Message from the Founders
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We know how lucky we are – love at first sight when we met in high school and still married decades later.

Through all the complications and challenges of work, babies, career changes, multiple moves across the country, somehow a Type A, lifelong entrepreneur, and a ball-busting, Sicilian Irish writer/director managed to stay together all these years – still madly in love in our fifties!

It wasn’t always “rainbows and butterflies.” Hardly. We worked through some brutal ups and downs. Don’t get us wrong. There was lots of love and joy, but also conflict, challenges, arguments, and many moments when we didn’t think we would make it as a couple.

And along the way had four great kids who, we believe, saw a very “real” marriage – two people in love, always trying hard to do their best.

Like any parent at this time, we raised the first generation of kids that grew up holding a computer in their hands. We entered the global communication village together as a family, experiencing accelerated access to information and the age of “instant gratification.”

While everything was advancing, literally at light speed with the internet and social media, we couldn’t help but notice that the technology of health care remained stagnant. As patients with signs of aging creeping in, we started asking more questions. Why in this age of information were there so many evident shortcomings with physical and mental healthcare options? Why were so many of our friends casually joking about the lack of sex in their relationships? Why were so many couples divorcing after their kids left for college? Why weren’t counseling, coaching, and therapy more easily accessible and more widely used? (We likely would not have made it as a couple if not for counseling.)

Specifically for women, they experience so many changes throughout their lives; first periods, childbearing, aging, menopause, etc. The challenges for women have been there since the dawn of time. Yet, historically, women have been expected to “deal with it.” Why do women have to put up with low libidos, waning interest, energy, or urinary dribble after sneezing? Why are so many women’s needs untreated, with little to no help from their overwhelmed primary care doctor.

The internet has connected us all but, at the same time, created isolation and barriers to true intimacy and authentic relationships. With that, we questioned why are conversations about sexual health and intimate relationships still happening behind closed doors on the stainless-steel exam table?

Further, we knew first-hand the importance of therapy and guidance for couples but, why was it that so many people who need it don’t get it? Was it lack of access? Was it a partner saying, “I’m not doing that!”? Was there a better way to have open, honest dialogue on all fronts?

From all these questions, Rise was born. As founders, we wanted to help shape, influence, and engage intimacy for today’s couples and individuals looking for deeper fulfillment in their lives. More than that, we are creating unfettered access to information, therapy, and treatment!

As we launch Rise nationally, I warmly recall one of my early meetings with a top academic and physician in the field of urology and sexual wellness. After explaining our philosophy and business plan of providing improved physical and mental sexual health and increased intimacy for all men and women, he stood up from his desk, raised his arms in a V, and said, “Thank god! Finally, someone is getting how to approach this pillar of health”!

The RISE Team

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Meet the team dedicated to improving your life.

Dan Markel

Founder and CEO

A lifelong entrepreneur, attracted to complex challenges and market inefficiencies, Markel specializes in private equity for startups and growth companies. By first investing his own capital, he has raised more than $100M in over 35 offerings.

After beginning his business career on wall street with Morgan Stanley, Markel became a healthcare entrepreneur sparked by his curious nature as a patient and keen interest in treatments for various challenging health arenas. 

Markel graduated from Loyola Marymount University with honors, returning later to teach entrepreneurship as an adjunct professor. He holds an MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and completed the first year of his MBA at University of Southern California.

Enlisting some of the top urologists in the country, Rise marks Markel’s third medical startup, offering revolutionary treatment for patients with limited options. With Rise, by combining treatments with a robust digital/telemedicine platform, Markel hopes to bring these widely unknown treatments to men and women everywhere.

In addition to Rise, Markel has founded Pure Blue Technologies, Pure Blue Health, and MyLife Recovery with which he successfully opened addiction treatment centers in 14 different states.

Kathleen Markel

Co-founder

A native of Omaha, NE, Kathleen Welch Markel met her future husband and Rise co-founder, Dan Markel, when they were cast together in a high school play. They attended Loyola Marymount University, where she received her BFA. After receiving her MFA from the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, Markel pursued her career as a playwright, actor and director, working in major cities across the US.

Their decision to have four children changed the trajectory of Welch Markel’s career. While freelancing as a magazine writer and interior designer, her primary focus was raising their children the past 20 years. Once the kids were in high school and college, she refocused her time and efforts on her writing career. She is currently in production as the writer/director of an independent feature film.

As a person who has been “ruled by her hormones most of her life,” Welch Markel has always had a keen interest in wellness and women’s health. She jumped at the opportunity to be involved with such a groundbreaking company.

Dana Hughes

Chief Operations Officer

With over 25 years of leadership roles in various corporate development areas, she has a diverse background in corporate operations and oversight. Hughes emerged into the business space via the insurance industry which led her to become a distinguished expert and consultant in new startup operations

Over the last decade and a half, her combined corporate experience and expansion into technology and product development have blended nicely to provide a high level of expertise in acquisitions, quality assurance, compliance, sourcing, and logistics.

With her 35 years of experience, she has a highly unique blend of well-rounded expertise that is amplified in all aspects of business.

 

Dana Hughes

Jonathan Saul

Chief Financial Officer

Jonathan Saul earned his Business and Economics degree from UC Santa Barbara and oversees the product technologies and brand development aspects of Rise Medical.

He is a seasoned lifestyle and medical device executive with a strong background in brand management, product development, strategic marketing, and sales excellence in high-growth companies such as Gucci, Compex, Revelar, and Cefaly.

Several of his products have achieved well over $100M in sales and he is the proud recipient of the European Consumer Choice award for a crossover medical-to-consumer device.

Saul has a deep and personal interest in medical technologies and an unwavering commitment to health and wellness.

 

Dr. Vijay Goli, MD, FACS

Chief Medical Officer

With his substantial experience in all aspects of urology and much of his practice successfully transitioned to telemedicine, Dr. VJ Goli took a special interest in Rise Medical.  Dr. Goli joined Dan Markel to form Rise as it’s Chief Medical Officer and a member on the Board of Directors. His passions for sexual wellness, coupled with his experience on the digital platform, makes Dr. Goli an integral part of Rise.

Dr. Goli was born in India and raised in Hazard, Kentucky. He earned his BA at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, and received his Doctor of Medicine at the University of Louisville. He is Associate Clinical Professor of UNLV School of Medicine and Surgery and has served as Secretary and Treasurer of Spring Valley Hospital for over seven years.

Not only is Dr. Goli a Diplomate of the American Board of Urology and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, he is the first and only Urologist in Nevada accepted as a Fellow of the International College of Surgeons. He currently holds the position of Chief of Urology at Summerlin Hospital and Southern Hills Medical Center.

Dr. Goli has been at the forefront of medical technology, including helping develop a disposable cystoscopy system and a principal investigator of clinical trials to get FDA approval. He is a consultant for multiple national and international companies and gives lectures on medical technology to physicians across the globe. Dr. Goli has recently become a health expert advisor for a large private equity firm.

Dr. Goli has interests in all aspects of urology with special enthusiasm for minimally invasive procedures. He performs the highest number of stone surgeries in Nevada as well as in-office procedures for minimally invasive therapies for BPH and Overactive Bladder. He was also the first urologist in Nevada to perform Shockwave therapy for male sexual wellness. 

Vijay-Goli

Dr. Stephen Auerbach, MD

Dr. Stephen Auerbach is a board certified Urology Specialist in Newport Beach, CA and has extensive experience in the medical field. He received his medical degree from the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California School of Medicine.

Dr. Auerbach performed his surgical and urology training at Keiser in Los Angeles. He was also a clinical investigator site for over 185 clinical trials including Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra and was a global educator at the forefront of the emergence of pharmaceutical erectile dysfunction therapies.

His Newport Beach private practice specializes in erectile dysfunction, incontinence, BHP, and prostate cancer, with a particular interest in ED. He has an enthusiasm for staying on the cutting edge of new technological therapies.

 

Dr. Laura Purdy, MD

Dr. Laura Purdy graduated from Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences and served full time in the U.S. Army, during which she became the Practice Medical Director at MDLive. Dr. Purdy has worked extensively throughout the telehealth industry and is passionate about the de-stigmatization of intimate wellness as well as growing the access to quality care for all men and women.

She is a Board Certified Family Medicine Physician with years of experience as a full-time Med/Peds Hospitalist as well as Chief of Hospitalist Service for an Army Community Hospital.

Because Dr. Purdy is process-improvement driven; she brings tremendous added value to Rise Medical.

She has unrestricted licenses in AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY