Ventures Team

Akhil Saklecha, MD
Akhil Saklecha, MD

Akhil Saklecha, MD

Managing Director, Ventures
Dr. Saklecha is the Managing Director of Cleveland Clinic Ventures where he leads investments into startup companies for one of the world’s top healthcare systems. He currently sits on the boards of Cardionomic, Cleveland Diagnostics, Enhale Medical, Enspire DBS, Mitria Medical, Navigate Cardiac Structures, Neurotherapia, and Zehna Therapeutics.
 
Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic Ventures, Akhil was a Partner at Artiman Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm with over $1.2 billion under management. While at Artiman, he led investments in early-stage start-up companies and served on the boards of Cellmax Life, Oncostem Diagnostics, Slive, ApplyBoard, DateMySchool, and HomeUnion. In addition to his Board of Director roles, he also served as CEO of Slive, an early stage diagnostics company. Prior to joining Artiman, Akhil served in administrative roles at Aultman Hospital in Ohio as Medical Director of the hospital’s regional transfer program and Chairman of the Emergency Department and Level II Trauma Center. He was also CEO of Canton Aultman Emergency Physicians, a professional services firm that provides physicians, mid-level providers, and coding expertise to multiple hospitals and urgent care centers. In this same time period, Akhil participated at the local, state, and national levels of governing institutions within emergency medicine, healthcare quality, information technology, managed care, and emergency medical services.
 
Akhil is Board-certified in Emergency Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians. He continues to practice emergency medicine at Cleveland Clinic on a part-time basis where he remains connected to clinical care, patients, and physicians. Akhil graduated from the combined accelerated B.S./M.D. program at Northeast Ohio Medical University. He completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at Summa Health System and holds a M.B.A. from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
 

Contact Information:

216-444-5757

J.D. Friedland
J.D. Friedland

J.D. Friedland

Partner, Medical Devices, Ventures

Jon David “JD” Friedland joined Cleveland Clinic Ventures in May 2021 as Partner focusing on medical device investments.

Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic Ventures, JD served as a Managing Director at Wombat Capital, a boutique M&A advisory firm focused on the life sciences industry.  JD has also held senior positions at Rothschild, Lazard Fréres and Wasserstein Perella.

From 2016 to 2020, JD served as a Special Operating Partner at Pulse Equity Partners, a private equity firm located in New York, NY.  Prior to joining Pulse Equity Partners, JD was Vice President, Corporate and Business Development at Henry Schein, a global distributor of products and services to the medical, dental and animal health industries.  JD was also involved in the formation of the Innovation Initiative, an investment platform for Henry Schein, and led the Innovation Initiative’s first investment.

JD received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Contact Information:

216 445-0812

Joseph Rich, JD
Joseph Rich, JD

Joseph Rich, JD

Director, Governance, Grants & Policies

Joseph T. Rich, JD, MBA is responsible for new venture development and growth, and manages the relationships between the boards and executive teams of CCI and OBVF portfolio companies. He also is the Portfolio Manager of the Ohio Third Frontier sponsored, $30 million+ Ohio BioValidation Funds early stage investment program. He has extensive business development expertise through his involvement in the organization and start-up of numerous financially successful companies. Mr. Rich possesses industry-specific expertise in life sciences, venture capital investments and angel financing, joint ventures and other strategic alliances involving technology commercialization. He has led many OBVF deal teams that resulted in successful OBVF investments. Mr. Rich serves as a Board Member and or Corporate Officer for over 15 early-stage companies, and led the successful exit of portfolio company FlexLife to LifeWatch Services, Inc. He has a decade of technology commercialization experience, previously serving as a senior member of Cleveland Clinic’s New Venture group. Prior to Cleveland Clinic, he served as vice president and general counsel for The University of Akron Research Foundation, where he was instrumental in numerous corporate ventures and international deals. He is actively involved in higher education in the State of Ohio, and has served on the Board of Trustees of The University of Akron after an appointment by the Ohio governor. Mr. Rich received a BS in Biology from John Carroll University, an MBA in Finance from The University of Akron and a JD from The University of Akron.


Contact Information:

216-445-1594

Julie Carter
Julie Carter

Julie Carter

Administrative Program Coordinator, Cleveland Clinic Ventures

Julie is the administrative program coordinator for Cleveland Clinic Ventures (CCV). Julie develops, implements, manages and maintains the operational systems and activities of CCV. She also functions as the administrative, technical and operational resource for the CCV team.  Julie has worked at Cleveland Clinic for 5 years, previously holding a role in Innovations with the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center where she assisted with coordinating efforts within GCIC’s Incubator/Accelerator Program and provided support to the tenants.
 

Contact Information:

216-445-1917

Zach Eisen
Zach Eisen

Zach Eisen

Business Associate, Ventures

As an Associate with Cleveland Clinic Ventures (CCV), Zach works with the CCV team to create, develop, and finance startup companies leveraging the ideas, expertise, and resources of Cleveland Clinic. Zach supports all aspects of the Cleveland Clinic Ventures investment program with an emphasis on the analysis of potential Cleveland Clinic startup companies, and performance of current Cleveland Clinic startup portfolio companies. CCV works closely with Cleveland Clinic Innovations (CCI) to translate intellectual property from Cleveland Clinic into high performing startup companies, supporting the Clinic’s mission and maximizing returns to inventors and CCF at the same time.
 
Prior to joining the CCV team in 2017, Zach was the Director of Technical Operations at Efferent Labs, an early-stage medical technology company headquartered in Buffalo, NY. Zach worked in an interdisciplinary role with Efferent management and its science and engineering teams. In Zach’s time at Efferent Labs, the company was awarded numerous grants, raised a seed round of funding, established a partnership with a billion dollar global drug discovery company, and made significant R&D advances.
 
Previously, Zach worked at Z80 Labs, a startup incubator and seed-stage fund in Western New York, where he evaluated new investment opportunities and worked with portfolio companies on a variety of ad hoc projects. Zach received a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan, where he also worked as a Research Assistant in the Extracorporeal Life Support Research Laboratory, a joint collaboration between the Department of Surgery and the Biomedical Engineering Program.
 

Contact Information:

216-445-8619

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