Jim Olson


Jim Olson is CEO of Flywheel, a biomedical research informatics platform leveraging the power of cloud-scale computing infrastructure to address the increasing complexity of modern computational science and machine learning.

Jim is a “builder” at his core. His passion is developing teams and growing companies. Jim has over 35 years of leadership experience in technology, digital product development, business strategy, high growth companies, and healthcare at both large and startup companies, including West Publishing, now Thomson Reuters, Iconoculture, Livio Health Group and Stella/Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota.

Jim is also an angel investor, active in the startup community supporting teams with passion and focus. Jim serves on boards, both for-profit and not-for-profit, helping drive visions forward.

Travis Richardson

President & Chief Product Officer

Travis Richardson is President & Chief Product Officer of Flywheel. He brings over 25 years of executive leadership experience in product development, strategy, and innovation at both large and small companies including Schneider Electric, Oracle, cloud information service provider, DTN, and Minneapolis-based White Pine Consulting Group.

Travis’ career has primarily focused on his passion for data management, data quality, and application interoperability to provide real-world solutions in industries including telecommunications, energy, and supply-chain. He is particularly excited to be leveraging his data management and analytics experience to enable a new generation of innovative solutions for healthcare with enormous potential to accelerate scientific discovery and advance precision care.

Gunnar Schaefer

Co-Founder & CTO

Gunnar Schaefer is Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Flywheel. He has over 10 years of experience working in scientific and computational environments. Prior to Flywheel, Gunnar was Chief Software Engineer at Stanford University’s Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging, a neuroscience-focussed MRI research facility. A central part of his work there was the development of the scientific data management system that has become the foundation of Flywheel. Previously, he worked on wireless sensor networks for environmental monitoring in the Swiss Alps. Gunnar holds a Master of Computer Engineering degree from the University of Kiel in northern Germany.

Gunnar thrives on applying his computer engineering know-how to facilitate and accelerate academic and clinical research. In particular, he enjoys using his extensive experience in computer programming, modern web technologies, and distributed and scalable systems design to enable large-scale data management and highly-scalable computing.

Can "John" Akgun

VP of Business Development

Can (pronounced “John”) Akgun, PhD, is the VP of Business Development of Flywheel. He brings over 15 years of experience in medical imaging spanning academic research, product development, and commercialization. Previously, Can led business development for technology incubator, Invenshure, and its subsidiary Imbio, LLC, where he was in charge of technology licensing, industrial collaborations, and academic partnerships.

Can holds a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. His graduate work focusing on MRI hardware design and electromagnetic computation led to the authoring (and co-authoring) of 20 peer-reviewed publications and 4 patents. After his Ph.D, Can worked two (2) years as a senior application engineer for Swiss med-tech company, Schmid and Partner Engineering (SPEAG), where he focused on application development for a commercial computational electromagnetic software platform for MRI and medical device safety applications.

Troy Kopischke

Co-Founder & Board Chair

Troy Kopischke is a co-founder of Flywheel as well as a serial tech entrepreneur. He is a co-CEO, co-founder, and managing partner of Invenshure, a venture catalyst company focused on the creation and development of tech and biotech companies built around novel IP from top scientists and institutions. Previously, he was the President and Chief Financial Officer at Steady State Imaging, where he was instrumental in developing a commercialization strategy that helped guide the sale of the company to GE Healthcare in 2011. Troy holds a B.S. in electrical engineering and a B.A. in physics from the University of Minnesota as well as a B.A. in engineering science from Bethel University. Troy is out to create a billion dollars worth of value and effect a billion lives. Through Flywheel, he aims to accelerate science, enable researchers to solve the world’s largest problems, and create high returns for investors.

Brian Wandell

Co-Founder & Scientific Advisor

Brian A. Wandell is the first Isaac and Madeline Stein Family Professor. He joined the Stanford Psychology faculty in 1979 and is a member, by courtesy, of Electrical Engineering and Ophthalmology. He is Director of Stanford’s Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging (CNI), and Deputy Director of Stanford’s Wu Tsai Neuroscience Institute. Wandell’s research centers on vision science, spanning topics from visual disorders, reading development in children, to digital imaging devices and algorithms for both magnetic resonance imaging and digital imaging. Building on software developed at the CNI, Wandell co-founded Flywheel Exchange, LLC to help support reproducible research methods outside of Stanford. He remains actively engaged in Flywheel’s activities, and Wandell’s team at Stanford continues to extend the range of reproducible research applications, using the tools for various neuroscience applications and large-scale computer graphics simulations for artificial intelligence in advanced driving assistance systems.