Tell us a bit about your background.
First, I have to start by saying how appreciative I am because I’ve always had exceptional people supporting me and advising me in my career path. I would say that what I am doing now is an amalgam of all the pieces of the mosaic of my life journey which has been dedicated to improving the healthcare system and advancing the development of innovation and technology in healthcare. I am currently the Managing Partner and CIO of Endeavor Life Sciences Venture Funds and Venture Studio, Senior Executive Investor-in-Residence and Lead Mentor for Techstars and a member of the Selection Committee of Techstars NY Powered by J.P. Morgan.
I’m proud to say that over the past 23 years I founded and exited 6 startups, raised over $1B lead Endeavor Funds to 140 investments, and have been honored by Standard and Poor’s as a designated Top 100 “Healthcare Industry Leader”, recognized by Linkedin as a “Top Voice in Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship”, and have served as Senior Strategic Advisor for Fortune 500 Companies including McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital, BlackRock, Tiger Global, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, and Novartis.
I trained at Harvard and Columbia as a neuroscientist, oncologist, immunologist, and have been fortunate to be a Lecturer and Professor at Harvard, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Oxford, and Columbia Universities, Chief Innovation and Investment Officer at McGill, an FDA attorney focused on clinical trial and drug approvals, and contributing author of healthcare entrepreneurship and venture capital at Fast Company.
This journey has developed Endeavor into a thriving ecosystem of partnerships with Venture Capital and Angel Investors, BioPharma, Digital Health, and Big Tech companies, world class CEO entrepreneurs, start-up accelerators, and prominent Ivy League universities, medical centers, and business schools like Harvard, Columbia, MIT, NYU, McGill and Johns Hopkins.
With your impressive background as an investor, venture capitalist, and founder, you’ve successfully raised over $1 billion and played a pivotal role in several IPOs. How will your experience in navigating the intricate dynamics of the startup ecosystem, particularly in the healthcare and biotech sectors, support Pepper Bio’s growth and innovation strategies?
I believe passionately that technology and outstanding entrepreneurs with great scientific innovations can play a role in improving health outcomes and providing a real long term pathway for all people to live a healthier life, every day. Endeavor is driven by our core principles to bring together exceptionally talented entrepreneurs, financial, strategic and operational resources, and real-life proven expertise in an ecosystem where we can do the greatest good to improve access and delivery of healthcare.
But for great technology and innovation to have real world impact and a long term sustainable strategy that works, founder scientists, engineers and physician innovators must also possess a strong entrepreneurial and leadership skills, develop strong strategic partnerships, alongside an unrelenting determination and resilience to overcome challenges they will face along the path to commercializing their technologies.
I believe that Samantha and Jon are great entrepreneurs. And guiding them through difficult economic conditions, opening strategic partnerships with leading tech, biotech, pharmaceutical and drug discovery companies, and driving awareness of investors of the unique opportunity found in PepperBio will be at the center of the strategic advising I’ll be doing for the company.
Partnering with the right partners is critical in this environment. Knowing what industry wants, who the decision makers are, and how to bring the innovations and technologies that PepperBio have developed to these partners creates revenue generating opportunities and commercial validation. This process de-risks investments and is something that institutional venture capital is looking for. It’s difficult for entrepreneurs to have these deep networks and connections. My role is to bring the Endeavor ecosystem to PepperBio with riffle shot introductions to address known industry problems.
What drew you to Pepper Bio?
Jon and Samantha are gifted leaders and entrepreneurs. I first met them in a demo day at Microsoft where they were part of a tremendously talented group of emerging companies that were part of the Merck Digital Sciences Studio. Even in this strong group Jon and Samantha stood out. They possess the key ingredients for success:
- Strong team focus and collaborative mindset
- Resilience and dedication
- Tremendous work ethic
- Ability to listen, pivot, and make quick decisions as a team
- Deep subject matter expertise and real world experience
- Confidence and awareness of the market and investor needs
At Endeavor I look for four elements for an investment:
- Strong leaders with a team that can execute their vision
- A technology in a high demand corridor within industry
- A sector that has high levels of money flow and liquidity
- Strategic partners who show strong interest in the technology and company
PepperBio has all of these features which allows me to come in to help the company grow, scale and commercialize.