Datto founder McChord joins health startup

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Datto Inc. founder Austin McChord has joined Heart Health Intelligence as its CEO. The fledgling HHI will be bigger than Datto, the billion-dollar business software firm he founded a decade ago, McChord predicts.

Based at RIT Venture Creations in Henrietta, HHI is developing “technology, software and services that unobtrusively checks a person’s health status at home.” Its smart toilet seat is capable of sending a detailed picture of a heart patient’s vital signs to the patient’s doctor. The company’s product is the first device of its type to pursue U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance. 

HHI is partnered with Wisconsin-based Bemis Manufacturing Co. and so far has scored more than $2 million in seed capital. In addition to Bemis, investors and partners in HHI include Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Rochester Medical Center. 

McChord, a software wunderkind who founded Datto in 2007 from his parents’ basement and an RIT dorm room while he was still a student, disclosed the HHI position in a LinkedIn post this month. 

Also joining HHI as chief commercial officer is Olivia Lew, who similarly announced the move on her LinkedIn page this month. McChord and Lew state that they are based in the Greater Boston area.

HHI chief operating officer Ken Rosenfeld and Chief Scientific Officer Nicholas Conn remain based in Rochester. Conn, an RIT graduate, founded HHI and developed the technology that powers the device. He formerly served as the firm’s CEO. 

“So excited to build the future of home health care with Austin McChordOlivia Lew, and Ken Rosenfeld!” Conn wrote in a LinkedIn post.

“Great news for Heart Health Intelligence! So thrilled to welcome Austin McChord and Olivia Lew. Together with Nicholas Conn, PhD and the rest of the (growing) HHI Team we are destined to make a huge positive difference for home health,” Rosenfeld’s LinkedIn post reads. 

McChord comes to HHI after building Datto, a producer and seller of business software, cloud-based services and hardware, from one-person startup to a company reportedly worth $1 billion and heading for an IPO. He resigned as Datto CEO in October 2018, less than a year after Datto was acquired by Vista Equity Partners and simultaneously merged with the IT firm Autotask, which Vista had acquired in 2014. 

Since leaving Datto, McChord has remained on the company’s board and has been involved in venture capital investment with General Catalyst, where Lew served as chief of staff and then principal. HHI lists General Catalyst as a sponsor. McChord also is managing director of Outsiders Fund, a venture capital firm he co-founded earlier this year.

While he and Lew are based in the Boston area, HHI expects to continue drawing Rochester talent as the company grows, McChord says.

“You know I have an affinity for Rochester,” says McChord, citing his alma mater, RIT.  

In 2017, McChord donated $50 million to RIT, the largest gift in the school’s history.

HHI is seeking to further expand its workforce and currently has several job openings for software and firmware engineers and developers posted on its LinkedIn page. 

Citing Rochester and Boston as hubs of high-tech talent, HHI will further grow its workforce mining talent locally and in the Boston area in coming months, McChord says.

Will Astor is Rochester Beacon senior writer.

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