Jumpstart Nova becomes the first venture fund to invest solely in Black healthcare companies
The newest venture fund on the block that’s ready to invest is Jumpstart Nova. However, this fund is entirely unique from those that have come before it.
Launched in January 2022, Jumpstart Nova became the first venture fund to invest exclusively in Black-founded and Black-led healthcare companies in the United States.
Specifically, the $55 million fund is looking to invest in Black seed and Series A healthcare firms spanning health information technology, digital health, tech-enabled services, diagnostic devices, biotech, medical device manufacturing and consumer health and wellness.
“In 2020, two issues captured America’s attention: healthcare and racial equity,” Marcus Whitney, founder and managing partner of Jumpstart Nova said. “The creation of Jumpstart Nova provided investors and organizations an opportunity to both do good and do well by ensuring capital made its way to deserving Black-founded and Black-led healthcare companies.”
Jumpstart Nova is the latest in a group of funds managed by Tennessee-based Jumpstart Health Investors (JHI), which Whitney co-founded with healthcare and technology investor Vic Gatto in 2015.
Some of the major healthcare partners and investors backing the fund include Eli Lilly and Company, Cardinal Health, HCA Healthcare, Atrium Health, Henry Ford Health System, LHC Group, Meharry Medical College and American Hospital Association. The fund also partnered with Bank of America, Pinnacle Financial Partners, FirstBank, Ingram Industries, Truxton Trust and Vanderbilt University.
Whitney was inspired to launch Jumpstart Nova because of his long-standing commitment to supporting innovators who are historically under-funded, under-resourced and unknown.
Currently, Jumpstart Nova’s portfolio companies include Drugviu, a virtual platform assisting individuals with autoimmune diseases; Cellevolve, commercialization biotech focused on transforming cell therapy innovations into treatments; Alerje, a Detroit-based food allergy management innovation startup; and Teamwork Healthcare, which provides affordable, tech-forward, appropriately-staffed and community-based Applied Behavior Analysis services to children with autism.
“When we raised the fund, the number one question we got asked was ‘is there enough Black-founded and -led healthcare companies out there for a fund?’” Whitney said. “We exist to ensure that question doesn’t get asked in the future.”