Catalyst by Wellstar Launches $100 Million Venture Fund to Shape Future of Healthcare
This article was originally published on PR Newswire.
May 18, 2023 — Today, Catalyst by Wellstar, the first-of-its-kind innovation company and venture firm created by one of the largest health systems in Georgia, announced the launch of a $100 million venture fund to shape the future of healthcare by creating better care and market value. An expression of Wellstar’s mission to enhance the health and well-being of every patient it serves, the fund will directly influence the problems addressed and solutions created by the nation’s most promising startups and entrepreneurs.
Wellstar cares for 1.6 million Georgians annually and provided $1.2 billion in uncompensated and charity care last year—more than any other health system in Georgia. Catalyst by Wellstar aims to scale this impact by helping promising startups improve the health and well-being of patients in Georgia—and beyond.
“Wellstar’s long history of innovation and world-class care uniquely positions Catalyst to mentor and grow startups. In these challenging times, we need bold innovations and those closest to the patient driving the changes that will make the most difference for each patient, our communities, and the healthcare industry,” said Hank Capps, MD, president of Catalyst by Wellstar and executive vice president, chief information and digital officer at Wellstar Health System.
The fund aims to make more than 50 direct investments in early-stage startups, Pre-seed to Series A, over the next five years and invest indirectly in 150+ startups through limited partner investments with venture and growth equity funds with proven track records of success. These investments will be made in companies that align with the six focus areas of Catalyst:
- Customer experience
- Data, analytics and security
- Digital health
- Future of work
- Supply chain, logistics and mobility
Startups interested in funding or fueling their mission with Catalyst are invited to visit catalyst.wellstar.org/opportunities to learn more.
Catalyst by Wellstar’s initial four direct investments include:
Marani Health: In 2021, more than 1,200 women in the United States died from maternal health causes. Many of these deaths could be preventable with timely detection of complications and reducing unnecessary C-sections. Marani is a women’s care company focused on ensuring mothers get optimal care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from pre-natal through post-natal stages of birthing. The proprietary and FDA-approved sensors in Marani’s fetal monitoring device called the MWrap, have been shown to significantly outperform existing technology. Marani is also the only company on the market that pairs a monitoring device with a patient-facing app and integrated clinical platform.
“The U.S. has one of the highest rates of pregnancy-related deaths among developed nations, and the numbers are climbing. Investing in Marani Health has the potential to support mothers and their babies with real-time data that can be shared with physicians, helping them close the gap in maternal care, improve maternal and pregnancy outcomes and potentially save lives,” said Paula Greaves, MD, FACOG, chief of Women’s Health Service Line for Wellstar Health System.
“Despite improvements in maternal outcomes globally, maternal deaths in the U.S. continue to rise. It is critically important for us to think about innovation to drive change and deliver care in a different way to augment the care in place. We need to think differently to improve outcomes for mothers and their babies. I am thrilled Wellstar is making an investment in Marani as both our organizations are passionate about improving fetal and maternal outcomes,” said Ann Holder, founder and CEO, Marani Health.
410 Medical: When minutes count, 410 Medical’s LifeFlow rapid infuser device helps save the lives of critically ill patients suffering from life-threatening bleeding (hemorrhagic shock). Wellstar’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is among the 20 EMS and 150 hospitals nationwide that use this technology.
“Patients arrive to the hospital in conditions that place them 2-4 hours ahead in terms of a care timeline because EMS is able to administer 1-3 bags of fluid while en route,” said Matt Perry, director, Emergency Medical Services, Wellstar Health System.
“In the Emergency Department, the ICU, the Operating Room, the ambulance or anywhere it’s needed, LifeFlow was designed to help medical providers more quickly and effectively resuscitate critically ill patients. LifeFlow has been used over 20,000 times across more than 170 hospitals and EMS/Fire agencies, and we are excited to expand our partnership with Wellstar in a way that allows us to positively impact more patients in Georgia and around the U.S.,” said Kyle Chenet, founder and CEO of 410 Medical.
Vyv: The devastating effects of COVID-19 reverberate to this day. Vyv’s mission is to protect as many people and places as possible using its patented UV-free antimicrobial LED technology to provide continuous decontamination, proven to kill enveloped and highly infectious viruses, such as the class of viruses that can cause COVID-19, along with bacteria, fungi, yeast, mold, mildew, and odor. Vyv technology can be used continuously around people and offers an extra layer of protection to keep patients and staff protected. Vyv’s commercial LED fixtures are designed to fit seamlessly into many standard healthcare applications and have been shown to reduce surface contamination by 90-99.99 percent through Vyv white light illumination.
“While COVID-19 raised awareness for the severity of viral transmission, germ challenges remain ever present and persistent. Vyv’s patented antimicrobial LED products provide innovative continuous technology for healthcare facilities to address the constant battle against germs. Innovation funds tied directly to healthcare providers, such as Catalyst, are clearly ahead of the curve in investing in advancements and technology deployments which align with the best standard of care for patients and healthcare providers. We look forward to our continued work with Wellstar Health System as well as our strategic partnership for the development of new innovative and critical use cases using antimicrobial LED technology to address the most pressing germ challenges,” said Colleen Costello, Vyv co-founder and CEO.
MetaCX: Key to Catalyst’s success is the ability to effectively manage innovation initiatives and demonstrate measurable results. MetaCX is a decentralized, multi-stakeholder software platform that provides a framework for Catalyst to drive collaboration across Wellstar’s nine hospitals and five health parks to collect and understand distributed data, align stakeholders on shared strategic plans, and monitor progress toward desired outcomes. MetaCX’s scope of work with Catalyst ranges from sustainability initiatives to employee wellness to digital transformation.
“We are excited to work with Catalyst by Wellstar as both an investor disrupting how healthcare innovates and as a customer to align their stakeholders and measure value on their most-strategic initiatives,” said Scott McCorkle, MetaCX founder and CEO.
Uniquely, Catalyst believes not all healthcare problems will be solved by healthcare solutions; this means the fund will be looking across industries for breakthrough ideas that have the potential to transform healthcare. These investment efforts will complement Catalyst’s innovation company, offering startups access and mentorship to achieve an even greater impact on the healthcare industry.
Catalyst’s mission-aligned approach and partners, such as Goodie Nation, are bringing mentorship, visibility, and access to capital to underrepresented and minority founders today. Catalyst has also invested in many promising startups through its partnership with Engage VC, an innovation and venture platform whose partners include Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola, Cox Enterprises, Delta, Georgia Tech, and Invesco, among other leading organizations investing in the startup ecosystem of the Southeast. This partnership has resulted in ten pilot projects and five enterprise contracts with Wellstar, and today’s direct investment in MetaCX.