McKinsey alum taps booming market for healthcare funds

New York-based Black Opal Ventures, founded by Tara Bishop, is in market with a debut fund targeting $120m.

A former medical director for McKinsey & Company has entered the hot market for healthcare funds.

Tara Bishop, founder of New York-based Black Opal Ventures, is targeting $120 million for her debut fund, according to a regulatory filing. The fund has not held a first close, but a source familiar with the effort says Black Opal has about $30 million in commitments from a large pharma company and friends and family.

FocusPoint Private Capital Group is helping to raise the fund, according to the source.

Bishop declined to comment.

In addition to Bishop, the team includes venture partner Heather Eve Castel. Among the firm’s advisors is Eileen Tanghal, an investment partner with In-Q-Tel who connected Bishop with her cornerstone investor, a second source said. Tanghal and Bishop are both named in Black Opal’s corporate registration with the state of New York.

Bishop served as medical director and senior expert for McKinsey & Co from May 2016 to April 2018, where she was “responsible for providing clinical oversight to all of McKinsey’s healthcare analytics consulting projects,” according to her LinkedIn profile.

After McKinsey, Bishop served as chief medical officer of health insurance company Bind from April 2018 to July 2021, according to LinkedIn. The New York-based company has raised $177.5 million over three rounds from Ascension Ventures, Lemhi Ventures and UnitedHealth Group, according to PitchBook. Most recently, Bind raised $105 million in a Series B with a post-money valuation of $1.05 billion in October 2020, PitchBook reported.

“As chief medical officer, I had the opportunity to lead all clinical operations, be accountable for the cost and quality of our Bind member population, and roll up my sleeves to build one of the fastest growing health insurance companies from the ground up,” Bishop wrote on LinkedIn.

Black Opal takes its name from the gemstone, which the firm describes as “one of the most precious gems found in nature [whose] rare value is everlasting.”

“At Black Opal Ventures, we bring rare, everlasting value to entrepreneurs,” the firm states on its website. “Our deep background of expertise, unique perspectives, and radiant positivity enables a diverse spectrum of tomorrow’s doers, thinkers, and changers.”

Strong LP demand

Black Opal is in market at a time when LPs are showing strong interest in healthcare funds. Some 232 venture funds with a preference for healthcare deals closed on $47.1 billion in 2021, up from 235 funds that raised $36.8 billion in 2020, according to PitchBook. Notably, the median size of healthcare-focused funds has grown every year since 2018, hitting a high of $115 million last year, up from $90.4 million in 2020, PitchBook reported.

The overall venture industry is in the midst of its strongest fundraising market ever. VC funds worldwide raised a record $131.3 billion in 2021, a 46 percent jump from the $89.9 billion they collected the previous year, according to exclusive research by Venture Capital Journal.

It should come as no surprise that the largest fundraiser in 2021 was healthcare investor Flagship Pioneering, which raked in $3.4 billion for its Fund VII.