OurCrowd, the global crowdfunding venture firm, today announced its newest fund. As the organization announced at today’s Clinton Global Initiative event in New York, it is partnering with the WHO Foundation to launch its Global Health Equity Fund (GHEF), a $200 million fund that will focus on healthcare solutions that can have a global impact.
Even before the pandemic, OurCrowd had long invested in medical startups, but that only accelerated during the pandemic, and best I can tell, it has also become somewhat of a personal mission for the firm’s founder and CEO, Jon Medved. ”COVID-19 was a wake-up call for me as an investor,” said Medved. “The pandemic opened my eyes to health inequity around the world and reinforced the potential of innovative technology to save lives […] This new fund builds on that success with the explicit orientation of having impact. The collaboration with the WHO Foundation will allow us to identify even more exciting investments and facilitate the commitment of investors and entrepreneurs to equitable access to the technologies we support.”
While the fund’s focus is on healthcare, the management team is taking a wider view here that goes beyond startups in the medical field, including other areas that can also have a more indirect impact on health, such as energy and agriculture, for example.
OurCrowd is aligning its fund with the WHO Foundation’s Access Pledge. The idea here is to ensure that portfolio companies will make their solutions accessible to populations experiencing inequity. Specifically, this means any GHEF portfolio company will develop an Access Plan for their solutions and the WHO Foundation and OurCrowd will launch an advisory board to provide them with the assistance needed to do so. That’s not, after all, something that most startups are used to doing — and not necessarily something that most investment funds would want their companies to focus on. But especially in the healthcare space, this seems like the right thing to do.
“Despite clear models for successfully balancing economic return with equitable access, such as the provision of medicines for HIV and AIDS, the world failed to deliver solutions for COVID-19 to everyone, everywhere,” said WHO Foundation CEO Anil Soni. “It is imperative that we deploy solutions in response to that failure, including directing investment to innovation and aligning both to equity as a goal from the start.”
OurCrowd CEO Medved will lead the fund’s team together with OurCrowd Managing Partner Morris Laster and the firm’s team of clinical experts, with WHO Foundation’s Impact Investment Officer Geetha Tharmaratnam also providing support.
At this point, OurCrowd has invested in about 350 companies across its 39 funds for its more than 215,000 members, making it one of Israel’s most active investors. Some if its other healthcare-centric investments include Alpha Tau Medical, which focuses on treating solid malignant tumors, and BrainQ, a non-invasive technology to treat stroke and other neurological pathologies.