Dave DeCaprio ‘90, MIT ‘93
Dave DeCaprio ’90 is CTO and Co-founder of ClosedLoop.ai in Austin, TX. A graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Dave has led several successful startups, and consulted with organizations on technology innovation including the Human Genome Project. In his spare time, Dave wrote the software for tennis players to strategically record their matches and gather statistics to improve their play. Cizr helps tennis players and coaches get better faster. That caught the eye of several NCAA Division 1 tennis teams who are currently using it. This includes Vanderbilt University, one of whose tennis players was recently named the NCAA Most Improved Player.
DeCaprio landed a job creating speech recognition software right out of college. From there, he worked for small and large software companies working technical, hands-on, and management positions. Nowadays, DeCaprio enjoys the fast pace and excitement of startups.
His invitation to work on the Human Genome Project ignited a passion for healthcare software. DeCaprio’s work at ClosedLoop helps make predictions for proactive treatments based on individuals’ medical records and health data. “I’m a math guy and a computer guy, but the ability to have a positive impact on the community and society, that’s what gets me really excited.”
DeCaprio credits his success in college to the academic rigor at Notre Dame. While taking the necessary requirements for high school graduation, he also had the opportunity to enroll in classes at the University of New Haven. “I wasn’t on a traditional track for math, but ND supported me and the things I wanted to do. I learned that you can make your own path. If you want to do something, find the people who will help you and go do it. It’s what you have to do today.”
The ability and the freedom to accelerate his coursework was key to getting him prepared for college. “I went into MIT very well prepared and I saw kids who were not,” he explains. “It was a rude awakening for them particularly as I was able to go in pretty seamlessly from ND.”
One of his fondest memories at ND was orchestrating a surprise 40th birthday party for a faculty member. He managed to assemble the entire school community to pull off the surprise and he admits he had to get the school’s administration to bend a few rules for the unconventional party plan. “That culture of willingness - to accept breaking a few rules for the right reason- is exactly what you need to start a company. Anybody that has done of something of significance had to break rules along the way,” he explains. “You just have to learn how to do that, and how to do that in the right way.”
DeCaprio observed “The world is changing at a much faster rate than when I graduated. A lot of what’s happening now is figuring out how to build something of value in an environment that’s changing.” He offered a few words of wisdom for current students. “At ND I learned to work very hard. Whether it was the newspaper deadline or opening night in the theater, I had to put in the hours and work hard. And when the time came to go to print or to be on stage, I had to be ready. That’s what it takes to be successful today.”