What made you want to work in the healthcare industry?
I’ve worked in management consulting for 32 years, and began my career focused on financial services. But, after a few years, I was inspired to move into the healthcare practice because of all the innovation I saw, and the potential for it to make a difference in people’s lives. I’ve been in healthcare now for over 25 years.
Tell me how your career has led to investing, and what made you want to get involved with Caduceus Capital Partners in particular?
In my role at Deloitte, I interact with strategic investors in corporate equity, and see first-hand the important role they have in accelerating innovation. I worked with (Caduceus Capital Partners Managing Partner) Scott Kolesar for many years and was particularly interested in his thesis and how this fund could impact the future of health. It was too good an opportunity to pass up.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Get out of your comfort zone. No real change occurs without stretching your boundaries, being curious, appreciating what you don’t know and creating something new.
What area of healthcare innovation interests you the most?
I’m particularly interested in using data to make better decisions. When you think about the vast amount of clinical information we have, predictive analytics can have a real impact in caring for patients. Technology will never replace providers, but there is tremendous opportunity to help clinicians process information through technology and enable them to focus on what they do best in caring for patients. Combining this human experience with better clinical data could dramatically increase quality of care.
What’s your strategy in working with early-stage companies?
It’s important to invest in companies that are solving for a specific issue in healthcare, whether that’s better access, quality, affordability, or cost. You don’t want to work with a company that’s going to lose focus and go after the next shiny, new thing. This is why knowing the management team is so important.
In talking with founders, I always want to know if they have built a company before and if they have failed before. If they haven’t failed, they probably haven’t scaled a company in any significant way. Failure is a great teacher.
What have you learned from your mentors over the years and how has it helped you to achieve success in your endeavors?
My mentors have encouraged me to focus on the people aspect of the business. Early in your career, you try to show the world how smart and independent you are, but as you grow and gain experience, you realize that there is an interdependency in success. Motivating and deploying talent is the essence of leadership. Even as technology becomes more ubiquitous, people will become more important. There is a pent-up demand and yearning for personal interaction, specifically in healthcare, and we will see this play out as healthcare transforms in the next decade.
For those who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs, what is most important thing they should consider before launching a company?
Starting a company has many ups and downs, so it must be personal. You need to have a deep burning desire to make it work, usually based on personal experience, and harness that to get through the tough times.
What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?
I really enjoy traveling and seeing different parts of the world. Just before the pandemic, we took a trip to the Amalfi Coast and Sicily. I look forward to getting back to exploring once the pandemic subsides.
What is your favorite cause or nonprofit to support and how do you get involved?
I just joined the board of directors for Docs for Tots, non-profit organization led by pediatricians to promote practices, policies, and investments that will enable young children to thrive. I’m excited to be a part of it and admire their approach to supporting the healthy development of young children.
If someone is looking to invest in a venture capital fund, what advice would you give them?
Knowing the management team – its history and track record – is the most important thing. You need fund managers who understand the market opportunities and can draw a direct line between an innovation, what it is solving for and who is going to buy it.