Setting out to change the early stage funding scene, local rising star Sky Ventures Group has shown that expensive Kendall Square or Innovation District real estate aren’t needed to be taken seriously by the investment community. Headquartered in Natick, Mass., the company, which provides seed funding to early-stage life science and healthcare companies, hosts invite-only investment forums in Boston regularly attended by some of the most respected and high-profile investors in the area.
“As corporations seek to aggressively engage with startups through partnerships, investments, and acquisitions, it is often difficult for them to distinguish genuine value in a chaotic market,” says Sky Ventures Managing Partner Eyal Geffen. Geffen, who has held a variety of business leadership positions in the life sciences and healthcare industries, in startups and established corporations alike, is a major part of the reason Sky Ventures has become so integrated in the Boston ecosystem so fast.
“Our goal is to use the forums to bring both capital and strategic added value to the early stage funding by connecting the most influential individual and corporate investors with exceedingly qualified startups across the life science and healthcare spectrum.”
The attendants list Geffen and his team at Sky Ventures Group assemble at the forums can only be called unprecedented in comparison to that at other similar events. At one of their meetings on June 12, to which MedTech Boston gained exclusive access on condition of not revealing the startups partnering with Sky Ventures, leading Boston venture capitalists, angel investors and senior executives at the following companies were present: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Pfizer, Merck, Samsung, Stryker, Smith & Nephew, 3M, Takeda, MassMutual Ventures, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Recognizing that investors are rapidly expanding their involvement with early-stage life sciences and healthcare startups, Sky Ventures’ member forums present top-tier investors with rigorously vetted startup investment opportunities. The Sky Ventures Group’s Membership Committee, consisting of private and institutional investors and corporations with significant expertise in life science and healthcare, uses a multi-step process to screen and evaluate potential investment opportunities and startups, bringing structure, insight and strategic added value to the matching process. Selected startups gain access to accredited individual and institutional investors who provide both capital and strategic added value, thereby helping them quickly transform innovation into genuine business success.
With the life sciences and healthcare sector entering a new era of innovation and competitive challenges, dramatic changes are occurring around early-stage funding. In particular, angel investors are playing a bigger and better-organized role, and corporate venture capital and large corporations are expanding their startup presence in an effort to close innovation gaps, and reshape how value is created.
As Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center President and CEO Kevin Tabb, MD said at a recent Sky Ventures Group member forum, “Change is not coming; change is here. Any industry changing this rapidly is incredibly challenging but also presents great opportunities.”
Robert Schultz has an MBA in Information Systems from University of Massachusetts-Boston and a BS in International Business from Northeastern University, where he served as Business Manager for the university’s largest student publication, The Northeastern News. Schultz is an experienced healthcare technology startup enthusiast who was involved with the patient monitoring company Aware Engineering through the MassBio MassCONNECT program.
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