2018 was a historic year for venture capital. In the US alone, partners committed $56 billion to 256 US venture funds; over 8,300 venture-backed companies raised more than $130 billion in funding; and 864 venture-backed exits surpassed a total of $120 billion, as reported by Venture Beat.
Venture capital financing in the BioTech sector experienced similar successes, as well. As investments in the health, life sciences and biotechnology fields often centre around drug discoveries—which require a fair amount of time and funding to bring to market—the financial returns are typically lower than those from Silicon Valley tech companies hoping to create the next billion-dollar app.
Investors are increasingly displaying an interest in financing innovative technologies to address some of society’s biggest problems. Last year, over $23 billion was invested in more than 1,300 deals in life science startups, and HealthTech companies attracted a lot of angel/seed investing during the last quarter of the year. Furthermore, several venture-backed companies in the life sciences experienced successful exits. Moderna Therapeutics’ public listing was the largest ever in the BioTech sector, and seven of the 10 largest IPOs in the last quarter of 2018 were in healthcare.
At Global Shakers, we’ve curated a list of some of the world’s most prominent venture capitalists in this sector.
Jonathan Silverstein is a managing partner and co-head of global private equity at OrbiMed, as well as the co-head of global venture capital at the firm. After becoming diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he founded The Silverstein Foundation for Parkinson’s with GBA (Glucosylceramidase Beta Acid).
Bryan Roberts, partner at Venrock, is one of the most highly-respected investors in healthcare. Fortune has referred to him as “health care venture capital’s billion-dollar man,” after leading the funding rounds for several companies that are now worth billions of dollars each.
Dr. Beth Seidenberg, a physician by trade, is one of the top women in venture capital in the world. After spending 14 years at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, she founded Westlake Village BioPartners.
Robert Nelsen, the managing director and co-founder of ARCH Venture Partners, has invested in more than 20 companies that are now worth over $1 billion.