New Approaches to Venture Capital Offer Promise for Entrepreneurs and Early Investors
New Approaches to Venture Capital Offer Promise for Entrepreneurs and Early Investors | Nashville Health Care Council, Nashville Capital Network, venture capital, early-stage healthcare investment, Hal Andrews, Caroline Young, Harry Jacobson, TNInvestco

Panelists discuss access to capital for healthcare entrepreneurs and early-stage investors.

At last month's Nashville Health Care Council and Nashville Capital Network (NCN) annual panel discussion on early-stage healthcare investing, speakers expressed optimism about increased access to capital for entrepreneurs and early-stage investors, due in part to new and enhanced corporate and government programs.

More than 200 attendees representing start-up and leading healthcare companies attended the luncheon, Innovative Approaches to Health Care Venture Capital. The session provided attendees with key best practices and recommendations for early-stage venture capital investors and the entrepreneurs who approach them for capital.

Panel members included Hal Andrews, director, The Martin Companies; Jennifer Friel Goldstein, director, Venture Capital, Pfizer Venture Investments; Grant Jackson, general partner, Council Ventures; and Harry Jacobson, MD, co-founder, TriStar Technology Ventures and vice chancellor emeritus of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Nancy Falls, managing partner at Tatum, moderated the discussion.

"It comes down to management," Andrews said. All panelists agreed, mentioning management teams as one of the most important factors when investing in early-stage companies. Panelists also said that, even in challenging capital markets, promising ventures would still catch the eye of investors. "Good deals are getting funded," Jackson said. However, he went on to say "extensive diligence and emphasis on relationships" is more commonplace in today's market.

Collaborations between groups of investors are also becoming more important, Goldstein said. "There is more attention now being placed on who other members of a venture syndicate are and whether they'll be here for future rounds. We want to ensure there is sufficient funding for our companies today and for whatever lies ahead."

TNInvestco funding, expanded this year by the Tennessee General Assembly, was noted as a potential driver to grow the funding pool for early-stage investments. Although TNInvestco funding is specific to early-stage investments based only in Tennessee, Jacobson said that it has created an incentive for early-stage ventures in healthcare technology development to relocate to Tennessee and seek funding.

"Fostering a culture of innovation is a hallmark of Nashville's healthcare industry and the Health Care Council," said Council President Caroline Young. "Providing entrepreneurs and investors with the tools they need to grow ideas into successful businesses is critical to ensuring the vitality of Nashville's healthcare industry cluster."