First Venture Fund for Black-Owned Health Startups Launches with $55 Million

Health-tech startups have experienced immense success over the past two years. The need for remote care skyrocketed, and many digital health services found themselves outpacing initial growth projections as $29.1 billion was funneled into U.S. digital health startups in 2021 alone, according to Rock Health data.

The surge in funding wasn’t felt by everyone, though. According to a 2020 Rock Health survey of nearly 700 health startup leaders, support for Black founders was inadequate. This inequity resulted in Black founders being more likely to bootstrap their company than white or Asian founders.

Seeing data like this and disproportionate systemic support is what led to the founding of Jumpstart Nova, which describes itself as the first venture fund that invests solely in Black-founded and Black-led companies. The firm has raised $55 million since it branched off from Jumpstart Health Investors, $25 million more than its original fundraising target.

Jumpstart is looking to expand from its Tennessee roots into Los Angeles. L.A. local and Jumpstart Nova partner Angeleno Kathryne Cooper is working with Jumpstart co-founder Marcus Whitney to help advance that process. Cooper previously worked managing a seed fund for the West Coast Consortium for Technology & Innovation in Pediatrics, which was backed by the FDA. She also worked for Backstage Capital, advising the L.A.-based venture fund for minority-led startups.

Cooper expressed passion for the project, explaining that “[Black people] have been overlooked traditionally for investments from the venture space, and I believe that talent is equally distributed, and anyone can build within health care. So I think it was a unique market opportunity to create a fund that invests exclusively in Black founders.”

The U.S. healthcare sector currently holds nearly 785,000 companies, but less than 5 percent of those are Black-owned. Jumpstart Nova hopes to eliminate some of the systems that lead to inequity in the venture capital world.

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