Health system in Midwest launches $100 million venture fund



UnityPoint Health, based in West Des Moines, Iowa, has launched a $100 million venture fund to invest in early-stage growth companies in digital health, medical devices, and therapeutic and healthcare services.

The Unity Point Health system comprises an integrated network of more than 280 physician clinics and 32 hospitals and home care services throughout Iowa, western Illinois, and southern Wisconsin.

The new venture fund represents 5% of the UnityPoint Health system’s overall investment portfolio; the fund is intended to help drive growth in companies that will test and scale solutions for lower healthcare costs, improved quality of care, and advancement of population health initiatives.

Kent Lehr, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, and Matthew Warrens, Managing Director of Innovations lead the fund. Warrens has deep experience in healthcare innovation, having mentored startups at MATTER in Chicago, Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale, CA, and directing innovation at OSF HealthCare in Peoria, IL.

“UnityPoint Health Ventures provides a platform for our clinical and operational leaders, who are some of the most knowledgeable and innovative individuals in the industry, to lend expertise to early stage companies seeking to revolutionize care delivery and experience,” said Warrens in a press release. “By establishing this fund, we can leverage our experience, institutional expertise, and solid investment track record to dramatically accelerate the growth for our portfolio companies and boost our own access to advanced health care solutions.”

Lehr added, “This fund will help maximize the impact and value of our Innovation Center which encourages employees to identify processes within the health system that could operate better or more efficiently. Some of our investments will go to companies with products that can help us address challenges submitted by our employees. Our strategic investments will seek to provide UnityPoint Health with collaborative solutions to make the patient experience easier and more personal.”

UnityPoint Health Ventures joins a host of regional funds that have invested in early-stage healthcare startups:

Omaha, NE – Prairie Ventures

Chicago, IL – ARCH Venture Partners, Sandbox Industries

St. Louis, MO – BioGenerator, Cultivation Capital

Clayton, MO – Ascension Ventures

Rochester, MN – Mayo Clinic Ventures,

St. Paul, MN – 3M Ventures

Minneapolis, MN – Treehouse Health, Brightstone Venture Capital

Madison, WI – HealthX Ventures, Venture Investors, Venture Management, Wisconsin Investment Partners

Milwaukee, WI – Ziegler Healthcare Capital

Tulsa, OK – Oklahoma Life Science Fund

Oklahoma City, OK – Accele Biopharma

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