MedCity INVEST Ask the Investor spotlight: Austin Duke of UnityPoint Health Ventures

The MedCity INVEST conference, scheduled for April 19-23, is offering new ways for healthcare startups to connect with investors at the online event. Ask the Investor sessions will provide a way for startups to get insights on investment strategy and to pose questions about funding and more.

Austin Duke, Senior Venture Associate, UnityPoint Health Ventures, is one of a handful of investors taking part in these sessions. He will be joined by Dennis Depenbusch, Director New Ventures, BCBS Kansas and president of Mid-America Healthcare Investors Network (MHIN) and Ellen Herlacher, Principal, LRVHealth.

Although registration to INVEST is free, startups will be asked to pay $99 to participate in Ask the Investor sessions.  Each virtual meeting will include one investor and last for 45 minutes. Following the investor’s presentation on their investment strategy and area of interest, startups will be asked to provide a 1-minute company overview. There will be an opportunity for Q&A. Investors will receive executive summaries for each startup with contact information.

Space is limited to 10 startups per meeting. Please register here.

UnityPoint Health Ventures is the investment arm of the health system UnityPoint Health

Austin Duke

Duke said he views the Ask the Investor segment as a great opportunity to reduce what he sees as the “information asymmetry between startups and strategic investors,” in response to emailed questions.

“While my role is as an investor, I have privileged access to the vendor decision-making process and the realities of contracting and scaling a solution within a typical health system,” Duke said. “I hope sharing those insights will be valuable for startups developing their go-to-market strategies, and can help them better pitch to strategic investors and health system customers.”

Duke noted that his firm looks for high-growth startups in large markets whose product and/or service offers value for providers and health systems.

“Startups do not need an existing customer contract with UnityPoint Health at the time of investment, but we ideally want to have line of sight to a strategic relationship. That way we can start working towards providing value as a customer and partner in addition to the initial financial investment. Additionally, I look for teams with strong founder-market fit, patient/provider empathy, and an unrelenting desire to have a scaled impact in the healthcare ecosystem.”

Photo: Getty,Yuri_Arcurs

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