Optum’s new $250M fund to invest in digital health startups

Optum Ventures

Optum, which is the health services business of UnitedHealth Group, announced the creation of Optum Ventures, a $250 million venture fund focused on investing in startup and early-stage companies whose innovations will help advance the healthcare system.

Optum Ventures is looking for digital health companies that use data and insights to help improve consumers’ access to healthcare services and how care is delivered and paid for, and that make the healthcare system more reliable and easier to navigate.

In addition to capital, Optum Ventures also promises strategic guidance to support development and growth from a vast network of experts and relationships. This in turn will help the companies bring solutions to market more quickly and scale faster, helping build a healthcare system that is more transparent, personalized, precise and consumer-focused.

“Optum Ventures is uniquely positioned to help develop and grow startups and early-stage companies through capital investment, Optum’s decades of experience in healthcare, and our access to the healthcare marketplace,” Larry Renfro, CEO of Optum and Managing Partner of Optum Ventures, said in a statement. “Optum Ventures will be the partner of choice for companies developing innovations that help make healthcare work better for everyone.”

The initial investments of Optum Ventures include:

  • Apervita, which cloud-based platform reduces the time it takes to build and deploy analytic applications that enable healthcare professionals to deliver better care, and enterprises to gain stronger insights.
  • Buoy Health, which has developed an AI-powered digital health assistant to help patients better understand their symptoms and get advice on where to go and what to do next.
  • Mindstrong Health, whose technology uses machine learning and AI to assess a patient’s smartphone interactions to help diagnose and treat neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • SHYFT Analytics, which provides a cloud-based data and analytics platform for life sciences companies, enabling them to reduce cost and risk while increasing clinical and commercial performance, with a focus on oncology, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other specialty and rare disorders.

Optum Ventures is funded by Optum and will operate independently under the leadership of its Partners, A.G. Breitenstein and Virginia McFerran. The fund will have offices in Boston, Massachusetts and Menlo Park, California.