Zeal Capital adds NEA healthcare specialist as it raises Fund II

Zeal Capital Partners, which is in the market raising its second fund, has hired Emily Zhen as a principal to spearhead a new health equity investing mandate.

Zeal Capital Partners, which is in the market targeting $120 million for its second fund, has hired Emily Zhen as a principal to lead its new health equity investing mandate.

Photo of Emily Zhen, principal, Zeal Capital Partners.
Emily Zhen, Zeal Capital Partners

Zhen was previously a healthcare investor at New Enterprise Associates, and before that she was a member of the healthcare investment banking team at Goldman Sachs.

At NEA, Zhen “focused on making early stage to growth investments in healthcare services and IT, biopharma and medical devices companies,” according to her LinkedIn profile. Her investments included Curana Health, Vori Health, Spiras Health, Geron Pharmaceuticals, VistaGen Therapeutics, Slope.io and Waymark Health, the profile states.

“Zeal Capital Partners continues to pursue our North Star of narrowing the wealth and skills gaps, especially for disadvantaged communities,” firm founder and managing partner Nasir Qadree said in a statement. “We recognize that better health outcomes are critical to ensuring that all individuals can equitably participate in the economy. We are motivated by the entrepreneurial opportunity to disrupt systems and remediate the systemic disparities in healthcare.”

Based in Washington, DC, Zeal Capital Partners was founded in 2020. It raised $62.1 million for its debut fund in July 2021 from non-profit Gary Community Ventures, the Skoll Foundation, the Southern New Hampshire University endowment and Truist Financial Corporation, among others, according to Venture Capital Journal research.

Zeal filed a document with the SEC in May, stating that it is targeting $120 million for its second fund.

Zeal Capital Partners said it invests in “high-growth, early-stage, tech-enabled companies led by diverse management teams that are rethinking the building blocks of wealth.” It is especially interested in “education to employment pathways, financial wellness and health equity.”

The firm has 17 companies in its portfolio, including EQL Finance, which provides small-dollar, interest-free loans to help people improve their credit; Humanly, which uses AI to help large companies improve their hiring; and Hound, which makes software to recruit and retain employees in veterinary medicine.