‘Investment’ Category

Q&A with Abhas Gupta of Mohr Davidow Ventures

| May 14, 2013

Holly May

Healthcare costs are soaring – the US spent ~$2.7 trillion on healthcare in 2011, and it costs over $1 billion to bring a novel drug to market. Yet digital health companies can innovate faster and demonstrate their proof of concept with comparatively little money, which is creating new and exciting opportunities for healthcare entrepreneurs.

I recently sat down with Abhas Gupta, MD a partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures to discuss the opportunity for digital health, changes in medicine, and his advice for entrepreneurs. (Mohr Davidow Ventures is a Limited Partner in the Rock Health Fund).

Here are a few highlights, and the full interview is after the jump:

  • Digital health companies – in the eyes of a venture capital investor, are characterized as software-driven, capital-efficient, quick to fail, and able to scale. Investors look for passionate, strategic thinkers when evaluating potential investments.
  • The single biggest change in the US healthcare market is the shift in business models from a fee-for-service system to an at-risk system. Simply put, doctors are paid today for the number of lab tests or procedures they perform irrespective of patient need or outcomes. In the future, physicians and healthcare systems will be accountable for managing the health of patients with a fixed sum of money (capitation); therefore, healthcare organizations will bear the financial risk. The most attractive digital health opportunity today is to enable physicians and case managers to identify, track, and manage their potential high-cost patients and prioritize cost-effective interventions thus reducing the level of financial risk.
  • Gupta’s advice for first time entrepreneurs is to find a niche where you can directly take on soaring health care costs, familiarize yourself with venture math (the mentality of a VC investor) before pitching, and think about the right investor fit for your venture when you raise money. (more…)

Q&A with Beth Seidenberg of KPCB

| December 17, 2012

What inspired you to go to medical school?
My grandfather and father were both physicians.  Their passion for their work and for making a difference in people’s lives was palpable in our home.  I wanted to carry-on the family tradition.

What led you to biotechnology and ultimately investing? (more…)

Vinod Khosla on Health Innovation [Video]

| September 10, 2012

We held our 2nd ever Health Innovation Summit to bring together over 300 innovators, academics, clinicians, and investors to inspire dialogue and action around innovation in healthcare.   And since health is truly a universal concern, we wanted the conversation to include diverse, and dissenting, voices.  It was unsurprising then that at least one speaker’s comments from the Summit sparked a heated debate regarding just how technology, in particular machine learning and artificial intelligence, will transform healthcare as we know it.

Vinod Khosla’s keynote was the subject of much (healthy) debate last week, invoking impassioned responses from all sides, particularly high-profile physicians. You can watch Vinod Khosla’s interview with Thomas Goetz from Health Innovation Summit below:

Some of the most cited responses to Khosla’s keynote:

Dr. Davis Liu on The Healthcare Blog:
Perhaps Khosla’s call to action was simply an entrepreneurial mindset, but simply ignoring those who have chosen a field to improve and save lives and who meet humanity everyday on the front-lines is problematic and dangerous. There are some things that may never be codified or driven into algorthims. Call it a doctor’s experience, intuition, and therapeutic touch and listening. If start-ups can clear the obstacles and restore the timeless doctor-patient relationship and human connection, then perhaps the future of health care is bright after all.

Matt Marshall of Venture Beat:
…the criticism of Khosla’s most recent comments last week is largely knee-jerk in character.  For the most part, the reactions failed to refute Khosla’s main point about the promise of big-data for healthcare… Khosla is simply using hyperbole to get his point across. With the angry reaction, he got the stirring debate he was probably hoping for.

So if there’s any real standoff, it’s hard not to side with Khosla on this one. You’ve got to be an idiot not to see that the system needs serious change.

David Shaywitz on the Forbes Blog:
Like other physicians in the valley (e.g.), I disagree with Khosla’s perspective, or more accurately, I bring a different set of experiences and biases.  Trained as a physician, and working in the medical products industry, it’s perhaps not surprising I view deep experience in healthcare and the complexity of the healthcare system as enormously enabling.  

Eric Topol responded in an email to MedCity News:
We [Topol and Khosla] are completely aligned on the need for radical transformation of medicine via technology–including digital, genomics, imaging… But we differ on whether this will lead to a massive 80% [replacement] of the physician work force. I believe we have no shortage looming, as so many have projected–because of the great innovations that empower consumers with their own precious data, and the new model of patient-physician partnership will evolve.


What do you think? Share your thoughts and reactions below.

Rock Weekly

| May 21, 2012


May 21, 2012

With all the buzz in digital health, it was hard to whittle down our favorite headlines this week. The highlights: Simplee raised $6M, Proteus raised $17.5M, and Dr. Oz’s startup raised $1.6M.  There were two digital health acquisitions and one big merger.  We also found out that physician adoption of tablets (namely iPads) doubled this last year, while doctor-only social networks stayed flat.

Click below for good reads:


Crafting the perfect VC pitch

| March 14, 2012

By Gus Tai of Trinity Ventures

Getting a VC to commit to invest is more complicated (but usually briefer) than a marriage proposal. It requires that investor to make a highly personal commitment, and also recruit the other members of the firm. Every venture capital firm has its own highly individualized and distinctive approval process, which is a fascinating study (if you like studying how groups make decisions).