London and Copenhagen-based Crista Galli Ventures, an early-stage health tech venture firm, has launched. Dr. Fiona Pathiraja, a consultant radiologist is leading CGV. The firm will invest across Europe, supporting companies at seed and Series A.
LONDON: Wednesday 16th September
Today marks the launch of Crista Galli Ventures, an early-stage healthtech fund that offers patient capital and deep healthcare expertise. Crista Galli Ventures partners with early-stage founders at Seed and Series A to build world-leading companies, and has tailored its strategy to the needs of ambitious healthtech entrepreneurs, and the unique industry in which they operate.
Today, the fund also announces Crista Galli LABS, which aims to greater diversity in healthtech by backing founders from underrepresented backgrounds at an earlier, pre-seed, stage.
The fund has offices in London and Copenhagen, and will invest across Europe, supporting companies at Seed and Series A. CGV has already invested in 15 companies, including Skin Analytics, Contextflow, and Quibim.
CGV is led by Consultant Radiologist, Dr. Fiona Pathiraja, and has an advisory board of world-leading healthcare and finance experts. The fund has a single investor (Limited Partner), enabling it to be the patient and empathetic investor so needed in the healthtech sector.
CGV is premised on the belief that we are on the cusp of the healthtech wave. The sector has been steadily expanding, and has become, closely following fintech, the second fastest-growing in the UK. As it digitises, healthcare is now unlocking, making it a tremendously exciting time to be both a founder and an investor in the space.
As Founder Dr. Fiona Pathiraja explains: “In the medical industry, tech was once seen as the poor cousin of research and medical education. But that’s changing. Case-in-point, the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine both now report on digital innovations. The sector is coming to recognise the critical role that healthtech can play. Now is the perfect time to build the solutions that will shape the healthcare industry for decades to come.”
Patient capital: working better for healthtech
Founder Dr. Fiona Pathiraja continues: “Traditional VC fundraising cycles don’t typically work for healthtech startups faced with a complex and highly-regulated market. Young companies are often expected to adhere to timelines that don’t acknowledge the realities of building a company in the healthcare industry. Crista Galli Ventures provides a better solution – the ability to make agile decisions, while thinking long term.”
Venture capitalists need to return money to their investors. The ‘fund cycles’ are well established: usually VC investors can begin to realise their investments after five years, after which they can show some returns. But healthcare doesn’t always work like that. It may take longer to arrive, but success does come in the end. Healthtech investors need to be patient, and empathetic to how the industry really works on the inside.
Unlike typical VC firms, CGV’s structure lends itself to this. As a single investor fund, the firm has the opportunity to grow internally without the need to fundraise. CGV is free from the traditional five-year fund cycles and has unparalleled flexibility meaning it can focus on a longer time horizon. That means better outcomes for patients, companies and investors.
Expertise and access: healthcare and finance
CGV brings a combination of front-line experience and honed financial acumen to the table. The core competencies of the fund, its key networks and experience are in healthcare and finance. CGV’s advisory board provides access not just to capital, but to a vast pool of knowledge and healthcare settings.
Dr. Fiona Pathiraja says, “We know how healthcare works, inside and out. We understand that, in order to grow, healthtech startups need access to capital, strategic investors and advisors with healthcare experience, while being positioned within a healthtech hub.
These factors help these companies build a product that can be trialled with patients and users in real hospital settings, which is critical in healthcare. As, without this, they will have no real idea of their solution’s clinical validity and usefulness.”
Investment Focus: championing European early-stage healthtech
CGV has a pan-European network, with offices in London and Copenhagen, and has invested across seven countries to date.
The firm intends to invest early in healthcare solutions enabled by tech focusing on deep tech, digital health and personalised medicine. The fund will not invest in biotechnology or drug discovery, and will also steer away from devices, especially when they are non-software enabled.
Diversity: Crista Galli LABS
Crista Galli LABS is a separate investing strand that enables Crista Galli Ventures to invest in exceptional pre-seed startups who would typically be considered too early for its portfolio. In addition to pre-seed investment, these companies have access to mentoring and coaching from the Crista Galli Ventures team.
At least 50 percent of startups that receive Crista Galli LABS investment will be led by outstanding founders from under-represented backgrounds, helping them to go on and raise later-stage funding, redressing the diversity imbalance in later-stage healthtech.
Dr. Fiona Pathiraja comments, “As a healthtech investor, we noticed a stark lack of diversity on both sides of the investor/founder table. The overwhelming need for an elite education in deep tech (MD or PhD) means that those from more diverse backgrounds are often excluded.
Healthcare solutions need to work for patients from all walks of life, so it’s important to encourage a greater diversity of thought during the inception and funding of these products.
Representation and visibility of under-represented founders is imperative and we will back-up our commitment to creating a more inclusive healthtech industry with capital.”