Investors to Watch: Irem Mertol

McKesson Ventures Director Irem Mertol was featured as an investor to watch in the latest issue of Startup Health magazine.

Mertol, whose work focuses on early to growth-stage investments across healthcare technology and services, has been with McKesson Ventures since 2017. Her most recent investment was in digital pharmacy technology company Truveris.

In her interview, Mertol was asked what she saw as the investment challenges unique to digital health. “The combination of higher valuations and limited exits in the market,” she said, adding, “We’re hopefully starting to see more M&A activity with the entrance of new tech players like Amazon, Apple, and Google, along with the growth of larger health IT players.” Another challenge Mertol cited is the money flowing into the space while exits have been modest, coupled with regulatory uncertainty. This is causing some traditional customers to be less willing to buy from startups because of “fatigue of prior health tech purchases and lengthy sales cycle that exists.”

As for what Mertol is most excited about, either technology, trends, or changes within digital health, there are two trends her team is excited about. “One is what we’re calling the digital supply chain—the idea of digitally enabled consumer-centric care,” Mertol said. “The other one is value-based care. We’re focused on the shift of care outside of large health systems to lower costs; whether it’s retail, ambulatory, post-acute, or home care.”

Mertol gave her advice to entrepreneurs, too. “In terms of both team members and investors, founders should surround themselves with people who bring a mix of healthcare domain expertise and traditional tech expertise,” she told Startup Health. “Second, select the right partners you want sitting around the table with you. Don’t always go for the investor that offers the highest valuation. Instead, think about who will best be able to help you scale.”

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