Healthcare Investor and Innovator
After more than a decade building software and companies in the digital marketing space, Marcus partnered with Vic Gatto to launch Jumpstart Health Investors, with a mission to become the strongest early stage healthcare venture platform in the US. in 2015, Vic and Marcus launched their first healthcare venture fund, Jumpstart Foundry, investing in high potential pre-seed stage healthcare companies from across the country. Since then, the pair have grown Jumpstart Health Investors to three funds with more than 150 portfolio companies across them, and more than 10 exits to date.
In an effort to grow the community of healthcare innovators nationally, Marcus started the Health:Further conference in Nashville and operated it from 2015 - 2018, hosting over 2000 attendees in its final year. Health:Further gathered startups, investors, advocates and industry leaders to discuss how they could advance healthcare through collaboration. Through Health:Further, Marcus' network grew exponentially and enabled him to synthesize everything he learned from hosting the events and begin speaking on healthcare innovation at top conferences himself.
In 2019, Marcus was selected to be a Nashville Health Care Fellow, learning about the industy's oppotunities and challenges alongside executives from leading companies like HCA Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Ascension and LifePoint Health. After graduating Nashville Health Care Fellows, Marcus had his first major healthcare keynote opportunity at HFMA's 2019 Annual Conference, where he talked about the inevitability of disruption that unfortunately came to pass the very next year.
In 2020, in the midst of the pandemic and America's moment of racial reckoning, Marcus addresses his peers and colleagues in the industry when he penned an open letter called "Calling Up Nashville's Healthcare Leaders." In this letter, Marcus called on the industry's leaders to acknowledge the history of America and how it had impaired the Healthcare industry's goals of equitable care for all patients, and further had resulted in deep inequities in power and wealth accumulation as the industry grew. This letter catalyzed a response from the Nashville Health Care Council, and eventually opened up a dialogue and initiative around DEI that is measurably impacting the industry for the better.
After seeing the impact of this letter, Marcus knew there was an opportunity for him to do more. Leveraging the Jumpstart Health Investors platform, Marcus launched Jumpstart Nova, the first venture fund in America to exclusively invest in Black-founded and led healthcare companies, in partnership with Eli Lilly and Company, HCA Healthcare, Cardinal Health, Atrium Health, Henry Ford Health System, LHC Group, Meharry Medical College and the American Hospital Association. The first fund closed at $55M in December of 2021.
In 2022, Marcus was elected to join the national board of the Healthcare Finance Management Association, and was also selected by the Aspen Institute to join the sixth class of their Health Innovators Fellowship. In addition to these roles, Marcus regularly keynotes key healthcare conferences for organizations like America's Essential Hospitals, BOMA and AHIMA.
Nashville SC Co-Founder & Minority Owner
In 2013, Chris Jones published a tweet that would start a movement to bring soccer at the highest level to Nashville, TN. He announced that he and some friends were going to start Nashville Football Club (Nashville FC), a non-profit soccer club, with a north star of creating the best club in America. Big goal. Marcus happened to see Chris' tweet and signed up as founding member #86 of Nashville FC. Within a year, Nashville FC acquired a franchise in the National Premier Soccer League, US Soccer's fourth division league, and was bringing 1000-2000 people out to watch amateurs play for Nashville. At the end of their first season, Marcus and Chris connected, and a friendship was formed, that resulted in Marcus becoming the Chairman of the club.
It didn't take long for Marcus to realize that there was magic with this club, and combined with the trajectory of Nashville as a rising city in the US, there was an opportunity for Nashville FC to go pro. Marcus worked with Chris and the Nashville FC board to establish a plan, get approval from the club members, and set out on the path of shifting from a non-profit to a for-profit entity. Marcus used his background in venture capital to raise capital and form an ownership group for the club.
In 2015, LifePoint Health President (now CEO), David Dill, came forth as the ideal majority owner for the club, and he brought ProviderTrust co-founder and former pro soccer player Chris Redhage along to join the ownership group. David and Chris insisted that Marcus join the ownership group, and with that, the three formed DMC Soccer and acquired a franchise in the USL, the second division league of US Soccer. With that move to pro, a trademark issue required that the club change its name, and Nashville Football Club became Nashville Soccer Club, or Nashville SC.
In 2016, John Ingram emerged as the leader of an ownership group in pursuit of a Major League Soccer expansion team, and after months of discussion, John acquired a majority interest in Nashville SC, positioning the club the ascend to the top division in US Soccer. This happened in 2017, when Nashville moved from the back of the list to win the very first of several expansion teams, which now include Miami, Charlotte, and St. Louis.
Bestselling Author on Entrepreneurship
In 2015, after going from a college dropout to a venture capitalist on the verge of owning a professional sports team, Marcus realized that he had something valuable to share. There was something about what he learned that could be codified and written down to pass along to someone else on the path of entrepreneurship. Marcus decided to test the idea on Kickstarter, and within 48 hours, the Create and Orchestrate project was funded. This was just the beginning.
Marcus then quickly learned that he had no idea how to actually write a book, and would go on to struggle through several iterations of the book for four years. Fortunately, not only did he become a better writer in that time, but he also lived some important lessons that made the book complete. He finished the book at the end of 2019, and was ready to launch it in 2020, and then COVID shut the world down.
After weeks of reflection, Marcus decided to publish the book during the dawn of the pandemic, understanding that entrepreneurship would be needed now more than ever.
In June 2020, Create and Orchestrate was published and hit #1 on Amazon's Entrepreneurship Books chart. The book gives an honest look at entrepreneurship through Marcus' failures and successes and produces a simple, complete framework for understanding business: The Eight Core Concepts.
Masters World Champion Jiu Jitsu Player
As a child, Marcus loved martial arts. In the 80s, on Saturdays you could find him in front of the TV watching films by Run Run Shaw, or his favorite Bruce Lee film. While he never took a martial art as a child, he did wrestle in junior high and high school. Over a rocky career with a lot of fits and starts, he finally found his footing in his senior year at Poly Prep, and became New York State Private School State Champion. This was one of the most important achievements of his young life.
As a father, Marcus chose to enroll in martial arts with his youngest son. They both studied Hap Ki Do, and went from white belt to black belt over the course of four years. Shortly after becoming black belts, Marcus' son began college, leaving Marcus to train alone. He realized that he always wanted to learn Jiu Jitsu, and there was no time better than now, having gotten used to spending dedicated time on the mats and starting from the bottom as a white belt as an adult.
Marcus began training at Renzo Gracie Nashville under Shawn Williams, and found an amazing community of hobbyists and competitors, and he saw himself somewhere in the middle. Starting at age 45, there was no professional future for him in the sport. Fortunately, there is a vibrant Masters competitive scene in Jiu Jitsu, and Marcus threw himself head first into that world.
At the beginning of 2022, Marcus, still a white belt, set a goal for himself. If he made it to Blue Belt, he would compete in the IBJJF World Master tournament in Las Vegas. In May 2022, after winning two IBJJF Opens and becoming Pan champion at White Belt, Shawn Williams gave Marcus his Blue Belt. This was his ticket to World Master in September.
After a grueling Summer in which he lost his first major Blue Belt IBJJF tournament as well as his first PPV Superfight, he gathered himself and prepared for his goal in a true fight camp that almost injured him so badly that he didn't make the tournament. But then, entering the tournament as the 10th seed, Marcus won four matches to become the 2022 Master 4, Blue Belt, Ultra Heavyweight World Master Champion. He finished his 2022 run with a record of 21-4.
In 2023, he won his second Master 4, Blue Belt, Ultra Heavyweight championship. He dedicated his 2023 Jiu Jitsu season to the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, where he is a board member. He is raising money from sponsors in honor of his 2023 season, and 100% of the sponsors commitment will go to the CARES Foundation.