Echo Health Ventures today announces six new team members and two promotions as we continue our mission of systemic health care transformation through hands-on, purpose-driven strategic venture capital and growth equity investing.
We welcome Taylor Auten, Dustin Duke, and Shauna Williams to the Operations team, and Jeremy Walton to the Echo Health Advisors team. On the Strategic Investment team, we celebrate the promotions of Omair Ahmed to Principal and Kurt Sheline to Partner, and welcome Annie Weissbach and Jose Guerola as new team members.
More info about our team members (in alphabetical order below and in photo above):
Omair Ahmed, Principal, Strategic Investment
Omair supports Echo Health Ventures in all aspects of the investment process, from deal sourcing and evaluation through transaction management and execution. He is responsible for providing financial and market support that drives investment initiatives and decisions, and the success and growth of Echo’s portfolio of companies.
Omair currently serves as a Board Observer for Embold Health, Scipher Medicine, Springbuk and Vori Health. He also works closely with Echo’s investments in Abacus Insights and Ideon.
Prior to joining Echo in 2019, Omair began his career as a consultant for Accenture Strategy, advising health care clients on go-to-market, new product development, and merger strategies. Omair also brings experience in health care-focused venture capital, through his prior roles at Merck’s Global Health Innovation Fund and 7Wire Ventures.
Omair received a bachelor’s degree with honors from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and a Master of Business Administration degree with distinction from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Omair is based out of Echo’s Boston, Massachusetts office.
Taylor Auten, Managing Principal, Legal & Compliance
Taylor is responsible for leading the team that manages the legal affairs and regulatory compliance function of the firm. Taylor oversees the structuring and negotiation of investments and internal governance matters, and he assists in Echo’s portfolio company and stakeholder management.
Prior to joining Echo, Taylor was a partner in the corporate group of Wyrick Robbins Yates and Ponton LLP in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he advised clients on a broad range of corporate and transactional matters, including venture capital and private equity investments, mergers and acquisitions and financial services regulatory matters. Prior to Wyrick Robbins, Taylor was an associate in the financial services group at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York City.
Taylor received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Duke University School of Law, where he was a Mordecai Scholar, and his B.S. in Civil Engineering, summa cum laude, from North Carolina State University, where he was a Park Scholar. Taylor is based out of Echo’s Durham, North Carolina office.
Dustin Duke, Controller, Operations
Dustin oversees the accounting and finance activities for the firm. In his role, Dustin helps manage accounting and treasury functions, the internal operations and investment portfolio management initiatives of the company and also supports the development, implementation, and delivery of Echo’s strategic goals and initiatives. In addition, Dustin helps oversee the reporting to Echo’s governance bodies and parent companies, the valuations of Echo’s managed portfolios, the periodic accounting close process and production of financial statements.
Prior to joining Echo, Dustin worked in public accounting for nine years at BDO USA, LLP and Grant Thornton, LLP in Raleigh, NC. During his time at both firms, he led the day-to-day operations of financial statement audits which included auditing investment companies for Registered Investment Advisors and related funds focusing on direct investment in early-stage life science/healthcare companies, product financing arrangements and fund of funds.
Dustin earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and his Master of Accounting from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dustin has his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. Dustin is based out of Echo’s Durham, North Carolina office.
Jose Guerola, Principal, Strategic Investment
Jose is actively involved in sourcing, analyzing, structuring, and executing new investments as well as designing and implementing value-add strategies into existing portfolio companies.
Prior to Echo, he was with Johnson & Johnson’s investment arm where he was in charge of leading venture and growth investments, and providing support in a board capacity to early-stage health care companies with a focus on HCIT, tech-enabled services and digital health.
Earlier in his career, Jose worked with Credit Suisse in their M&A group based in New York and was a Private Equity investor at The Carlyle Group, where he focused on corporate buyouts across Business services, Technology, Healthcare and Education.
Jose holds an MBA with Distinction from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, with double majors in Finance and Strategic Management and a BBA from the Universidad de Lima.
Jose is based out of Echo’s Boston, Massachusetts office.
Kurt Sheline, Partner, Strategic Investment
Kurt supports Echo Health Ventures in all aspects of the investment process, from deal sourcing and evaluation through transaction management and execution. He is responsible for providing financial and market support that drives investment initiatives and decisions, and the success and growth of Echo’s portfolio of companies.
Kurt has served on the Boards of Springbuk and Eleanor Health and been a Board Observer for Octave Bioscience, GNS Healthcare, Quartet Health, and Scipher Medicine.
Before joining Echo, Kurt helped manage venture capital investments at Cascade Asset Management Company. He also previously served as a Vice President in Cascadia Capital’s Healthcare Technology and Services group, based in Seattle, where he worked closely with management teams in the life sciences, health care technology, and health care services industries, providing business development, positioning, sales & marketing, and transaction advisory and execution services.
Kurt earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in Economics/Pre-Medical Studies from Claremont McKenna College. Kurt is based out of Echo’s Seattle, Washington office.
Jeremy Walton, Associate, Echo Health Advisors
Jeremy is responsible for engagement between Echo Health Ventures, its portfolio, and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.
Prior to joining Echo, Jeremy spent seven years with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee’s Strategy and Innovation group where he was responsible for analysis on the competitive landscape, investment valuations and due diligence efforts on enterprise initiatives.
Jeremy holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a Master of Business Administration from The University of Tennessee – Chattanooga. Jeremy is based out of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee’s Chattanooga headquarters.
Annie Weissbach, Senior Associate, Strategic Investment
Annie supports Echo Health Ventures in all aspects of the investment process, from deal sourcing and evaluation through transaction management and execution. She is responsible for providing financial and market support that drives investment initiatives and decisions, and the success and growth of Echo’s portfolio of companies.
Prior to joining Echo in 2022, Annie was an investment banking associate with Macquarie Capital’s healthcare services and technology group where she advised clients on strategic alternatives including M&A, investment opportunities and capital raising.
Annie began her career as a first full time hire at a digital health startup focused on women’s health, where she focused on business development, growth strategy, and product implementation. When the company was acquired by an Echo Health Ventures portfolio company in 2015, she continued to advance the product line with the acquirer, focusing primarily on product development and go-to-market efforts.
Annie earned her bachelor’s degree and her Master of Public Health from the University of Virginia, where she was a Jefferson Scholar. She earned her Master of Business Administration from MIT Sloan. Annie is based out of Echo’s Boston, Massachusetts office.
Shauna Williams, Rotational Development Program Associate
Shauna is a Rotational Development Program Associate from Blue Cross NC. She is seeking to learn and apply specific skills in finance and accounting and broaden her understanding of Echo and its two parent organizations partnership in the health care system that align with company values and goals. In her role, Shauna assists with the accounting and treasury functions, fulfills the company’s reporting requirements to internal and external stakeholders, and organizes key shared service relationships among Echo’s two parent organizations to produce periodic financial statements.
Before joining Echo, Shauna spent 8 years at Blue Cross NC in Government and Commercial Customer Service. There she participated in many projects, such as working with members and case management to reduce emergency room usage to decrease medical expenses, assisted with Department of Insurance compliance, and served as a subject matter expert for business analysts and new hires providing insight on business processes and usability. Shauna earned an AAS in Accounting from Wilson Technical College. She is based out of Echo’s Durham, North Carolina office.