houston innovators podcast episode 137
The Texas Medical Center's innovation hub might not look like it did a few years ago. It's evolved — changed things that needed changing and expanded in spaces that needed more opportunities, says John "JR" Reale.
TMC Innovation — home to a health tech accelerator, biobridges with international partners, a robotics lab, a biodesign program, an investment fund, and more — was established in 2014 has expanded to serve the community as needed.
"There is a culture of experimentation and learning here that's really cool," Reale says. "Since I've been working with the team, I think we've experimented without the fear of failure and just kept working on and evolving the model to figure out how we could be the best partner we could be for founders."
Reale recently joined the Houston Innovators Podcast in a two-part series of interviews. The first part, which ran last week, covered Reale's innovation journey and his work as managing director of Integr8d Capital. In this week's episode, Reale dons his executive in residence at Texas Medical Center Innovation hat to discuss the future of health care innovation at the TMC.
"Since the fall of 2019, I've been leading the TMC Venture Fund, which is I think just an awesome platform to partner with great founders who have a vision for the future of health care," Reale says. "TMC provides such a great partnership and opportunity for health care innovators to access the Texas Medical Center and to build their business."
The fund was originally launched in 2017 to fill a gap in capital that existed for health tech startups — particularly the ones going through the accelerator program. The fund recently doubled in size to $50 million, a testament that the model is working, Reale says.
"When you look TMC Venture Fund as an organization and how we advance our broader business objectives and mission —I think we're doing that," he says, noting the example of Volumetric, which went through the TMC and was acquired for around $400 million last fall.
Of course, the big story at TMC is the new 37-acre research campus project, called TMC3. The first of the handful of buildings is expected to deliver next year, and the impact will be significant in the years following.
"(TMC3) is a big piece of what's going to unlock the opportunity to commercialize research more broadly on our campus," Reale says. "That's what's so exciting — the work that is happening improves people's lives."
Reale shares more about the impact he expects from TMC3 on the podcast episode, as well as what he's working on within the fund. Listen to the first interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.