They’re changing the face of healthcare entrepreneurship!
A Black-led venture capital firm just raised $55 million for Black healthcare entrepreneurs, Nashville Post reports.
Marcus Whitney is the co-founder of Jumpstart Health Investors (JHI), a venture capitalist firm aimed at providing seed stage investments for healthcare companies. Recently, the firm launched its Jumpstart Nova fund, an investment fund aimed at supporting health care companies founded or led by Black entrepreneurs. Jumpstart set an initial goal of raising $30 million for the Nova fund, surpassing their goal exponentially to raise a whopping $55 million in total.
“The healthcare venture capital industry has missed out for decades on investing in America’s brilliant Black innovators, and this has been a loss for us all. Jumpstart Nova’s strong start and incredible group of limited partners validate the need to capitalize and support the vital solutions from the untapped talent base,” said Whitney.
Those partners include a variety of national healthcare companies and esteemed institutions like HCA Healthcare, Meharry Medical College, Pinnacle Financial Partners, and Vanderbilt University. While the fund doesn’t have a specific investment range in mind, they are typically targeting healthcare startups looking for series A funds, opening the fund to Black-founded companies across the nation. So far, Jumpstart Nova has invested in four cutting edge companies including DrugViu, Cellevolve, Teamwork and Alerje.
“Our initial portfolio companies are tackling important issues for the healthcare industry. We knew these founders were ready for prime time when many doubted they even existed. Together, we are going to make a significant mark on the healthcare industry,” Whitney said.
Holly Rachel, president of the local chapter of Blacks in Technology, spoke about the importance of what Whitney and his team are doing, something she feels is revolutionary to the Black startup sector.
“Capital is a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to startup success, especially when we are talking about tech startups. Typically, Black founders only receive about 1 percent of venture capitalist investment each year, and that number just isn’t representative of the potential that exists within the Black startup community. The existence of funds like Jumpstart Nova provide the opportunity for Black founders to grow their startups,” said Rachel.
While JHI has definitely thought of the necessary capital needed to grow startups, they are also thinking about overall support budding entrepreneurs may need to launch and scale their healthcare businesses, recently selecting 17 healthcare startups for their Jumpstart Foundry accelerator program. Each selected company receives a $150,000 investment from JHI and the necessary wraparound support needed to take their company to the next level. Selected participants include a diabetic health care company and an initiative focused on feminine hygiene. Jumpstart Foundry Managing Director Eller Kelliher said many of the new innovative healthcare initiatives sprouting up are a direct result of the ongoing pandemic.
“While COVID-19 continues to present many challenges in our daily lives, it has been incredible to witness the creation and adoption of new innovations in the healthcare industry. I am encouraged by the incredible number of innovative startups that are changing the face of health as we know it. And I am particularly proud of these 17 new investments - as new JSF portfolio companies, they represent real solutions to the industry pain points and trends that have been highlighted and, in many ways, driven by the pandemic,” said Kelliher.
To learn more about the work of Jumpstart Health Investors, click here.
Photo Courtesy of Marcus Whitney