Minnesota has a long tradition of innovation and investment in the healthcare sector, especially the medical device industry. Recently, however, this investment landscape has begun to shift, with medical device entrepreneurs finding capital harder to come by, especially for early-stage opportunities, while other healthcare sectors like healthcare services, healthcare IT, and biotechnology see increased interest. Here, a panel of healthcare investors share their perspectives on these dynamics and explore what the future holds in this space.
- Kathy Tune, Thomas, McNerney & Partners – Moderator
- Kirk Nielsen, Versant Ventures
- Jodi Hubler, Lemhi Ventures
- Barbara Nelsen, Nelsen Biomedical
- Stacy Enxing Seng, Lightstone Ventures
Kathy Tune, Thomas, McNerney & Partners – Moderator
Kathy joined Thomas, McNerney & Partners in 2003 from Piper Jaffray, where she was a health care analyst focused on medical technology companies. While at Piper, Kathy covered over 20 companies in the medical device, medical supply and diagnostic areas. Her background also includes experience in new product development at Solvay, S.A. (in a division that is now part of Pfizer). Projects at Solvay included the development of vaccines for the prevention of viral infections. Kathy was also a Senior Scientist in molecular biology at the University of Minnesota, where she worked on the development of molecular biology based assays for the detection of infectious agents. Kathy is currently a board member of Galil Medical LTD, CAS Medical Systems, Inc. (CASM) and VertiFlex, Inc. Kathy serves or has served in advisory roles to portfolio companies Torax Medical, Inc. and Atritech, Inc. She is also the President of the Mid-America Health Care Investors Network (MHIN), a member of the American Heart Association’s Advancing Sciences Executive Leadership Team, and a member of the Advisory Board for the Carlson Fund Enterprises at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. Her educational background includes an M.S. degree in Microbiology from the University of Minnesota and an M.B.A. from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, where she was a Robert and Gail Buuck Scholar.
Kirk Nielsen, Versant Ventures
Kirk Nielsen is a Managing Director at Versant Ventures. Kirk joined Versant in 2006 from Medtronic, where he worked in sales & marketing in the company’s Cardiac Rhythm Management division. Previously, he spent time at Fluidigm (a Versant portfolio company) and he also served as a strategy consultant at Bain & Company, where he advised clients in healthcare, private equity, and other industries. Prior to his business career, Kirk was a professional hockey player. At Versant, Kirk has led or co-led investments in Biotie Therapies (public/acquired), Cameron Health (acquired), CardiAQ (acquired), Lutonix (acquired), NeuWave Medical (acquired), Sequent Medical (acquired), Holaira, Inari Medical, Metavention, Respicardia, Veran Medical, and Zyga Technology. Based in Minneapolis, he also leads the firm’s activities in the Midwest.
Jodi Hubler, Lemhi Ventures
Jodi Hubler’s career includes ten years of venture capital investing, executive leadership with Cargill, Alcoa, and the controlled chaos of a venture-backed start-up, Definity Health, where she served as chief people officer. She is a member of the Healthcare Executives Leadership Network.
Jodi holds M.A.I.R. and B.B.A. degrees from the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa. She has been a strategic advisor and mentor to entrepreneurs and CEOs through service on the boards of Carol Corporation, DNA Direct, DestinationRx, Liazon Corporation, OneHealth Solutions, and Shareable Ink. Jodi currently serves on the boards of Recondo Technology and RetraceHealth.
Barbara Nelson, Nelson Biomedical
Barbara Nelsen is the founder of Nelsen Biomedical, strategy consulting firm focused on the life science industry. She brings more than 20 years of experience in R&D, business, and strategic development within the Life Sciences Industry. Barbara has extensive experience in moving technology from concept to commercialization, developing business models, implementing business plans, and creating strategic partnerships and market expansion activities. Barbara has truly sat on all sides of the table. She has been an investor, (Sofia Fund) and a scientific investigator (Brandeis University, The Whitehead Institute). She has worked in the industry in both research and development (Director, Cancer Therapeutics and Diagnostics the Austin Institute Australia) and in business development (MGI Pharma). She uses her broad experience, deep expertise, and extensive networks to create success for her clients.
Barbara holds both a PhD in molecular biology and a MBA.
Stacy Enxing Seng, Lightstone Ventures
Stacy Enxing Seng is a Venture Partner and professional Independent Director serving public and private companies. An accomplished executive, Stacy has created and led businesses through inception, IPO and billion-dollar acquisition exits, built exceptional management teams, world-class company cultures, innovative technology portfolios and demonstrated clinical outcomes. She has been recognized in the Top 100 Women in Business and is a frequent speaker on healthcare, innovation, leadership and corporate culture.
Stacy currently is a Venture Partner with Lightstone Ventures and professional Independent Director for Sonova Holding AG, Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc., Spirox Inc. and Solace Therapeutics. Stacy’s earlier career included co-founder ev3 and President ev3 PV, President Covidien Vascular, and sales and marketing roles with Boston Scientific, SCIMED, Baxter and American Hospital Supply.
Stacy holds an MBA from Harvard University and a BA from Michigan State University.