This Des Moines venture fund is investing in early-stage healthcare companies

For the past two years, UnityPoint Health Venturesthe venture capital arm of UnityPoint Health—has been investing in early-stage health care companies.

Founded in May 2019 with an initial $100 million fund, the Des Moines-based venture firm makes direct investments in healthcare companies and helps them scale and deploy their technologies across UnityPoint Health hospitals and clinics.

To date, the fund has invested in 12 companies. The fund is about its halfway point and will likely invest in 24 to 26 companies total, says Matthew Warrens, Managing Director of Innovation at Unity Point Health. Of the firm’s first $100 million fund, $60 million will be used for first check money and $40 million will be used for follow-on investing.

“For us, it’s the strategic fit that determines more than anything,” said Warrens. “So you will see us invest from as early as seed round to as late as a B or C round. Because there might be a more strategic value than what the potential financial value could be.”

The fund has invested in one Iowa-based company, VIDA Diagnostics, a company that has developed LungPrint, an AI-powered suite of products and services used to uniquely profile and manage those with, or at-risk of, lung diseases.

“That [VIDA] has been a really good investment for us. We have that deployed an almost all of our major markets and it’s been really well adopted and scaled well,” said Warrens.

“It’s really more important to us to get returns on the strategic side. So, if we invest a million dollars and double our money to $2 million, that’s great. But if we deployed whatever that product or service was, and we’ve decreased the total cost of care by $10 million a year for the next five years, that’s what we’re really trying to do,” said Warrens.

In addition to direct investing, UnityPoint Health Ventures also provides dedicated resources to accelerate portfolio company traction within UnityPoint Health and beyond.

“I think that’s a big differentiator for us, that we have a dedicated team that partners with our clinical champions and our clinical leaders across the organization to test and scale these solutions,” said Matthews. “And in addition to that, we take an active role in governance, with the companies that we invest in, help them with their go-to-market strategy and their sales strategy.”

Previous Coverage

Vida Diagnostics receives $1 million investment from UnityPoint Health Ventures -July 25, 2019

UnityPoint Health launches $100 million venture fund -May 23, 2019