About Us 2018-08-02T21:56:48+00:00

About Us

Tear Film Innovations (TFI) is an early-stage company developing a family of break-through products for the treatment of evaporative dry eye and related syndromes including meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and blepharitis.

Management Team

Rob has more than 30 years of experience in marketing, sales and general management in the healthcare industry. As Executive VP for TLC Vision, he had responsibility for the LASIK and Ambulatory Surgery Center business units, and helped pioneer the partnerships between TLC, ophthalmologists and optometrists. Other key positions held include VP of sales and marketing at McGaw (B Braun Medical), VP of Field Ops for Tandem Medical, VP at Neomatrix and Managing Partner at Axiom Equity Partners, a private equity firm investing in early stage life science companies. Rob earned a BS in Finance from Missouri State.

Dr. Slate has 30 years of medical device experience, having led teams from product conception through manufacturing, including clinical evaluations and regulatory approvals. A technical contributor with 20 issued U.S. patents, he is skilled in systems design, measurement and control, compliance with FDA Quality Systems Regulations, and has served as an expert witness in patent litigation. He co-founded Avant Medical Corporation to develop electromechanical devices for self-administration of injectable drugs. As Vice President of Operations, he was involved in a wide range of start-up activities including organizing several clinical studies and collaborating with major biopharmaceutical companies. Previous corporate experience includes Vice President positions at MiniMed, Siemens and VIA Medical. At MiniMed, he led the development of an infusion pump that has been produced for over 25 years and is currently sold by CareFusion to the U.S. Armed Forces. He received a BS, MS and PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and was a post-doctoral fellow with the Departments of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Alabama Birmingham.

Gordon has over 20 years of eye care industry experience, having worked both in the US and the UK in sales, marketing and management roles. As Director of Marketing for Carl Zeiss Meditec Inc. at their Dublin California office, Gordon had responsibility for marketing Zeiss’s ophthalmic diagnostic, refractive and surgical ophthalmology product lines. Other key roles include Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Guardion Health Sciences, and UK Business Manager for Carl Zeiss Meditec. Gordon earned a BSc in Applied Biology from John Moore’s University, Liverpool.

Kevin is a senior executive with progressive, broad-based experience in the medical device, pharmaceutical and consumer health industries. He has enjoyed significant successes in public and private company environments including start-ups, with proven experience in strategy development, management development, top-line growth, marketing, new product launches, and sales execution. Key roles include Vice President of Sales & Marketing at AMO, and Director of Sales and Marketing roles at Allergan. Kevin earned a BA in Communications from the University at Buffalo, New York.

Board of Directors

Brian has over thirty years of experience in medical device design, development, and management. He is Managing Partner of Tigris Ventures, which serves as the primary investor and incubator of Tear Film Innovations. He recently served as CEO of BIT MedTech, a $30M contract developer and manufacturer of complex medical devices and life science instrumentation. Brian originally founded the company as California MedTech, and led the acquisition by German-based BIT Analytical. Cal MedTech co-developed and manufactured products such as the Personal Genome Machine for Ion Torrent (acquired by Life Technologies), the JJB Nerve Surveillance System for NuVasive (NUVA), the Pulsar Electrosurgery System for Peak Surgical (acquired by Medtronic: MDT) and the RapidBlue intravascular cooling system for InnerCool (acquired by Philips). Before that, Brian founded Endonetics, a venture-backed medical device firm that developed products for the diagnosis and treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Brian served as CEO and Chairman of Endonetics, and assisted in the sale of the company to Medtronic. He has held technical and management positions with Analog Devices, Medtronic, Winfield, and Nellcor/Puritan-Bennett. Brian earned a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Duke and an MBA from Stanford. He holds over twenty U.S. and foreign patents with more than twenty-five pending, and has been involved in the development and commercialization of over 150 life science products.

Rob has more than 30 years of experience in marketing, sales and general management in the healthcare industry. As Executive VP for TLC Vision, he had responsibility for the LASIK and Ambulatory Surgery Center business units, and helped pioneer the partnerships between TLC, ophthalmologists and optometrists. Other key positions held include VP of sales and marketing at McGaw (B Braun Medical), VP of Field Ops for Tandem Medical, VP at Neomatrix and Managing Partner at Axiom Equity Partners, a private equity firm investing in early stage life science companies. Rob earned a BS in Finance from Missouri State.

Joe is a senior executive with 30 + years’ experience in ophthalmology and optometry. He has held executive leadership roles with Zeiss including President of Carl Zeiss Vision and President, Americas Region for Carl Zeiss Meditec. Prior to Zeiss, Joe was an Area Director at Humphrey Instruments before the acquisition by Carl Zeiss in 1991. Joe is a well-recognized leader in the eye care industry including extensive commercialization experience with eye care professionals throughout the Americas.

Dr. Legerton is an accomplished author, lecturer, vision scientist and consultant to the ophthalmic industry. He is an inventor on 48 issued US patents and more than sixty patents pending for multifocal, aberration blocking, hybrid, composite and scleral contact lenses, refractive surgery, corneal refractive therapy, contact lenses for refractive error regulation, contact lens enabled wearable displays, protective lighting, humanitarian eyewear and diagnostic devices. He is a founder of SynergEyes, Inc. and co-inventor of Paragon CRT and NormalEyes mini-scleral lenses. He is a Founder of Innovega Inc. the developer of full field of view, light-weight and stylish contact lens enabled wearable display systems.

During his 26 years in the private practice of optometry he specialized in low vision and contact lenses and served as the managing partner of a seven doctor multi-specialty practice in San Diego. He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Optometric Association for his contribution to the field of Contact Lens and Corneal Care.

He was named the Young Optometrist of the Year by the California Optometric Association and Optometrist of the Year by the San Diego Optometric Society. He served as Benedict Professor, Practice Management for the University of Houston, College of Optometry and is the Practice Management Editor for Primary Care Optometry News and a Contributing Editor for Review of Optometry. He is active in product development of novel contact lenses, contact lens enabled wearable displays, humanitarian eyewear, refractive error regulation and devices for early detection of ocular disease.

Jeffry Weinhuff is currently the managing partner of Visionary Venture Fund and has been active in the institutional investment realm for over 30 years. He was first involved in private equity and M&A as the sixth professional to join the West Coast Investment Banking Group at Drexel Burnham Lambert, where the practice of private equity acquisitions developed and became institutionalized. At Drexel, Mr. Weinhuff advised and worked with many first-tier private equity firms, served as a long-term member of the Underwriting Assistance Committee and was co-Founder of the firm’s Buyers Advisory Group. As the Founder and Co-Head of Investment Banking at Jefferies & Co, he created a major full-service independent investment bank from inception to full development, including developing its Healthcare practice. At Jefferies he served for many years as head of the Commitment Committee and member of the Board of Directors, as well as operated a private merchant bank for many years. Jeffry Weinhuff is the current managing partner of the Visionary Venture Fund in Orange County, California.

Tyler J. Stowater is Partner and Vice President of Bluestem Capital. He graduated from South Dakota State University with a BS Degree in Agriculture Economics (1984) and a MS Degree in Economics (1986). Tyler spent eleven years with the State of South Dakota’s Bureau of Finance and Management. During his tenure, Tyler held the position of budget analyst, state economist, and deputy commissioner. In 1997, Tyler left the State to become an Assistant Vice President at Citibank South Dakota with business analysis responsibilities in the North American Cards Customer Service Unit. Tyler joined Bluestem in 2000 and is currently in charge of portfolio management with responsibilities including the evaluation of prospective companies, structuring, negotiating, and performing due diligence for various investments made by Bluestem. He monitors and provides assistance to existing portfolio companies and holds multiple Board of Director positions. In the spring of 2016, Tyler was given the Distinguished Alumnus award at the 62nd Annual Celebration of Excellence in Economics at South Dakota State University.

Co-Founder

Kabir is co-founder of Tear Film Innovations, and co-inventor of the iLux device. He is a Partner with Tigris Ventures, and has been involved in the medical device industry for more than fourteen years with demonstrated success in leading teams from concept to commercialization. His hands-on experience spans minimally invasive surgery, cardiology, electrophysiology, spinal implants and instruments, and he has been a key technical contributor to Synthes, Medtronic, Epic Medical, USGI Medical, and Bioheart. Kabir is a patent holder and has multiple patents pending. He received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and an MBA from the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego.