A brand new healthcare-focused enterprise agency, Pier 70 Ventures, is rising on Seattle’s waterfront. Its managing companions have deep experience in nurturing startups and an emphasis on funding various groups and girls entrepreneurs.
“We’re a unique form of fund and a unique form of group,” mentioned R. Miller Adams, a former Boeing exec and managing associate at Pier 70.
The agency launched in 2020 and is aiming to lift $100 million for its first fund.
“We’re going to ship monetary returns and we wish to have affect,” mentioned managing associate Shaun Hawkins, who beforehand led Eli Lilly’s enterprise capital arm. “What are the methods to cut back financial inequality gaps? One of the simplest ways to do this is thru entrepreneurship.”
The gaps are huge. Solely about 1% of startup funding went to Black founders in 2020, and U.S. firms based solely by ladies raised simply 2.4% of whole capital invested in 2021.
Pier 70 sees range as a enterprise asset. Adams factors to information displaying that non-public fairness corporations with various management on common outperform different corporations, regardless of controlling solely a tiny fraction of whole funding trade belongings.
Adams is a former vice chairman of world R&D technique at Boeing. The agency’s different managing companions are Robert (Bob) Balk, an athlete who has received medals for the U.S. on the Paralympic Video games and has an curiosity in wearable gadgets and adaptive applied sciences; and chemist Preetha Ram, founder and CEO of a social studying startup acquired by Brainly in 2016.
The group’s mixture of aerospace and bioscience expertise is a boon, mentioned Adams. At Boeing, Adams fashioned an inner enterprise incubator and launched the corporate’s first enterprise capital funding program. Balk later ran that program, constructing it right into a $250 million portfolio.
At Boeing, Adams and Balk have been immersed in distant sensing and communication expertise used to watch pilots, troopers or the house station. “There’s a pure overlap” with well being expertise equivalent to health monitoring and telehealth, mentioned Hawkins.
Pier 70’s areas of funding embody digital well being, med-tech, diagnostics and well being providers.
In Could 2021 Pier 70 launched its first fund, referred to as INpact — the place “innovation meets affect,” mentioned Hawkins. Pharma large Eli Lilly is among the many fund’s traders.
Connecting startups with the group’s broad community in healthcare and biopharma and linking them with company traders is a significant focus of the agency, mentioned Adams.
Pier 70 paired up with Johnson & Johnson’s enterprise arm to guide a $10 million Sequence B spherical in its first funding, Silicon Valley-based DocSpera, a surgical coordination platform to assist handle affected person care.
Pier 70 additionally invested in Acclinate, a Birmingham, Ala.based mostly firm that helps biopharma firms and analysis organizations enhance range in medical trials. Pier 70 is closing in on a 3rd funding, mentioned Adams.
Each Docspera and Acclinate have Black founders and various administration groups.
Such various groups should not a prerequisite or a requirement for Pier 70. “We begin with the expertise and the chance,” mentioned Hawkins. “We’re not saying sacrifice high quality. That is completely a business-driven initiative.”
However creating affect by investing in historically underrepresented entrepreneurs can be a “materials and possibly over-weighted a part of our portfolio,” mentioned Hawkins, who was a range officer at Eli Lilly earlier than heading its enterprise capital arm.
Aiming for affect
The agency invests in firms based mostly wherever within the U.S., although it has its eye on alternatives in the midst of the nation and on startups different corporations would possibly overlook. Hawkins relies in Indianapolis, and that’s “a bonus,” mentioned Adams, who was additionally beforehand an government at Integral Methods, a public satellite tv for pc firm that was acquired in 2011.
Pier 70 additionally has a presence in San Francisco and New York.
The broader financial downturn has made elevating funds difficult, mentioned Adams. However he mentioned it is usually an opportune time to put money into enterprise capital due to the reducing of firm valuations.
Finally, Pier 70 goals to put money into 16-to-22 firms on the early stage by way of Sequence B. Preliminary investments will vary from $250,000 to $2 million, with a follow-on quantity of $2 million to $5 million.