Open Letter to the Silicon Valley Investment Community
Dear Silicon Valley Investment Community,
I am a physician, albeit a young one, at Stanford University Hospital and Clinics. During a recent conversation with a friend in the venture space at a prestigious firm, it came to my attention that due to opportunistic foresight many “traditional” VC firms here in the valley have started considering “healthcare” investments. I understand that this term is broad, and that certain invetors are focused initially on very specific aspects of the industry; therefore, I have kept the term in quotes.
I was quite excited when I heard this news, because 1) I love creative idea flow/venture investment and 2) since moving to Silicon Valley, I have preached the gospel that all the many brilliant developers here should give my field a try, since developing a next generation healthcare technology has got to be at least as fulfilling spiritually (and sometimes financially) as the next photo sharing application. However, I must admit that my excitement quickly faded when I asked the question to my friend “Which MDs (physicians, not managing directors) do you have in the room discussing possible deals?” The answer was…silence. While this should have been surprising, having been in the Valley for a couple of years, I regret to say that it was almost disappointingly expected.
So many companies, both on the development and investment sides of the business, do not engage MDs as part of their process. I have come to understand the “outsiders” general thought process: The system is broken, I am smart and can fix it. I cannot help but find this system flawed, and I want to help you fix it. Just as you wouldn’t finalize your diligence on a cloud based developer infrastructure without input from developers themselves or a novel payment system without a banker’s input, you can’t possibly be satisfied with your current “healthcare” deal flow process without physician input. Even if the deal is consumer-facing, we are the ones that have defined health, and will deal with the consequences. I know for a fact that many VC shops consider themselves “talent” companies, (and do you guys ever have some amazing talent!), where is the MD talent?
I want us all to win (I am committed to both the healthcare and venture ecosystems) and in the end change the system as we know it in addition to millions of lives. So in conclusion, I offer this solution: I am happy to provide physician input gratis for any “healthcare” based transactions you might be considering. Furthermore, if I know someone with potentially better insight relating to a given subject, I will put you in touch with them. I guarantee that you will find value in a physician’s perspective on “healthcare” applications, from next-generation EHRs and RESTful health APIs to wearables and concierge medicine. Who knows, maybe next year when I finish residency, you might perceive important value in my contributions worthy of a position within your firm.
Thank you for supporting innovation in all verticals ,and for choosing to consider investing in healthcare, the industry that I find to be one of most important.