Evening the Playing Field in Health Equity Investing

Evening the Playing Field in Health Equity Investing

Venture Capital Firms Expand Opportunities for Underrepresented Startups

The venture capital (VC) field has been among the least diverse in finance, and studies have shown that this contributes to the lack of capital available to health care startups run by Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, women and other underrepresented groups. Results from the most recent survey conducted in 2022 by Deloitte and its partners show that the VC industry has made “significant but somewhat inconsistent progress” in increasing its gender, racial and ethnic diversity since 2016. Regardless, it’s clear that much work remains to level the playing field in health care for startups led by underrepresented groups.

Here’s a look at how three venture capital firms are making a difference and a snapshot of some entrepreneurs to whom they have provided opportunities to help transform health care while addressing health equity.

Jumpstart Nova: Changing the status quo to support Black-led startups

Jumpstart Nova, an offshoot of Tennessee-based Jumpstart Health Investors, launched to the public in January 2022 after raising $55 million, blowing past a $30M initial target for its first fund and increasing the hard cap to $55 million. That offering generated huge interest among the press and innovators. The experience quickly gave the firm an indication of how much demand existed among Black health care entrepreneurs for the opportunities provided by the firm and its over 90 limited partners.

SteelSky Ventures: Bringing equity to women’s health

SteelSky Ventures has a clear premise. The female-led venture capital firm is laser-focused on improving access, care and outcomes across women’s health. The fund, one of the world’s largest focused on women’s health, has provided investments to 16 companies in the consumer health, digital health, and medical device sectors, among others.

Seae Ventures: Advancing equity through opportunity

Founded in 2019 by the former leaders at Zaffre Investments, the venture capital arm of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Seae Ventures has seen steady success, launching a $107 million inaugural fund. The fund has more than 30 investors representing both health care payers and providers, financial services companies, endowments and foundations, and major US corporations.