Michael Brody-Waite named CEO of Entrepreneur Center


The Nashville Entrepreneur Center named local health care entrepreneur Michael Brody-Waite as its new chief executive officer.

Michael Brody-Waite is the new CEO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.
Brody-Waite emerged as a startup leader after co-founding, a Nashville company that reduces patient wait times through online scheduling. He led the company as CEO until it sold to a publicly traded company last year.

Nashville Entrepreneur Center Chairman John Ingram and Beth Chase, chairwoman-elect, led the search committee for the role and interviewed candidates from outside of Nashville, as well as locals.

“Going into this process, I did not know Michael, but he impressed me not only with his business success but also with his character and his thoughts about the future of the EC,” Ingram said in a prepared statement.

Brody-Waite, 37, will be the third CEO hired since the nonprofit was created in 2010 as a resource for Nashville entrepreneurs and startups. Sam Lingo, president of the nonprofit, has served as acting CEO after Stuart McWhorter stepped down in April to lead local investment firm Clayton Associates.

“It’s already a great team and a great organization,” Brody-Waite said. “I will try to refine a little bit where I can, where it’s possible.”

Brody-Waite’s relationship with the Entrepreneur Center dates back to its inception. At the time, he had just left a sales job at Dell to build InQuicker, a company inspired in part by his own waiting room experiences and frustrations. He found mentors and employees through the nonprofit and then-CEO Michael Burcham became board chairman of the company.

“I had no idea what I was doing and needed help,” Brody-Waite said of his early days as CEO. “I’ve been seeking ways to help other entrepreneurs because people were there to help me, and then this opportunity came.”

Before selling InQuicker to Stericycle Inc. in Illinois, Brody-Waite and his team had provided InQuicker services to more than 100 health systems in more than 30 states.

The Entrepreneur Center includes 750 members and a network of more than 250 mentors and service providers. Under McWhorter the Entrepreneur Center added several new accelerators — for those in the publishing sector, health care and veteran-owned companies. Project Music, a program for music tech startups, was launched in 2014.

“He is a proven entrepreneur, he built his company, had success, made money for himself and investors,” said Vic Gatto, Nashville investor and Jumpstart Foundry CEO. “He knows health care but has a tech background, too. … He will be credible with the young entrepreneurs.”

Brody-Waite has been a mentor to companies working out of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, and more recently he joined the advisory board of Project Healthcare, the new health care accelerator. Heather McBee, director of the nonprofit’s accelerators, said his ongoing involvement and background in health care startups will benefit the program.

“I’m glad to have someone who has been a startup operator in the role,” McBee said. “That’s who we are here to serve.”

Brody-Waite said he has spent most of the past year transitioning InQuicker under the new leadership. His plan had been to take a year off to experience a slower pace, meditate and travel as he determined his next move. He realized this year, as he became less involved at InQuicker, that he didn’t love sightseeing as much as he anticipated, and that he wanted to remain focused on something that mattered to him. That’s when a member of the Entrepreneur Center’s search committee reached out to see if he would be interested in the role.

At InQuicker, Brody-Waite put an emphasis on developing a team mentality and a positive culture. He plans to focus on that in his new role as well. Among his priorities for the first 100 days is talking to staff members about their goals and their insights on the nonprofit’s direction. He does not have concrete plans at this point and plans on learning more about the center before developing those.

While previous CEOs have long histories in the investment community, either through investing, raising capital or both, Brody-Waite’s experience has been bootstrapping. He and InQuicker co-founder Tyler Kiley built InQuicker through 401(k) money and maxed out credit cards until revenue fulfilled the operational needs. While he sees clear benefits to both methods of funding companies, he said the bootstrapping mentality will help him as CEO of the nonprofit.

“We will always have less resources than we need,” he said.

Brody-Waite is a native of Palo Alto, Calif., now a hotbed for startups, and he came to Nashville in 2002 from Los Angeles for alcohol and drug treatment. He found a supportive recovery community in the area and made it his home.

“I got this incredible bonus of being able to build a career at Dell, being able to build a company,” he said. “This chapter is something I never would have dreamed.”

Reach Jamie McGee at 615-259-8071 or on Twitter @JamieMcGee_.

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