OSF Ventures, the corporate investment arm of OSF HealthCare, has launched a second venture capital fund of $75 million to continue its strategy of supporting new technology, devices and services that offer improved and more cost efficient health care.
Three and a half years following its first investment, OSF Ventures has directly invested in 15 companies and is preparing to close on investment in another. Additionally, investments in two venture capital funds – Ascension Ventures and LRV Health – round out the initial OSF Ventures portfolio.
“Our venture program is strategically focused. We are only investing in technologies that improve patient care and outcomes, or reduce costs to our health care system,” said Stan Lynall, vice president of Venture Investments for OSF Ventures. The approach includes looking for opportunities to collaborate with start-ups for deployment of their technology at OSF HealthCare.
“The Ventures team brings an understanding of the changing landscape, and introductions to emerging technologies as we ramp up our work in areas such as digital transformation, the deployment of advanced analytics and adoption of precision medicine platforms,” said Michelle Conger, Chief Strategy Officer and CEO St. Gabriel Digital Health, OSF HealthCare.
One example of a strategic investment includes Regroup, a Chicago-based start-up that provides telemedicine solutions to eradicate mental healthcare shortages across the country. A pilot program using the platform was launched at OSF HealthCare Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa, Illinois, in the fall of 2017. It allowed most patients in need of mental health care to be seen within two weeks, and 93.5 percent of patients reported they felt seen and heard by their provider during the live video appointment. Regroup is now being rolled out to other communities through primary care providers.
Lynall and his four-person team have been busy since OSF HealthCare launched its first $75-million dollar venture fund in 2016 as part of its overall innovation strategy. The small group has vetted more than 700 medical startup companies at early or mid-stage development. The team includes members with business, clinical and strong analytical skills as well as venture experience.
As the OSF Ventures brand has grown across the country, an ever-increasing list of startups seek OSF investment because of the access to clinical expertise and ability to test effectiveness and usability in a health care setting. As Lynall points out, entrepreneurs appreciate having early adopters of their technology.