12 Sep Midwest health care technology luring greater investment focus
Venture capitalists are increasingly interested in health care technologies developed in the Midwest, results of a new national survey show. Wisconsin, however, only rated in the middle tier for its reputation among health care investors.
About two-thirds of the survey respondents have their primary offices in the Midwest, and three-fourths of the respondents said they have invested in at least one Midwest health care deal; 65 percent said they see more than 25 investment opportunities from the region each year.
The report is further evidence that efforts to attract venture capital to the Midwest are paying off, said Dr. William Hendee, president of the MCW Research Foundation and dean of the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
“Things are certainly looking better here than they were three to four years ago,” Hendee said of the venture investment scene.
The survey, by Cleveland-based Bio-Enterprise, was conducted over a 10-day period beginning July 26, asked respondents to offer their impressions of Midwest health care investment opportunities and regions. Among its findings:
• Venture capitalists rate the performance of their Midwest investments as equal to those in the rest of the country and they consider the region’s bioscience strength to be in medical devices. About 50 percent of investors rated medical device deal flow as “strong” or “very strong” and a majority said deal flow from the Midwest is increasing.
• Health care services and IT opportunities were rated by 68 percent of investors as average, while biopharmaceutical offerings were considered weak by 67 percent of respondents.
• Within the Midwest, the Minneapolis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and St. Louis regions have the strongest overall reputations among the health care investors. The middle tier consisted of Chicago, Wisconsin, Detroit-Ann Arbor, and Indianapolis. Cincinnati and Kentucky were rated lower for quality of deal flow.
• Ratings changed only slightly when adjusting for investors’ areas of focus within health care. For example, those funds that plan to dedicate more than 50 percent of their investments in health care services and software, rated the top regions for deals as Minneapolis, Chicago, and Cleveland. For biopharmaceutical focused funds, the top-rated regions were Minneapolis, St. Louis, Cleveland, and Indianapolis. Chicago was ranked last among all regions by the biopharmaceutical focused respondents.
“Given the respondents’ knowledge and depth of health care and Midwest investments, the survey provides insights on the Midwest’s areas of strength, both in types of opportunities and specific geographies,” said BioEnterprise President Baiju R. Shah. “What is encouraging is that nearly 60 percent of the respondents felt that deal flow from the Midwest has been increasing, and nearly 90 percent indicated interest in expanding their Midwest activity. That bodes well for continued growth in health care venture investment across the Midwest.”
The Medical College of Wisconsin’s Hendee cites a growing national recognition that the Midwest, especially the Chicago to Minneapolis-St. Paul area, is the source of investment-attractive health care technologies.
Hendee also sees increased competitiveness among players in venture capital markets as another reason for the heightened activity. “They’re no longer simply focusing on the coasts,” he said. He credits efforts to lure investor attention here and efforts to link venture capitalists with innovators for giving investors a wider arena of activity.
Forty-seven (47) national venture investors, almost all who have significant health care focus within their funds and are active in the Midwest, completed the survey. BioEnterprise plans to conduct the survey annually. Complete survey results and analysis can be viewed at http://www.bioenterprise.com/reports/reports.html.