Crista Galli Ventures: 2021 roundup

Over the past two years, the world has placed a huge focus on public health, with global experts working relentlessly to tackle the immense challenges posed by Covid-19. In that time, Crista Galli Ventures witnessed a significant uptick of interest in the sector. The pandemic has brought sweeping changes to the way the world thinks about health and technology. We invest at the nexus of both – healthtech, focusing in 3 key areas: deep tech, digital health and personalised medicine.

In 2021, we have been invited to share our knowledge, insights and analysis with numerous publications, looking to shed light on healthtech and where it could lead in the near future.

CGV in the Media

In February, CGV founder and Managing Partner, Dr Fiona Pathiraja was invited to share her ‘Healthtech Trend Predictions for 2021‘ with Sifted, the FT-backed publication that provides in-depth reporting on start-ups across Europe.

Covering telemedicine, mental health, deep tech and AI, and occupational health, Dr Fiona shared learnings from the work of several portfolio companies, alongside two of her contemporaries at similar funds.

She shared her insights about what the pandemic has built in the world of medicine, and where it could go next:

‘This is the time for deep tech to really come to the fore because there’s a lot of science that is needed in the pandemic. We’ve created vaccines in a short period of time but artificial intelligence and machine learning can do a lot around supply chains for vaccines, PPE and drugs’

Maddyness, a go-to magazine for entrepreneurs and innovators, ran a profile on Crista Galli Ventures in March. The piece explained a bit about the fund, the types of companies we look to invest in and Dr Fiona even shared some advice for early-stage founders.

In March, Dr Fiona Pathiraja was featured in a Business Insider article that celebrated International Women’s Day, listing their tope female VC’s investing right now.

‘My time in the NHS made me realize that real innovation and change in healthcare often originates outside the system. Wanting to be part of this change, I stepped outside medicine and into VC.’

‘If you can’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect others to’

On the subject of diversity and inclusion in venture capital investing, she said: ‘I’m pleased that the conversation regarding diversity in venture is happening – but there is still a long way to go. Investors should start to address diversity by first looking at their own teams, their own portfolios and their own unconscious biases’

Sifted asked for Dr Fiona’s insight once more in August, to find out the top trends in the FemTech and Women’s Health Space. Her top picks were Wild.Al, with their fitness app to support active women to train, fuel and recover; Troglo (now rebranded as LVNDR) whose sexual health app serves the LBGTQIA+ community, those who have often been overlooked by traditional healthcare; and Oviavo, the fertility benefits platform that makes parenthood accessible to a greater number of people.

Søren, partner at Crista Galli Ventures, spoke to Sifted in October about democratising clinical information for patients to improve patient outcomes. He spoke about how in the future, healthtech could support patients by giving them more accessible information about their health:

‘Instead of patients Googling complex results they received (but didn’t fully understand) in their clinic appointment, future healthcare systems could provide clinical documents written for both doctors and patients. These patient-centric reports could be distributed electronically to a patient’s phone via a secure portal?’

By November, Dr Fiona was featured by Business Insider once more, in an article about top areas to watch in healthtech.

‘Personalisation of health isn’t only about the genome — it is also about services tailored to an individual’s needs.’

Fiona told them:

‘Startups providing online care are starting to specialize. Examples include Fella, a Y Combinator-backed telehealth service for men with obesity; LVNDR online sexual-health services for the LGBTQ+ community; and Keleya, an online platform matching pregnant women to midwives in Germany for telemidwife appointments?’ Finally, Dr Fiona spoke to Forbes, in a feature on CGV and our thesis on backing under-represented founders via Crista Galli LABS. She explained how the balance in representation needs to start from the top, to be able to create companies that truly serve the intended client:

‘She sees a need for greater investor diversity – or to put it another way, investment panels that look a little bit more like founders who are pitching to them. That means more women, more people (and women) of colour and also people from an LBGT background. Without a better balance between the profile of investors and those of founders, some businesses are likely to be underserved.’

Charco raised a $10m seed round (the largest healthtech seed round in Europe).

CGV Portfolio Companies in the Media

A number of CGV portfolio companies appeared in the media in 2021, whether sharing their successes, specialised insight, or news of a fundraise.

This September, one of our portfolio companies that is paving the way in the rapidly evolving deep tech radiology space, US-based Subtle Medical, appeared on US television. After recently signing high profile international partnerships with both Siemens Healthineers and Bayer pharmaceuticals, they were featured on NBC. The segment shared their groundbreaking imaging technology that secures more accurate diagnoses and reduces stress on patients.

“It’s a win for patients, it’s a win for radiologists

In the same month, Austria based deeptech radiology start-up, contextflow announced their successful Series A funding round of €6.7m, appearing in publications including leading tech publication, Silicon Canals.

Also in September, FemTech Insider published news of the German midwife and maternity platform, Keleya’s successful fundraise of €3m to develop their app.

In October, Pear Bio – the British computational biology in cancer technology company appeared in EU Startups, after it was accepted to SoftBank’s Emerge accelerator programme.

Then in November, British medical technology company Charco Neurotech – which focuses on neuromodulation for Parkinson’s disease – announced a $10m seed round in The Times.

The company comprises graduates from Imperial College London, who will use the fund to bring to market their wearable technology which alleviates the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The news caught the attention of The Times, presumably because it was the largest healthtech seed round in Europe of 2021!

CGV on Podcasts

We’ve been invited to speak on a number of podcasts in 2021, sharing our expertise and knowledge with the HealthTech community.

In January, CGV were invited to speak on the podcast, Big Picture Medicine. Dr Fiona Pathiraja spoke to Dr Mustafa Sultan about how she discovered that by leaving medicine and entering VC, she was able to have more of an impact on a great number of patients.

“In VC you are helping to actively shape the future. By investing, and meeting these amazing entrepreneurs, helping them along on their journey, and I thought that was the most exciting thing.”

Then in February, Dr Fiona was invited to speak on the Faces of Digital Health podcast, this time on her thoughts about diversity in VC. She spoke about how entering the homogenous (largely white, male) world of VC, came in stark contrast to her experience of working in the NHS, which is incredibly diverse. She explained the impact of this, according to data from the British Business Bank:

“Less than one penny in every pound invested goes to all-female founding teams.”

In April, Dr Fiona appeared on the Scrubbed In podcast, a medical podcast that focuses on a medical professional’s personal experience. Dr Fiona shared her experience of how the crossover of her networks – in both business and medicine – have produced successes.

“The network effects are important everywhere, not just in the start-up land…most of the incredible learning that happens, happens at where two sectors interact.”

In June Dr Fiona Pathiraja spoke to Andrii Degeler for the TechEU podcast, discussing the fund and her unique position as a doctor and investor. She explained what she looks for in a healthtech founder:

“The best founders, I’ve found, are the ones who really understand the patient and doctor pathways and then have found a technology that’s solving a real problem.”

We are

We're at the start of an exciting new chapter to shape the future of healthcare in new ways. Come back soon to visit our new website for details, or visit our current website in the meantime.

We are evolving, new site coming soon...