Dennis L. McWilliams

Dennis McWilliams

B.S. ASE 1993
Founder, President and Chief Commercial Officer, Apollo Endosurgery Inc.

Dennis McWilliams is the founder, president and chief commercial officer of Apollo Endosurgery Inc., a growing medical device company based in Austin, Texas, that develops tools for minimally invasive, scarless gastrointestinal procedures. Apollo is a leader in less-invasive treatments for obesity, with brands such as Lap-Band® and Orbera®. It has operations on six continents and its products are sold in more than 60 countries around the world.

McWilliams received a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin in 1993, where he also lettered for the Longhorn football team. He went on to earn a master’s degree in engineering management from Stanford University in 1994.

McWilliams began his career working with George Kozmetsky at UT Austin’s IC2 Institute, developing strategies for startup companies based on new technologies from government- and university-based research labs. From there, McWilliams co-founded his first company, Chrysalis BioTechnology, a biopharmaceutical company focused on novel drug therapies for tissue regeneration, which was a spinout of The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. In 2004, Chrysalis was acquired by OrthoLogic Corporation, providing a significant return to The University of Texas System.

Following this, McWilliams was an entrepreneur-in-residence at PTV Healthcare Capital, a venture capital fund focusing on health care innovation. Apollo Endosurgery was incubated by PTV Healthcare Capital and was initially funded through a seed grant from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and started through a collaboration that included the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins University, the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and The Chinese University of Hong Kong. McWilliams served as CEO of Apollo Endosurgery until 2014, at which point he assumed the role of president and chief commercial officer.

McWilliams serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Exes and the UT Men’s Athletics Council. He speaks extensively on entrepreneurship and innovation in life sciences, and, in 2007, he was awarded the Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award by the Texas Exes. McWilliams and his wife Clarissa reside in Austin. The couple has two sons, Christian and Hudson.