Thinking about Enterprise Software Startups

I ended up down a rabbit hole of research on Sapphire Ventures thanks to the Origins (Notation Capital) podcast on my flight home from Boston early this morning. Sapphire invests in Enterprise software companies. I got to thinking, if I were to analyze companies in that space with my Product Manager hat on, what would I look for?

These 5 areas came to mind.

1. How will the Product interoperate?

Ex: Zapier, BI fabric, Hybrid Cloud

Is the team thinking about how to move pieces of data around from their app to other apps, from their app to the Enterprise systems, between their Public Cloud and the Enterprise’s on-prem and Dedicated Clouds?

How will insights and raw data from their product be accessible to the Enterprise’s BI Fabric, Data Scientists, etc? How does that strengthen the value of the offering?

2. Where are Users interacting with the Product?

Ex: Mobile, APIs, Slackbots, Echo

Is their product enabling all types of Users to be engaged anywhere? Is extension of the product easy by a Customer Developer via APIs? Is there potential for an Ecosystem to organically grow around the product? Does it feel like a Platform? Is the pretty Mobile app for the on-the-go Sales person just as well thought out as the Developer API?

3. What are the Combinatorial Effects?

Ex: Exongenous Datasets, Data Network Effects

Is the team thinking about combining datasets together to create something new? Does the product have inherent data network efforts? As more people use this, will the value increase?

What two features used together accomlishing something really powerful?

4. What role does analytics play?

Ex: NLP, Computer Vision, Salesforce Einstein

Enterprise data is flowing through the product. How is that data being mined into features? How are signals being extracted using NLP, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, etc? Does the business analysis get smarter the more people use it? Does AI feel like a foundational part of their approach or do they think of it as gimmicky and a nice-to-have?

5. Talk about the Tech Stack

Ex: Microservices, Serverless

Is the team using technologies like AWS Lambda? Do they talk about Reference Architectures and Blueprints? Are they taking a Microservices-first approach?

A few more articles I came across while writing this post:

It’s fun to think this stuff through. I remember the days of meeting with investor after investor while in Techstars and how many of those conversations led to strategy and product improvements.

Healthcare and Life Sciences Corporate Venture Capital

Moving from a background in AI and Developer Tools to Healthcare has required a crash course in healthcare policy, finance, technology and regulations. I’ve always looked to investing trends and analysis to help me better understand a market. Looking at Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) in healthcare and life sciences is a fun exercise.

“over 48% of the top Fortune 100 companies have a corporate VC arm and these corporate VCs have participated in 24% of total deals globally for the past 4 years.” [source]

First, a few basics on Corporate Venture Capital…

Why does the Corporate Venture Group exist?

  • Generate financial returns for Limited Partners (LPs) including parent Corporation
  • Generate revenue for the Corporation
  • M&A channel
  • Licensing, Divestiture, Partnerships
  • Foster Innovation, Identify Global Market Opportunities, funding initiatives that need to exist outside parent Corporation structure

What do Corporate Venture Groups do?

  • Build a Portfolio of Investments that could range from Series A to “evergreen”
  • Build an Ecosystem of Strategic Partners
  • Generate revenue from revenue share deals and equity positions
  • Invest as a Limited Partner (LP) in other Venture firms

So, what’s going on in Healthcare and Life Sciences Corporate Venture funds?

From this CB Insights report, you can see the most active funds include Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, Lilly Ventures, Siemens Venture Capital, Pfizer Venture Investments, Novartis Venture Funds, GE Ventures and of course Google Ventures.

Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) in Healthcare

Includes Information Technology, Therapeutics, Diagnostics and Drug Delivery, Diagnostics, Behavioral Health, retail healthcare and rise of consumerism, new provider payment models, delivery of care, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Data and Analytics.

Kaiser Permanente Ventures

Siemens Venture Capital

Mitsubishi Healthcare

Vesalius Ventures (Vanguard Ventures, Fremont Ventures and Guidant Corporation)

GE Healthymagination

Merck Global Health Innovation Fund

Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Zaffre Investments (BCBS of Massachusetts)

BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners

MemorialCare Innovation Fund

McKesson Ventures

Cambia Health Solutions

Rex Strategic Innovations

Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) in Life Sciences

Includes Biotechnology, Biopharma, Medical Devices and Diagnostics, Drug Discovery, Pharmaceutical services, Pharma value chain.

Nova Novartis Venture Fund and Novo Ventures

Mitsubishi Life Science

MedImmune Ventures (AstraZeneca)

SR One (GlaxoSmithKline)

Lilly Ventures (Eli Lilly and Company)

Amgen Ventures

Roche Venture Fund

Samsung Ventures

F-Prime Capital Partners (Fidelity Biosciences)

Takeda Ventures

Baxter

Pfizer

Some additional reading:

Making Sense of Corporate Venture Capital

The 117 Most Active Corporate VC Firms Of The Last Year

Digital Health Funding: 2015 Year in Review (Rock Health)

Tencent, Google Capital Invest In Indian Healthcare Startup Practo

Medtronic, Sequoia launch $60M VC fund for Chinese med tech startups

Understanding the portfolios of these Healthcare and Life Sciences Corporate Venture Capital funds, the backgrounds of the Partners, where they are based and what companies they invest in help paint a picture for where things are going.

To learn a bit more about Healthcare technology read There’s a lot going on in Healthcare tech right now.