Local venture fund aims to diversify health tech industry


Business associates Tuoyo Louis, Jason Robart, and Pete Sally released a health tech financial commitment fund less than the company umbrella of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts eight yrs ago. Now, they are accomplishing anything equivalent on their individual, with no a large firm to drop back again on. Turns out, they didn’t require a protection web.

They just shut investments to their very first fund, elevated less than the auspices of their unbiased company, Seae Ventures (pronounced see-ah), with $107 million from additional than 30 traders. The five-individual operation also incorporates associate Arianne Kidder, Seae’s chief monetary officer, and Leah O’Donnell, head of partnerships and corporate development. O’Donnell also labored at Zaffre Investments, the Blue Cross Blue Defend subsidiary, even though Kidder labored with Zaffre as an auditor at Ernst & Younger.

“We’ve been doing the job collectively for so very long, it is really a well-oiled device,” Robart said.

The cofounders — who held early conferences in the basement of the Boston Public Library — introduced Seae in 2019 just after leaving Zaffre, and invested the earlier two-moreover several years hunting for buyers.

In contrast to some undertaking resources, they also started committing the funds they’ve elevated to startups, totaling 17 so considerably, right before the 1st fund shut. They have now invested about $55 million, or about 50 % of the cash in their fund. Most of Seae’s equity investments are from $1 million to $5 million. The recipients range from a system to assistance gals of color uncover culturally delicate healthcare vendors, to a company that reroutes non-emergency 911 phone calls to a telehealth supplier, to a enterprise that gives virtual cardiac rehabilitation.

The Seae fund focuses on startups led by women of all ages and business owners of color, with an overarching aim of remedying health care disparities when proving that addressing a social very good can also be a good financial commitment method.

“We are actually in the organization of saving lives [and] bridging the electronic divide in between marginalized communities,” Louis reported.

A world pandemic can be a challenging time to start out just about any company. But the Seae Ventures partners reported they benefited from the newfound interest in telehealth and other electronic health providers. The reckoning following George Floyd’s murder in 2020 also created it much easier to catch the attention of investors intrigued in racial inequities.

“There’s no doubt that the social reckoning that we’ve witnessed above the very last few of yrs has elevated recognition and to some extent raised some desire in what we’re performing,” Robart reported.

For now, the five-person undertaking agency is functioning just about. The companions program to open an office environment in Boston quickly, and maybe a different one particular on the West Coastline.

They say they have discovered much more flexibility to make investment choices now that they are out on their own.

“One of the problems of remaining inside of a company undertaking team,” Robart stated, “is you have to imagine about a wide range of stakeholders and all their requirements [when] earning expense decisions.”

Jon Chesto can be attained at [email protected]. Stick to him on Twitter @jonchesto.


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