As­cen­sion Ven­tures putting its money to work

Modern Healthcare - - News - — Tara Ban­now

As­cen­sion Ven­tures is in full-on in­vest­ment mode, hav­ing al­ready made six in­vest­ments in about five quar­ters from its fourth fund.

Matt Her­mann, se­nior man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the ven­ture cap­i­tal arm of As­cen­sion, said he ex­pects to in­vest in around 20 com­pa­nies over­all from the fourth fund, which closed fundrais­ing at $255 mil­lion in the fourth quar­ter of 2016. As­cen­sion Ven­tures in­vests in health­care ser­vices, health­care in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy and med­i­cal de­vices.

Al­though Her­mann did not dis­close the amounts of the six in­vest­ments, he said the de­ci­sions are a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort be­tween As­cen­sion Ven­tures and its 13 health sys­tem part­ners, in­clud­ing As­cen­sion, who to­gether as­sess in­vest­ments in po­ten­tial startup ven­tures. Those sys­tems are: Ad­ven­tist Health Sys­tem, Carle, Catholic Health Ini­tia­tives, Cen­traCare Health, Chil­dren’s Health, Dig­nity Health, Inova, In­ter­moun­tain Health­care, Mercy, No­vant Health, Ohio Health and OSF Health­Care. “We want to make sure we’re de­vel­op­ing com­pa­nies that across the spec­trum can help our health sys­tem part­ners,” he said. “We want as wide a lens as pos­si­ble.”

As­cen­sion Ven­tures has in­vested in 62 com­pa­nies dur­ing its nearly 17-year his­tory, 24 of which are ac­tive to­day, Her­mann said.

“I’m very proud of our per­for­mance on the dis­tri­bu­tion side,” he said.

Her­mann said he sees “tremen­dous op­por­tu­ni­ties” in us­ing IT in­no­va­tions to cut costs. The num­ber of com­pa­nies in­vest­ing in dig­i­tal health star­tups is in­creas­ing dra­mat­i­cally and, as a re­sult, the value of the com­pa­nies they’re pour­ing money into has also gone up, he said.

“As you know, with re­spect to our model, fi­nan­cial re­turn mat­ters,” Her­mann said. “When val­u­a­tions get one, two, three years ahead of where the busi­ness is, it makes it re­ally hard to pro­duce ap­pro­pri­ate riskad­justed re­turns.”

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