan, a Houston-based investment-banking firm; and served as worldwide manager for operations and control systems for Scientific Software Intercomp. Dan received his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Rice University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Dan currently sits on the boards of Mercury Fund portfolio companies Deep Imaging, DNAtrix (where he was founding CEO), GlycosBio (founded by Mercury), Illumitex, Swift Biosciences, Sinopsys and Vertos Medical (founded by Mercury venture advisor Don Schomer).  Dan is also a co-founder of the Rice Alliance for Technology & Entrepreneurship (Rice Alliance), Rice University’s nationally-recognized initiative devoted to the support of technology commercialization, entrepreneurship education, and the launch of technology companies, including the Rice University Business Plan Competition, the world’s largest graduate-level business plan competition. Outside of Mercury, Dan serves on the advisory boards of BioHouston, the Rice Alliance, and Northwestern University’s Innovation and New Ventures Office.