Kaiser Permanente Gets the Venture Bug
This article was originally published in Start Up
The Permanente Co. and its hospital and health plan affiliate, the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan have set up separate venture groups, charged with fostering commercial development of innovative ideas that exploit Kaiser Permanente's strengths, and hoping in the process to provide clinical and financial benefits to Kaiser and health plan members.
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Several forces--rapid technological obsolescence, the impact of information technology on health care, merger integrations, and the need for double digit revenue growth--have caused increasing numbers of large pharmaceutical and medical device companies to create new corporate venture capital groups. But compared to traditional VC firms, whose only goal is to make money for limited partners, corporate VCs have a heavy agenda. They must choose portfolio companies while balancing often-competing goals of strategic benefit and financial return.
Kaiser Permanente Ventures has been carving out an unusual niche for itself in the straightforward world of corporate venture funding. While return on investment is of utmost importance to most venture funds, KP's mission is broader. Under the direction of Chris Stenzel, its goal is to not only achieve economic success but to improve quality of services and offer new ways of delivering care to members and communities.
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