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About

FastDetect is a tight-knit group of Caltech scientists, JPL engineers, and business leaders who are dedicated to bringing inexpensive and accurate disease diagnosis to the point-of-care: everywhere. The company was founded in 2020, when Kairos Ventures partnered with Caltech and JPL engineers to bring groundbreaking optical and thermal technologies out of the laboratory and toward commercialization as a molecular diagnostics platform. During the global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, FastDetect scientists and engineers rapidly developed a fully self-contained platform capable of detecting the dangerous virus down to the ultra-low 100 virion copies per mL of respiratory swab sample – the first solution of its kind. FastDetect was designed to run full PCR cycles in about 15 minutes and compile results in the cloud compliant with HIPAA regulations.

Importantly, the FastDetect platform can be deployed to detect virtually any PCR-relevant target, including most bacterial and viral pathogens. The company is tandemly developing a comprehensive portfolio of detection assays relevant to companion animal and livestock health. This planned expansion will cover respiratory, tick-borne, and gastrointestinal pathogens in cats and dogs, as well as dangerously-spreading livestock diseases like African Swine Fever Virus, foot and mouth disease, and avian flu. The FastDetect vision is that the platform should be present in every veterinary clinic to boost quality of care and reduce cost to the patient, while also enabling worldwide governments to contain and eliminate emerging pathogens. Executives of major animal health companies are all aligned that FastDetect fits the profile of an ideal molecular diagnostics platform to accomplish these global goals, and the company is excited about the path to commercialization that will occur this year.

Kairos Ventures
Kairos Ventures

Kairos Ventures is a venture capital firm based in Los Angeles, CA that works closely with the world’s leading universities and research institutions to identify and support the commercialization of transformative technologies.

Kairos invests in patented scientific advances in life sciences and engineering that have the potential to deliver substantial impact for our world, and remarkable returns for our Investors.

In addition to providing capital, Kairos supports our portfolio of companies with the professional business and scientific expertise to maximize their potential from early seed through incubation and growth.

Caltech
California Institute of Technology

Caltech is a world-renowned science and engineering institute that marshals some of the world’s brightest minds and most innovative tools to address fundamental scientific questions and pressing societal challenges.

The Institute manages JPL for NASA, sending probes to explore the planets of our solar system and quantify changes on our home planet. Caltech also owns and operates large-scale research facilities such as the Seismological Laboratory and a global network of astronomical observatories, including the Palomar and W. M. Keck Observatories; and cofounded and comanages LIGO.

Caltech is an independent, privately supported institution with a 124-acre campus located in Pasadena, California.

James T. Demetriades - FastDetect Chairman / Chief Executive Officer

James T. Demetriades

Chairman / Chief Executive Officer

Jim Demetriades is a lifelong inventor, entrepreneur, and investor. With only $5,000, he started his own software company, SeeBeyond, at the age of 26, and cultivated it into the world’s largest organically-grown integration software company, whose products were ranked #1 globally by the Gartner Group. Jim grew SeeBeyond to 1,600 employees with offices in 35 countries that served companies including GM, Porsche, BMW, Pepsi, NY Columbia Presbyterian, JP Morgan Chase, Unilever, Air Liquide, the British NHS, Aetna, the Cleveland Clinic, and about 10,000 other customers. He took the company public in 2000 and in 2005, he successfully sold the company to Sun Microsystems, a subsidiary of Oracle, for $386 million.

Jim went on to found and manage Kairos Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Los Angeles, CA that works closely with the world’s leading universities and research institutions to identify and support the commercialization of transformative technologies. Kairos invests in patented scientific advances in life sciences and engineering that have the potential to deliver substantial impact for our world and remarkable returns for our Investors. In addition to providing capital, Kairos supports our portfolio of companies with the professional business and scientific expertise to maximize their potential from early seed through incubation and growth. Jim also serves on boards of numerous technology companies in a variety of industries.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, with a second major in Computer Science and minors in Marketing and Mathematics, from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.

Kal Oliai - FastDetect

Kal Oliai

Chief Technology Officer & VP of Product Development

Kal has more than 30 years of product development and technology expertise in medical devices and life sciences where he led global product development and engineering teams responsible for the development, architecture definition, technology selection, solution development and testing, FDA submission and full commercialization of medical device systems, assays, instrumentation, and consumables.

Prior to his role at FastDetect Kal led global product development, program management, technology roadmaps, portfolio development and strategy including operation and field execution across multiple medical devices and clinical automation products. He brings extensive experience in managing operation, M&A, and technology acquisition and development. Kal also led new business assessment and due diligence, technology licensing, evaluating new opportunities, market needs, user adoption, and IP strategy across multiple geographies.

Samson Chen - FastDetect

Samson Chen

Chief Innovation Officer

Since working in a plant genomics lab in high school, Samson Chen has believed that the widespread availability of inexpensive, fast polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology–like FastDetect–could revolutionize fields from medicine to plant sciences and agriculture. In addition to fast PCR, he has been developing a variety of technologies at the intersection of engineering and medicine for the past decade, from implantable RFID biosensors to micropower wearable health monitors. Samson holds a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from Caltech.

Todd Thomson -FastDetect

Todd Thomson

Chief Financial Officer

Todd is an accomplished operating executive and entrepreneur, having served as Citigroup CFO for 5 years and as CEO of Citigroup’s $10 Billion Global Wealth Management division for 2.5 years. Todd is a leading practitioner on M&A and business strategy, having led the acquisition and strategy efforts for Citigroup and GE Capital, as well as serving as advisor to Fortune 500 firms while at Bain & Co., Booz Allen Hamilton, and Barents Group. He has extensive investing experience as CEO of Citigroup Alternative investments, Chairman of the Citi Pension investment Committee, Chairman of the Dynasty Investment Committee, and a member of the Investment Committees for the Davidson College and World Resources Institute endowments.

Just prior to joining Kairos, Todd has been Co-Founder and Chairman of Dynasty Financial Partners, the leading investment and technology platform for sophisticated independent advisors. Founded by Todd and his colleagues in 2010, Dynasty serves nearly 50 RIA firms nationally, with $50 billion under management. In addition to serving as Chairman, Todd has served in several operating roles since the firm’s founding, including Chairing the Investment Committee, serving as CIO, and designing and leading Dynasty Capital Strategies.

Todd received his MBA with Distinction from the Wharton School of Business and his BA in Economics from Davidson College.

Erik Serrao - FastDetect

Erik Serrao

SVP, Strategy & Business Development

Erik leads business development efforts for Kairos Ventures and is currently Executive in Residence for FastDetect.  Prior to joining the Kairos team, Erik was President & CEO of the rapid test manufacturing company Silver Lake Research in Los Angeles.  There, he led the laboratory development, regulatory approval, and global commercialization of many transformational diagnostic products and guided the company to its best financial performance in its 30-year history.  Erik has won nationwide brick & mortar contracts with Walmart and other retailers, executed continental distribution deals with top-level medical device companies, and lobbied the World Health Organization to recognize a particular rapid test in their 2021 Essential Diagnostics List (EDL).

Erik holds a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology from Loyola Marymount University, a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from USC, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School.  He has published over 30 impactful manuscripts in top-tier journals such as Nature and Science.

Stephanie Chan FastDetect

Stephanie Chan

Senior Director of Assay & Chemistry Development and Integration

Stephanie brings several years of experience leading and overseeing the development and integration of assay & reagents principles and techniques, technologies, identification of new assay applications and variants, and commercialization for in vitro diagnostic products, including a variety of detection technologies such as nucleic acid amplification, antigen, and next-generation rapid PCR systems.

Prior to joining FastDetect Stephanie led the development of new assay design and execution, method and process validation, from project inception and scoping through product launch, pre-clinical and FDA submission package along with assay lyophilization, regulatory requirements, and consumable commercialization.

Stephanie has a PhD in Medical Biology at USC under the Keck School of Medicine with focus in virology and immunology.

Ronnie Decker -FastDetect

Ronnie Decker

Engineering Manager & PMO

As an accomplished Engineering Program Manager, Ron brings a wealth of expertise in quality management, manufacturing, engineering, supply chain, and project management to FastDetect. Ron brings extensive experience in program management methodology, quality management system life cycle setup and implementation, supplier quality and management, including full implementation of several PLM systems from set up to training to full launch.

Prior to joining FastDetect Ron managed multiple cross-site and cross-functional programs ranging from manufacturing, OEM, to medical devices from concept to transfer to full commercialization including supply chain and inventory management, in addition to performing project analysis and conceptions, feasibility studies, supplier identification and contract negotiations.

James T. Demetriades - FastDetect Chairman / Chief Executive Officer

James T. Demetriades

Chairman / Chief Executive Officer

Jim Demetriades is a lifelong inventor, entrepreneur, and investor. With only $5,000, he started his own software company, SeeBeyond, at the age of 26, and cultivated it into the world’s largest organically-grown integration software company, whose products were ranked #1 globally by the Gartner Group. Jim grew SeeBeyond to 1,600 employees with offices in 35 countries that served companies including GM, Porsche, BMW, Pepsi, NY Columbia Presbyterian, JP Morgan Chase, Unilever, Air Liquide, the British NHS, Aetna, the Cleveland Clinic, and about 10,000 other customers. He took the company public in 2000 and in 2005, he successfully sold the company to Sun Microsystems, a subsidiary of Oracle, for $386 million.

Jim went on to found and manage Kairos Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Los Angeles, CA that works closely with the world’s leading universities and research institutions to identify and support the commercialization of transformative technologies. Kairos invests in patented scientific advances in life sciences and engineering that have the potential to deliver substantial impact for our world and remarkable returns for our Investors. In addition to providing capital, Kairos supports our portfolio of companies with the professional business and scientific expertise to maximize their potential from early seed through incubation and growth. Jim also serves on boards of numerous technology companies in a variety of industries.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, with a second major in Computer Science and minors in Marketing and Mathematics, from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.

Kent Kresa - FastDetect Advisory

Kent Kresa

Advisory

Kent Kresa is an American businessman. Formerly, he was Chairman and CEO of Northrop Grumman, as well as Chairman of General Motors and has worked with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), the Lincoln Laboratory at M.I.T, Avery Dennison, the Fluor Corporation, and the MannKind Corporation. Before being appointed as interim chairman of General Motors as a result the decisions made by President Barack Obama, Kresa served on the board. He has B.S., M.S., and E.A.A. degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in aeronautics and astronautics and received an honorary doctorate of laws degree from Pepperdine University in 2003.

John Nackel - FastDetect Board

John Nackel

Business Development

John Nackel is the Founder and General Partner of Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health and Founder, Chairman and CEO of Three-Sixty Advisory Group, LLC. He is a recognized national authority in the healthcare industry with over 45 years of healthcare industry experience across payers, providers, physicians and life science companies. Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health and John, personally, invest in early stage health care companies in value-based payment, technology, digital, wearables and service delivery.

For over 30 years, John held several healthcare leadership positions, including global managing director of Ernst & Young’s (now EY) healthcare business and managing partner of EY’s venture capital fund. He was CEO of Sogeti North America (the professional services arm of CapGemini), CEO of Ingenix Consulting (now Optum), a United Health Group (NYSE:UNH) company. The Three-Sixty entities work with healthcare payers, providers and physicians to design, build and operate sustainable health enterprises; and with early-stage healthcare businesses in biotech, medical devices and healthcare services to guide their growth, performance and capital needs.

John has served and/or currently serves as a board director for several private and public companies, including 12 years on the Ensign Group, Inc. board (NASDAQ:ENSG), which provides skilled nursing, assisted living, home health and rehabilitative services; 2 years on the Mercury General Co. board (NYSE:MCY), a specialty writer of all risk classifications of automotive insurance; and the Pennant Group, Inc. board (NASDAQ:PNTG), which provides home health, hospice and assisted living services. He currently serves on the Savonix (brain health), Visual Health Solutions (best in class medical animations and illustrations), and Vitalacy (patient safety), all early stage health care companies.

John holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from Tufts University, master’s degrees in public health and industrial engineering and a PhD in industrial engineering from the University of Missouri. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (FHIMSS), and a senior member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE). He has written over 50 books, chapters and articles on topics ranging from performance improvement, entrepreneurship, and leadership. John also teaches Health Care Performance Improvement at the University of California – San Diego.

Axel Scherer FastDetect

Axel Scherer

Scientific Founder and Advisor

Professor Scherer is the Neches Professor of Electrical Engineering, Applied Physics, and Physics at Caltech, as well as the Director of the Caltech Global Health Initiative. His research focuses on the design and microfabrication of optical, magnetic, and fluidic devices. In the 1980s, Prof. Scherer pioneered the development of the first monolithic vertical-cavity lasers (VCSELs) that are now widely used in data communications systems.

More recently, Prof. Scherer’s group developed electromagnetic design tools and fabrication techniques for the definition of lithographically integrated optical devices. This led to pioneering work in photonic bandgap lasers, silicon photonic circuits, as well as tunable microfluidic dye lasers, and resulted in new classes of integrated optics. The first demonstration of strong coupling between single quantum dots and optical nanocavities recently emerged from a collaboration between Prof. Scherer and Prof. Hyatt Gibbs.

Collaborations with Prof. Larry Dalton resulted in some of the world’s smallest and fastest light modulators. Prof. Scherer also fabricated some of the first surface Plasmon-enhanced high brightness light-emitting diodes. His group miniaturized fluidic systems and demonstrated the first multi-layer replication molded fluidic chips, with thousands of valves creating microfluidic “laboratories” and single-cell analysis systems.

Prof. Scherer has co-founded several companies in the area of silicon photonics and biomedical diagnostics, and leads a productive group focused on the miniaturization and integration of fluidic, optical, electronic, and magnetic devices for applications in biotechnology. He has co-authored over 300 publications and holds over 50 patents on the area of microfabrication and design of devices.

Quinten Stevens - FastDetect

Quinten Stevens

Advisory

Quinten Stevens is a General Partner with CS Venture Opportunities Fund. The fund is focused on early-stage venture capital investing. Their strategy is to invest in compelling and potentially disruptive technologies sourced from brilliant scientists, at top US research universities. Mr. Stevens has been Managing Partner of Stevens Asset Management, Head of the Equity Division at Wachovia Securities, Co-Head of Equity Capital Markets at JP Morgan, and at Citigroup Salomon Smith Barney where he held various senior roles in the equity capital markets and investment banking divisions.

Mr. Stevens is a graduate of the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and holds an M.B.A. in Finance from the Stern School of Business at New York University.

Burt Sugarman -FastDetect

Burt Sugarman

Advisory

Burt Sugarman is a successful American film, television producer, entrepreneur, and investor. He is best known for creating and producing the iconic 1970s/early ’80s showcase for rock-n-roll groups The Midnight Special. Sugarman also produced the 1970s game show Celebrity Sweepstakes, The Richard Pryor Show, Whew! and The Wizard of Odds. During 1979, Sugarman also owned shares in Old Tucson Corporation, which owned the Old Tucson and Old Vegas amusement parks in Arizona and Nevada. In the 1980s, he produced the motion pictures Kiss Me Goodbye, Extremities and Children of a Lesser God. He was the executive producer of the film Crimes of the Heart in 1986 and television series The Newlywed Game in 1988. He was also part owner of Barris Industries (later known as the Guber-Peters Entertainment Company) before it was sold to Sony in 1989.

Todd Thomson -FastDetect

Todd Thomson

Finance / Operations

Todd is an accomplished operating executive and entrepreneur, having served as Citigroup CFO for 5 years and as CEO of Citigroup’s $10 Billion Global Wealth Management division for 2.5 years. Todd is a leading practitioner on M&A and business strategy, having led the acquisition and strategy efforts for Citigroup and GE Capital, as well as serving as advisor to Fortune 500 firms while at Bain & Co., Booz Allen Hamilton, and Barents Group. He has extensive investing experience as CEO of Citigroup Alternative investments, Chairman of the Citi Pension investment Committee, Chairman of the Dynasty Investment Committee, and a member of the Investment Committees for the Davidson College and World Resources Institute endowments.

Just prior to joining Kairos, Todd has been Co-Founder and Chairman of Dynasty Financial Partners, the leading investment and technology platform for sophisticated independent advisors. Founded by Todd and his colleagues in 2010, Dynasty serves nearly 50 RIA firms nationally, with $50 billion under management. In addition to serving as Chairman, Todd has served in several operating roles since the firm’s founding, including Chairing the Investment Committee, serving as CIO, and designing and leading Dynasty Capital Strategies.

Todd received his MBA with Distinction from the Wharton School of Business and his BA in Economics from Davidson College.