Our team is made up of a diverse group with multi-disciplinary expertise and we all share a passion for using technology to change the world for the better.
Jeff Cardenas

Jeff specializes in new product development and go-to-market strategy. He received his Master’s of Science in Technology Commercialization from the University of Texas at Austin. He previously worked in the Global Commercialization Group at the IC2 Institute at UT Austin, working with innovators from around the globe to take innovations out of the research lab and to the market.

He holds an undergraduate Business degree from UT Austin, and worked in the Technology practice of Deloitte Consulting. He previously founded several start-ups and a non-profit. He has a passion for entrepreneurship and using technology to solve social issues and improve the world.

Dr. Nick Paine

Nick Paine received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering all from University of Texas at Austin. His Ph.D. studies focused on the development of the UT Series Elastic Actuator, a compact high performance actuator for robotics. This technology was adopted by numerous organizations worldwide including NASA-JSC, IHMC, Changwon National University, Stone Age Robotics, and Daegu Institute of Science and Technology.

From 2012-2013 he was a member of the NASA-JSC DARPA Robotics Challenge team where he helped develop high-performance hardware and software for compliant control of the Valkyrie humanoid robot’s legs and arms. From 2014-2015 he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Human Centered Robotics Lab at UT working on forced convective cooling of electric motors and embedded system design.

Kay Sheils

Kay has worked with entrepreneur-led companies in venture and middle markets for the majority of her 20-year institutional finance career, with a focus on disruptive technologies and impact sectors.  Kay’s most recent experience has been as CFO to Icon Technology, a 3-D printing construction technology company headquartered in Austin, TX. Kay is also a Founding Partner of CapStream Group, an entrepreneur-focused investment bank headquartered in Austin, TX, and serves as advisor and/or investor to several other early-stage companies.

Kay’s previous experience includes Managing Director of Investment Banking at Seaport Global, where over twelve years she led numerous financings and advisory engagements for entrepreneur-led companies, and specialized in helping management teams structure complex capital and build for growth. She also served as Director of Business Development at CircleUp, a firm focused on capital investment in early-stage entrepreneurs.

Kay spent the early part of her career in New York at Morgan Stanley and Jefferies. Kay holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Duke University and a master’s degree from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

She currently lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, John Kingsbury, their two sons, and their beloved terriers.  She is a passionate animal advocate and dog rescue nerd.

Barry Phillips

Barry Phillips is Chief Commerical Officer at Apptronik where he oversees Sales, Marketing, Business Development, and Customer Success. Barry joins Apptronik after being the CMO of Fetch Robotics (acquired by Zebra Technologies), Maxta, Panzura, Egnyte and Wanova (acquired by VMware), where he led Marketing, Sales, and Business Development.

Prior to Wanova, Barry was the Group Vice President and General Manager of the Delivery Center Product Group at Citrix Systems. Barry joined Citrix through the acquisition of Net6. He began his career in United States Naval Aviation where he logged over 1,000 hours in a P-3C Orion. Barry holds a Bachelors of Computer Science from the United States Naval Academy and a Masters of Computer Science from UCLA.

Greg Steele

Greg Steele is our Interim VP of Operations.  Greg has spent his career in Operations roles in technology companies taking them from start-up to full scale production.

He held the position of Senior VP of Engineering at Enphase Energy for 4 years, the Senior VP of Operations at the same company for 4 year and was the COO and VP of Operations for Advanced Fibre Communications for 7 years.  Greg is currently on the Board of Exchange Bank and serves as the Board President for the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County.


Dr. Luis Sentis

Luis Sentis is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin and a contractor for NASA Johnson Space Center. He received his Ph.D.and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He went on to become a postdoctoral fellow in the Computer Science Department at Stanford. He holds a B.S. (Honors Thesis) degree in Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. He started his career in Silicon Valley as R&D Engineer.

In Austin, he also leads the Human Centered Robotics Laboratory, and experimental facility with many PhD students and humanoid robots. He was the UT Austin’s Lead for DARPA’s Robotics Challenge with NASA Johnson Space Center. His research focuses on designing human-centered robots, whole-body control software architectures, high performance series elastic actuators and embedded control systems, and motion planning for dynamic locomotion. He has received various awards such as the NASA Elite Team Award for his contributions on designing the Valkyrie humanoid robot, the 3rd Prize at the RoboCup@Home Domestic Standard Platform League, and the Best ICRA 2017 Paper Manipulation Award. He has over 100 scientific publications.

Gordon Daugherty

Gordon Daugherty is a bestselling author, seasoned business executive, startup advisor and investor. He has made more than 500 investments into early-stage companies and has been involved with raising more than $150 million in growth and venture capital. From his 28-year career in high tech, Gordon has both an IPO and a $200-million acquisition exit under his belt. Now, as co-founder and chairman of Capital Factory and as author of the book "Startup Success", Gordon spends 100 percent of his time educating, advising, and investing in startups.

Stefan Nusser

Stefan has spent the last 15 years in executive leadership roles at various robotics ventures, ranging from exploratory efforts and start-ups to large corporate initiatives. He was Executive Director, Solutions at Willow Garage, CEO at Redwood Robotics, product lead for several robotics initiatives at Google, CPO at Fetch Robotics and, most recently, Senior Director, Product, for Robotics and Automation at Zebra Technologies.Before embarking on his robotics career, Stefan spent 15 years in various technical and leadership roles in IBM’s Software Group and Research Division. He holds a Ph.D. in Business Informatics from the University of Business Administration and Economics in Vienna Austria, and a Master in International Management from CEMS.