photo of dennis mcwilliams

Partner, Santé Ventures and Managing Director, SparkMed Advisors LLC

B.S. ASE 1993, The University of Texas at Austin
M.S. Engr. Mgmt. 1994, Stanford University

Dennis McWilliams has dedicated his career to bringing innovative life science ideas to the market. He is the founder of SparkMed Advisors, a boutique deal group focusing on bringing creative solutions to medical device commercialization.

McWilliams received a bachelor of science with honors from The University of Texas in aerospace engineering and a master of science in engineering management from Stanford University.

Previously, McWilliams was the founder of Apollo Endosurgery and served as CEO for nine years from the company’s inception until 2014, where he assumed the role of President and Chief Commercial Officer. Apollo Endosurgery, Inc. is a medical device company focused on minimally invasive surgical and endoscopic devices for the treatment of obesity, gastrointestinal cancers, and other GI disorders. The company’s original technology is based on research from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Johns Hopkins University, Medical University of South Carolina and the Mayo Clinic. 

Prior to Apollo‚ Mr. McWilliams was an entrepreneur in residence at PTV Sciences‚ a venture capital fund focusing on life science and medical devices. Previously he co-founded Chrysalis BioTechnology‚ a development stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel drug therapies for tissue regeneration‚ including bone‚ cartilage and dermal soft tissue. He started his career at the IC2 Institute, a think-tank based on Austin, Texas, focused on applied research in entrepreneurship and commercialization.

McWilliams has served on the Board for the Texas Exes and the University of Texas Men’s Athletics Council. In 2007 he was given the Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award by The University of Texas and in 2016 was named a Distinguished Engineering Graduate of the Cockrell School of Engineering. He is a frequent speaker and lecturer on entrepreneurship and innovation in medicine, and serves as faculty for the B.E.S.T. Innovations Courses taught at the prestigious IHU Institut de Chirurgie Guidée Par L’Image in Strasbourg France, Taiwan and Brazil.

McWilliams lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife Clarissa and boys Christian (16) and Hudson (12).