HCA, Eli Lilly and Atrium Health back $ 55 million venture capital fund to invest in black-founded and led health startups


Some heavyweights in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries – HCA Healthcare, Eli Lilly and the American Hospital Association (AHA) – are backing a new venture capital fund to invest exclusively in healthcare startups founded and led by Black.

Nashville, Tennessee-based Jumpstart Health Investors (JHI) has raised $ 55 million for its new venture capital fund Jumpstart Nova, oversubscribing the original goal of $ 30 million. The fund will invest exclusively in healthcare companies led by black founders in the fields of healthcare IT, digital health, technology services, diagnostic devices, biotechnology, device manufacturing medical and consumer health and wellness, according to a press release.

Good Start Nova investors and strategic healthcare partners also include Cardinal Health, Atrium Health, Henry Ford Health System, LHC Group and Meharry Medical College. The fund was also launched with partners Bank of America, Pinnacle Financial Partners, FirstBank, Ingram Industries, Truxton Trust and Vanderbilt University.

“The healthcare venture capital industry has for decades failed to invest in brilliant black American innovators, and it has been a loss for all of us. The strong start of Jumpstartova and its incredible group of sponsors validates the need to capitalize and support the vital solutions of this untapped talent base, ”Marcus Whitney, Founder and Managing Partner of Jumpstart Nova, said in a statement.

Whitney, one of the pioneers of the first black-led healthcare investment fund, was inspired to create Jumpstart Nova as a solution to a central gap he saw in the market. Jumpstart Nova is the most recent in a family of funds managed by JHI, which he co-founded with Vic Gatto in 2015 in Nashville.

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In 2020, JHI successfully supported the exits of four companies, half of which were run by black founders, Whitney quickly realized the opportunity to bring these innovations to scale, and Jumpstart Nova was born out of his efforts to support innovators who are historically underfunded, underfunded and unknown.

“Hospitals and health systems need strong partners to work with to build healthier, more equitable communities. Jumpstart Nova is about providing talented but too often overlooked entrepreneurs with the capital they need to move this important work forward, ”said Rick Pollack, President and CEO of AHA, in a statement.

“The AHA is excited about the investments this fund will make, which we believe can have a positive impact on the double bottom line of financial and social impact,” he said.

Today there are nearly 785,000 companies in the health care industry in the United States, and only 35,000 companies in the health care and social assistance industry are owned by blacks or African Americans, according to the reports. data provided by Jumpstart Nova. This represents less than 5%.

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Jumpstart Nova strives to increase equity in the healthcare venture capital space by maintaining general partners majority black owned, increasing the number of Black VC limited partners and VC professionals, by generating excellent returns and investing in black founders and leaders at the forefront of healthcare innovation, the company says.

Companies in the fund’s original portfolio are tackling health issues such as equitable access to clinical trials, bringing new cell and gene therapies to market, helping families with children with autism gain support therapy they need and research to mitigate the risk of life-threatening food allergy attacks, according to Whitney.

Drugviu is one of the portfolio companies of Jumpstart Nova and has developed a virtual platform where patients with autoimmune disease can consolidate their entire medical history, participate in clinical research and unlock suggestions. personalized to better control their health.

Another startup in the portfolio is Cellevolve, a new development and commercialization biotechnology focused on transforming cell therapy innovations into treatments. Alerje is an innovative, Detroit-based food allergy management start-up committed to improving the quality of life for millions of people with life-threatening food allergies.

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“It is a privilege to support Jumpstart Nova’s investments in black-founded and led companies that drive innovation in healthcare,” said Philip L. Johnson, Senior Vice President and Treasurer of Eli Lilly and Company. “Lilly is committed to advancing racial justice, including improving health outcomes and economic opportunities for black Americans.”

Robin Damschroder, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Henry Ford Health System, said that Jumpstart Nova not only provides the historically unavailable funding through traditional investment channels, but also connects the healthcare system to a fund manager with a “Deep commitment to black people. companies with high potential for success. “

“Innovation is the cornerstone of progress for communities around the world. We see many common goals in our mission at Atrium Health and that of Jumpstart Nova, ”said Rasu Shrestha, MD, executive vice president of Atrium Health and director of strategy and transformation. “A key part of our innovation plan is to ensure entrepreneurs of color have ample opportunity to advance core ideas, create new technologies, and build sustainable, impactful businesses that will benefit the populations we serve and beyond. “


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