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HEP Strategic Investing Summit: Options, Tradeoffs, and Pitfalls to Avoid

LVCC, Lvl 3, Rm 322-324
October 10, 2023
Ezra Mehlman
Health Enterprise Partners
Jeff Stolte
Providence Ventures
Therasa Bell
Jessica Zeaske
Echo Health Ventures
Leah Sparks
Wildflower Health
Chase Tacker
Corporate Development
Dave Ross
Health Catalyst
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At the fifth annual Strategic Investing Summit, key insights were shared by panelists regarding both the growth and importance of strategic investment in the healthcare sector. The panelists highlighted the important role strategic investment plays in driving innovation in the industry, with various organizations creating funds to drive this activity. The conversation emphasized on the structural and budgeting hurdles faced by hospitals and how they are overcoming these through investing in innovation. Strategic investments are seen as potential new sources of income and means of identifying a pipeline of responsive companies. Moreover, these investments are said to allow the cultivation of an innovation-focused culture within the organization. Different investment options from direct equity investments in healthcare firms to investing in strategic healthcare funds were discussed. However, it was highlighted that these investments carry numerous risks, from the failure of one company affecting the entire group to dealing with the substantial challenges for maintaining and managing direct investments. Lastly, the importance of health system innovation funds and internal innovation centers were touched upon.

The panelists also shared personal success stories and key pieces of advice for entrepreneurs interested in raising money from strategic funds. The panelists emphasized on the need for defining clear investment goals, developing a governance and staffing plan, and determining the unique niche for the strategic fund. However, they cautioned against certain risks such as executive churn in health systems, potential conflicts, and complexities in navigating an exit process. They also discussed specific steps to be taken by those interested in health investment or entrepreneurship, such as conducting effective market analysis, assessing the suitability of investment for different types of businesses, avoiding "pilot hell", and managing the financial and strategic aspects of a venture.

The conversation ended with the panelists providing advice for prospective strategic investors and entrepreneurs, emphasising on the need for a critical understanding of investment implications, market trends, and the ability to anticipate and manage the risks involved in the strategic investment process.

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