Alphabet-backed GV's big ventures into healthcare

GV, the venture capital arm of Google parent company Alphabet, has made a bold move into healthcare, investing in dozens of startups — from those specializing in diagnostics to medical devices to health tech — since 2009.

"As a group, we want to change how healthcare is delivered, make more impactful drugs, and improve all aspects of people's access to care," writes GV's life sciences team, which is made up of people who've worked as physicians, scientists and healthcare operators.

GV, formerly known as Google Ventures, is mirroring the big healthcare plays of other venture capital firms like General Catalyst, which has been poaching former hospital executives and funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to funds dedicated to health startups.

GV was the most active digital health investor in 2021, completing 22 deals, according to CB Insights.

The firm has been busy this year as well, investing in precision medicine startup Vicinitas Therapeutics, clinician management startup Medallion, direct-pay medical marketplace Sesame, pharmacy supply chain company Waltz Health, and pediatric mental health platform Brightline.

GV venture partner Ben Robbins, MD, told the American Journal of Managed Care in an interview published July 11 that the company focuses more on hospital infrastructure projects and pharma collaborations than direct patient care.

"The issue is just that, when there's technology solutions, it's often just really hard to get providers to understand the technology, to use the technology," Dr. Robbins said. "They're often really busy, they have sort of bad experiences with legacy software. So we spend most of our time looking at the intersection of technology and services."

GV's other notable portfolio companies include 23andMe, Aledade, Aspire Health, Clover Health, Doctor on Demand, Flatiron Health, One Medical, and Zephyr Health.

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