Meet Thomas H. Rudy, Principal at the Lake Nona Fund
Last week, we announced the Lake Nona Sports and Health Tech Fund, our seed-stage investment vehicle. We sat down with Thomas H. Rudy, the Fund’s Principal to discuss the fund and his views on the future of the sports and health tech space.
What made you want to be involved with leAD in Lake Nona?
I have been involved as a mentor at leAD’s accelerator program since the early days in 2017 and had the opportunity to build a great relationship with the family, the management team, and several of the startups over the years. In addition, I do have a background in sports finance and venture capital. So it was easy for me to take the next step and become part of a great team that I already knew well. I truly believe in the mission of leAD and the mission of Lake Nona and am excited to help grow the ecosystem and make smart investments along the way.
What interests you most about sports and health tech?
Sports has always been a passion of mine, whether that is actively participating or watching it on TV, I am just a big fan. I am also passionate about health tech as there is a lot of overlap with sports, especially when it comes to recovery, fitness, and wellness. So the two go really well together and are so-called “adjacent markets.” It is a lot of fun to support outstanding founders and help them be successful.
What would you like to see more of in this space?
We see a lot of great companies in the Connected Athlete and Health & Wellness sub-sectors that we focus on. However, I would really like to see more traction and innovation in the Fan Engagement space. There is a lot of potential here to bring people closer to the action and open up additional revenue streams. A lack of scalable and unique solutions has been the challenge. So we hope to find cool companies addressing problems in Fan Engagement to catch up with the other focus areas.
What makes the Lake Nona Fund unique?
The Lake Nona Fund is unique because of the partners behind the fund: leAD and Tavistock Group. The two are what I consider the perfect marriage. leAD brings deep experience in the sports and investment space. Tavistock also owns sports assets and has a really unique asset, which is an entire city, Lake Nona. The city is built with health and wellbeing in mind and our portfolio companies will be able to take advantage of the entire ecosystem here. No other fund can offer anything that is comparable. In addition, we have great investors from successful entrepreneurs, industry experts, and family offices to several famous athletes, which help us evaluate and support the companies.
What do you look for in a founder?
Looking for someone that has a clear vision and can concisely articulate their value proposition. The easier founders can explain the business, the more likely it is that they truly understand their domain. In addition, I look for founders that have the ability to build and lead a team properly, giving everyone the tools they need to shine. And finally, it is important for a founder to openly talk about challenges and problems within the business. Not everything is perfect at all times and transparency can go a long way.
Thanks for the interview, Thomas! For more information on the Lake Nona Sports and Health Tech Fund please visit www.lakenonafund.com.
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