How do you set up a new venture capital fund to invest in digital health and medical equipment in these times? It can be done, if you are connected to a source of finance that is independent of market conditions on one side, and to collaboration that ensures deal flow on the other. Shoni Health Ventures, unveiled here for the first time, is blessed with both.
The fund was founded by two people: gynecologist and oncologist Dr. Ran Goshen, who founded personalized oncology advocacy company N1X10, and led life sciences investment at Israel Seed Partners, together with entrepreneur and social activist Sara Greenberg, who was adviser on Diaspora relations to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his English speechwriter. Among other things, Greenberg is chairperson of the impact investment arm of the Seed the Dream Foundation, in which role she promotes social mobility and equality for women.
Shoni Health Ventures will be run by Eran Lerer, who until recently was investment manager at the aMoon healthtech fund, and who formerly filled a variety of roles at international medical equipment company Abbott.
The fund has a single investor, an American who does not wish to be named and who, according to Lerer, is not known to the Israeli market. Until now, the anonymous investor has been active in philanthropy in connection with education and Judaism. He initially allocated to the fund enough money for about twenty pre-seed and seed investments (that is, a sum in the tens of millions of dollars), but Lerer says that "the same source can also participate in follow-on investments, and thus de facto expand the size of the fund."
On the deal flow side, Shoni has linked up with the Sheba Medical Center as part of the ARC center. It will have access to startups founded within the ARC framework and to those that collaborate with the center. In addition, startups in Shoni’s portfolio, whether or not they originated in ARC, will have access to Sheba’s medical data and will be able to consult the hospital’s doctors. The companies will also be able to benefit from ARC’s international connections, among them its link-up with consultancy Deloitte, which, together with Sheba, is setting up innovation centers on the ARC model around the world, and from those centers themselves when they are set up.
So far, the fund has invested in five healthtech startups: Append, Quant Health, AISAP, CoPilotMD, and FeelBetter. Two of the companies came via Sheba, and Lerer himself is based on the ARC campus.
"Quant is a company that takes big data from many sources and leverages it to improve clinical research. The data are used for simulations to predict whether the clinical research will succeed and how it can be sharpened in order to succeed," explains Lerer.
AISAP supports the performance and interpretation of ultrasound examinations in the field and in remote clinics. FeelBetter identifies patients in the community who are about to deteriorate and whose health can be improved by changing drug treatment alone. Append is a developer of medical equipment that treats cases of blood clots in the left atrial appendage in the heart. CoPilotMD has not yet been unveiled, but Lerer discloses that it was founded by one of the founders of AIDOC.
There is already one fund that collaborates with Sheba, namely Triventures, which also specializes in digital health and medical equipment. What is your relationship with them?
Lerer: "Triventures invests one stage after us. We are the ones who unearth the diamonds that no-one else spotted."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 26, 2023.
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