Tag Archives: funding

Top 10 Messages from Silicon Valley Health Tech Investors

Top 10 Messages from Silicon Valley Health Tech Investors

Text and photo: Eeva Kiuru, Oulu Wellness Institute

Today was the third and last day at the 7th Annual Health 2.0 Fall Conference in Santa Clara. The day was full of demos and developer challenge announcements. Also, the winners of the Nokia X Prize Innovation Challenge were announced and rewarded.

We are truly witnessing amazing progress in the field of combining life science with mobile technology.

My focus today was on investors and their advise to health tech entrepreneurs in the crowded health tech space.

Here is top 10 take home messages straight from Silicon Valley Health Tech investors:

1. Focus on big enough health challenges and address them with new technologies.

2. Help get doctors in proper use – don’t try to replace them.

3. Choose carefully what space you are in. The healthcare market is very segmented and the smaller startup you are the better you must choose your niche.

4. Revenue is the best format of funding. Customer is the best possible investor.

5. Bootstrapping forces your business to discipline.

6. Healthcare convenience is a strong selling point.

7. Consumers will drive medical community to transform.

8. Get proof of concept and evidence with a couple of customers. Without that your idea is not valuable.

9. Accelerators provide great environment, but you should vet them carefully to make sure they offer what you really need (relevant client contacts in your segment, space, mentors, funding).

10. Make sure you help customers to save money or make money. Preferably both. In the US,
improving quality alone does not rank high on the value proposition list.

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Health, wellness and life science investors in Europe and USA

Health, wellness and life science investors in Europe and USA

Text by Eeva Kiuru and Veera Virta, Oulu Wellness Institute
Photo by Veera Virta

This is the third blogpost in our series introducing investors in health, wellness and life science. In previous parts we have collected investors in Finland and in Scandinavia. Now it is time to introduce investors in Europe and US. Since corporate venturing has started to play important role is life science investing, we have also included a list of some corporate investors in this domain.

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Aberdare Ventures is investing in disruptive digital healthcare companies who aim to cut the unbearable cost of current healthcare. They see new technologies, such as connectivity, analytics, and portability; smart sensors and connected implantables; fast and inexpensive analyses of genes and proteins, the drivers of the change in healthcare. They are located in San Fransisco.


Advent Ventures is a growth and venture capital investor in market-leading tech and life science businesses. Their investments cover a range of sectors within life sciences, including new drug discovery, enabling technologies, med tech and diagnostics. They invest predominantly in early and mid-stage life science companies in Europe and US.

AESCAP is a venture capital company investing in private medical companies in Europe. Their focus is in high-potential companies that work in the fields of diagnosis and treatment of human diseases with realistic product opportunities. The office is in Amsterdam.

Aravis is a Swiss hands-on investor and within life science their focus is on biopharmaceuticals, medical technology and biotechnology companies. They operate in Europe, Asia and North America, with offices in Zurich.

Ariadne Capital is an early-stage investor with a focus on enabling technologies and tools which are transforming established businesses and creating the digital ecosystem of health and lifestyle. They are based in London.

BB Biotech Ventures focuses on emerging companies developing and marketing drugs and medical devices. They primarily focus on product-driven, clinical-stage companies.

Earlybird VC manages over 20 institutional investors’ funds and has invested in over 70
companies. They focus in startups based in Europe and their investment focus areas include medtech. The offices are located in Berlin, Munich and Milano.

Endeavour Vision is a venture and growth capital firm providing expertise and funding to entrepreneurs and companies with global ambitions in life sciences and information technologies. They operate in Europe and US and invest in early to expansion stage companies including spin-offs and restarts.

ED Venture‘s primary activity is investing in and nurturing start-ups, with a focus on health care, human capital and aerospace. Overall, the chairman of ED Ventures, Esther Dyson, is fascinated by new business models, new technologies and new markets (both economically and politically).

Forbion Capital Partners invests in life science and biomedical technology companies that are developing world-class drugs and technologies. They focus in late stage preclinical and early stage clinical product development programs. They have offices in Naarden, Netherlands and Munich, Germany.

Gimv invests in life science, medtech, health and care services companies operating in European market. Offices are in Antwerpen, Paris, Munich and Hague.

Index Ventures is one of the early venture firms in Europe, and they are dedicated to building world-class information technology and life science companies. They invest globally in companies with European focus, and their offices are located in Geneva and London. The initial investments focus in on series A and B rounds.

Khosla Ventures is a high profile investor interested in sevaral disruptive sectors including consumer health. They focus on early stage crazy ideas, black swans and unusual approaches with an unfair competitive advantage in their early and growth phases.

Life Science Partners, LSP, is one of the largest specialized healthcare and biotechnology investment firms. They operate in Europe and US with offices in Amsterdam, Munich and Boston. They invest in variety of areas in healthcare and biotechnology, including drug discovery and development, medical devices, diagnostics, IT-based solutions, industrial biotech and bio materials. The focus in on start-up companies in need of first venture funding but they invest also in later-stages.

Merieux Development is a healthcare investment company. Their main objectives are to identify scientific and technological innovations and support entrepreneurs and companies which potentially will contribute to the medicine of the future. Their target is to have 12 SME’s at different stages of development by 2014 in their portfolio. They operate in Europe, North America, India and China, with office in Lyon, France.

MVM Life Science invests in emerging, early and later stage, healthcare companies with focus on venture capital and growth equity investments. Currently portfolio companies are located in Europe, Israel and US. In life sciences they focus on platforms and products, discovery and development and devices and drugs.

NBGI Ventures is a venture capital fund investing in medical technology companies. Primarily, they invest in EU countries and in companies of all stages from seed to development.

NEA is investor focusing on three key domains—information technology, healthcare and energy technology in the early and growth phases. They operate in US, India and China.

Sofinnova Partners is venture capital firm based in Paris. It invests throughout Europe in life science and clean energy start-ups, early stage companies and corporate spin-offs. It is often the first institutional investor in round A financing.

TPG Biotech is the life science venture investment arm of TPGSM (formerly known as Texas Pacific Group), a global private investment firm. TPG Biotech supports physicians, scientists and entrepreneurs who are building innovation-based businesses in the life sciences. TPG Biotech invests across life science sectors, geographies and stages.

Wellington Partners makes early-stage and growth investments in life science and technology companies. Their focus in life science is in medtech, diagnostics, therapeutics and industrial biotechnology.

Vesalius BioCapital offers venture capital to young, innovative European life science companies and invests human health related companies. The focus is on therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, and novel food applications and in companies of all stages of development.

Corporate investors

Ascension Health Ventures (AHV) is a strategic healthcare venture fund with $550 million in capital and nearly 300 acute care hospitals and numerous other healthcare related facilities as limited partners. Besides financial return, investment criteria include fit with strategic priorities of AHV’s limited partners’ health systems and potential to improve clinical outcomes, reduce costs, and/or enhance the experience of patients, families and caregivers. Investment focus is in
healthcare information technology and services, and medical devices and diagnostics.

BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners (BCBSVP) is corporate venture fund sponsored by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. The fund invests in technologies, products and services in the healthcare industry that promote efficiency, lower costs, and provide more consumer options. Investments are made from seed through growth stages in US based companies. Focus areas are health IT, informatics, administration and back office, health programs, consumer driven solutions and healthcare finance.

Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund’s objective is to search significant enhancements in patient care through innovative and pioneering science. They look globally for groundbreaking therapeutic approaches and technologies that have the potential to advance patient care and meet unmet medical needs. They make initial investments in seed or series A funding.

Merck Global Health Innovation Fund (GHI) is building a portfolio of investments in six focus areas that are outside of Merck’s core pharmaceuticals, vaccines, consumer products, and animal health businesses. GHI’s goal is to grow emerging health care solutions into meaningful businesses. Companies they invest in typically have current revenues, a strong business plan and high growth potential. Focus areas include flexible access, health intervention, personalized medicine, health productivity enablers, health infromatics and analytics and heath data liberation.

Qualcomm Ventures (QCV) is investment arm of Qualcomm Inc. They focus on disruptive early stage companies across a wide range of sectors, including healthcare. Their healthcare focused fund is Qualcomm Life. It specifically focuses on investing in venture-backed wireless health start-ups that will help accelerate the Qualcomm 2net Platform commercialization. The areas of specific interest to the fund range from personal wellness to disease management. Investments are made in areas such as body worn or implantable biosensors or devices for vertically focused applications such as chronic disease care, medication adherence, and fitness or wellness; integrated system providers that do remote diagnosis, monitoring or specialize in independent living; mobile software health IT applications; and health informatics/analytics

West Health Innovation Fund’s mission is to lower health care costs. They invest in companies that are developing health care technologies or services that have the potential to substantially lower the cost of health care delivery. The Fund targets early stage opportunities with a strong preference for pre-commercial and early commercial companies. They invest in innovations in the following areas: advancing cost-effective, cost-saving models of care, creation of efficient medical marketplace, promotion of actionable health care policy and health care data liberation.

This was quite a long list of potential investors. Life science and especially it’s new frontier, digital health and health IT is bubbling right now.  We wanted to do our share and make the funding opprtunities better visible for entrepreneurs. We are sure there are plenty of other investors currently active or becoming active in this field since this is a growth area and many traditional investors are already kicking tires of health tech and health IT.

And by the way, may we recommend you also have a look also at AngelList. There you can find  investors with specific keywords that fit exactly your funding needs.

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In the next and final blogpost of this series we will focus on collecting the health tech and life science business accelerators. As always, please comment if we missed something you think should be added here. We would love to hear your comment to make sure this a valuable resource for you.

Health, wellness and life science investors in Scandinavia

Health, wellness and life science investors in Scandinavia

In the first part of the series introducing health, wellness and life science investors we introduced Finland-based investors. This second part of the series consists of introductions of investors based and investing in Scandinavia. The information here is gathered from the websites and introduces only the very basics of each investor, so use the links and go find out more!

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BirkVenture is a Scandinavian venture company that offers venture capital to companies and entrepreneurs in life sciences. Their office is in Oslo. In their investments, they focus in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, diagnostics, medical devices and instruments, and consumer
health, and they look for attractive, long-term business cases and companies in their early stages.

HealthCap is a family of multi stage venture capital funds, investing globally in life sciences, with offices in Stockholm and Lausanne, Switzerland. They invest in the commercialization of innovations in medical science, focusing in pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology companies. The investments are made in early-stage opportunities as well as in
more mature companies.

Incitia Ventures  is an independent Nordic VC fund manager based in Oslo. They invest in technology companies in the start-up and expansion phase within broad range of technology sectors. Incitia Ventures has hands-on involvement in companies so they invest in and nurture only a few investments at a time.

Innovationskapital  is an independent early stage venture capital firm for innovative growth companies in the Nordic region. They focus in early-stage companies in the areas of ICT, healthcare and life sciences.

Innoventus’ mission is to develop novel technology concepts and transform those into objects of visible and measurable commercial value. They invest in biotech and life science companies in the phase where technology ventures are too immature to meet traditional investment criteria. The geographic area of their investments is not defined, the headquarters are in Uppsala, Sweden.

Lundbeckfond Ventures is a venture fund investing in life science companies. It is owned by Lundbeck Foundation. The focus of their investments is in clinical pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals, medtech, diagnostics, and healthcare service companies in northern Europe.

Novo Seeds is a life science supporting program that consists of a pre-seed fund and a seed fund. Their aim is to identify and develop into successful businesses the unexplored commercial potential in the academic and early stage applied research projects at universities and biotech companies in Scandinavia. See also other Novo Group investors, Novo Ventures and Novo Growth Equity.

NXT2B is a privately owned venture capital company with offices in Uppsala, Sweden. They invest with long term commitment in healthcare, medical device, and specialty pharmaceutical companies in their early phases. The focus is in projects with high scientific quality with reasonable business opportunities.

SLS Invest is a Scandinavian investor focusing in life science companies in Scandinavia. They invest in small and mid-sized companies in late product development, launch or product line extension phases.

Sunstone Life Science Ventures is a European investor based in Copenhagen. They invest in early-stage life science companies with focus in therapeutics, medtech, and diagnostics. The point of entry of the investment depends on the type of life science opportunity. Their geographic focus is especially in Nordic countries, Germany and Switzerland.

Vanadis Capital combines life science business knowledge, hands-on operational expertise and medical background in providing human and financial resources in acceleration of product validation, end-user alignment, market access and early growth. They focus on biotechnologies,
diagnostics, medical devices and services, and pharmaceuticals in northern Europe.

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Hopefully these northern investor links are useful to you. Let us know if we missed someone who should be on the list. In the next blogpost we turn the attention to investors acting in wider
European scale, and finally in the fourth post we will wrap up the different healthtech business accelerators.

Health, wellness and life science investors in Finland

Text by Veera Virta, Oulu Wellness Institute

In this first part of the series introducing health, wellness and life science
investors the focus is in Finland. We have collected here public and private investors who have different funding instruments for companies in this field.

The information here is gathered from websites, and the purpose of these posts is to have an overlook on different investors. We strongly encourage you to find out more about the ones that are of interest to you and reach out to them! We are also more than happy to make introductions for you.

Even though these investors operate mainly in Finland, some of the private investors do invest in larger geographic area, focusing for example in Scandinavia or Europe.

Private equity firms and funds

Biocelex is a private company focusing in international innovation and business development. It is the right hand for the Karolinska Institutet in Finland. They provide early-stage funding solutions and innovation and business development services for research sector and Life Science companies. Their focus is on drug discovery and development, diagnostics, biomaterials, functional foods and life science services.

Innovatum Partners (BioAssetInvest) is a life science and healthcare business accelerator, with objective to help top research in Finland from early stage business to the next level and to success stories. Innovatum Partners is one of the Vigo accelerators.

Inveni Capital is a life science focused venture capital firm that invests in northern and central Europe. They offer venture capital to life science, drug development and healthcare technology companies in their early and growth stages.

Inventure‘s idea is to work actively as lead-investors crafting detailed
growth and value creation strategies in co-operation with the entrepreneurs. The focus is on high-tech, medical equipment, software, electronics, semiconductor, industrial production and material technology, early stage companies in Finland and Scandinavia.

Lifeline Ventures consists of a team of serial entrepreneurs who invest in health, web, and game business companies in their very early stage, often before the launch of the first product. The entrepreneurs can benefit from team’s hands-on industry experience, skills and contacts. They look for disruptive ideas and driven founders who aim to global category leadership. Lifeline Ventures is one of the Vigo accelerators.

Northern Startup Fund is an asymmetric venture capital fund managed by Butterfly Ventures. The focus is on software based businesses which are, or plan to be, located in Northern Ostrobotnia region in Finland. They invest in early stage startups either in seed of pre-seed stage.

Teknoventure Management is a private capital investor with no industry limitations. They offer equity financing and ownership solutions to companies in various sectors by participating in business
reorganizations and growth financing. They invest mainly in western and
northern Finland.

Vision+ is a product investment fund investing in applications, games, and service on all digital platforms. Their focus is only in products which need to be digitally distributed, the monetization has to come from consumers or the demand for the product is consumer driven, and the
product should already be on the market or at least ready to be launched within 1-9 months from the investment.

Public institutions and funds

Even though the Finnish public funding institutions are well-known among health entrepreneurs, at least  according our recent Health, Wellness and Life Science business barometer, we want to recap the most important ones here:

Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment
(ELY-keskus) manages regional development funding. There are 15 local
centres and usually the first contact point for the early stage funding
needs.

Finnvera is a specialized national financing company. It provides its clients with loans, guarantees, venture capital investments and export credit guarantees by offering financing solutions for start-up, growth, internationalization and export.

The Foundation for Finnish Inventions (Keksintösäätiö), screens and evaluates inventions and innovative business ideas generated by private
persons and start-up enterpreneurs, and helps develop them into businesses. Promising ideas with growth and international business potential are refined into business proposals or licensing projects together with experienced business advisors.

SITRA is the Finnish Innovation Fund, which invests in activities, which promote and stimulate new business models that aim for sustainable well-being. Sitra provides funds for surveys, forward-thinking activities,
experiments, and shared strategy processes that promote well-being and
are ecologically and socially sustainable. Sitra is a public fund, and reports directly to the Finnish parliament.

Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovations, finances development of innovations that aim at growth and new business operations. They have a variety of different programmes
and funding instruments for example for R&D projects, young and innovative growth companies, and for internationalization processes.

There is a lot happening right now in the field of health tech funding. We might have missed someone, so if you know of other investors in the field of health, wellness and lifescience, please post a link or contact our team.

In the next posting we will wrap up the Scandinavian and European investors in this field.

Oulu Wellness Institute (OWI) is a non-profit foundation building a entrepreneur community and helping innovative health and wellness entrepreneurs bring their ideas to global marketplace. Our work is funded by Finnish Knowledge Cluster program and City of Oulu.

Heads up ! Introducing health, wellness and and life science investors

Heads up ! Introducing health, wellness and and life science investors

Text: Veera Virta Oulu Wellness Insitute. Photo: Eeva Kiuru

In the end of 2012 we conducted Health, Wellness and Life Science business barometer (in Finnish). The objective was to identify the present state and future challenges of the companies working in the industry. According to the barometer, major challenges businesses meet concern funding. The biggest challenge is inadequate knowledge of different funding instruments, which causes challenges in getting funding. Further, the insufficient funding produces challenges with growth, internationalization and general business development.

In order to do our part in increasing the knowledge of funding methods, we started to collect an information package introducing a wide range of life sciences and healthcare investors in Finland, Scandinavia, and globally. In the coming weeks you can expect a series of blog posts about this topic. The first blog post is going to deal with the Finnish investors in the healthcare domain, and later on we’ll move on to investors in wider geographic area.

Stay tuned!

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Toteutimme syksyllä 2012 Hyvinvointi-, terveys- ja bioalan toimialabarometrin. Sen perusteella suurimmat toimialan yritysten kasvun, kansainvälistymisen ja liiketoiminnan kehittämisen haasteet koskevat rahoitusta. Rahoituksen hankinnassa puolestaan merkittäväksi ongelmaksi nousi rajallinen tieto eri rahoitusinstrumenteista ja rahoittajista. Lupasimme omalta osaltamme tarttua tähän haasteeseen ja kerätä tätä koskevaa tietoa, jotta yritykset löytäisivät paremmin alan rahoittajia.

Tulevien viikkojen aikana esittelemme blogissamme toimialan eri rahoittajia aina paikallisista, Oulun alueella toimivista investoreista globaaleihin toimijoihin. Kokoamalla ja levittämällä tietoa alan rahoitusmahdollisuuksista haluamme edistää yhteisön ja yrittäjien tietoisuutta rahoitusmahdollisuuksista. Haluamme myös kannustaa aktiiviseen ja omatoimiseen tiedonhakuun ja rohkeuteen ottaa yhteyttä rahoittajiin.

Pysy kuulolla!