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US VC ‘unicorn collector’ Lisa Suennen is chairing a new Australian investment committee looking to ramp up digital health startup backing

- November 23, 2021 2 MIN READ
Bronwyn Le Grice
ANDHealth CEO Bronwyn Le Grice
A new, female-led group looking to tackle investment in the digital health space is looking the ramp up support for startups with an international panel of experts for advice and support. 

ANDHealth CEO Bronwyn Le Grice is driving the project, recruiting Lisa Suennen, known as a “unicorn collector” in the US digital health sector, to chair the International Investment Advisory Committee (IIAC). The committee includes investors, clinicians, founders and executives with proven track records in the digital health sector.

Suennen, a 30-year veteran of healthtech, is managing partner of Manatt Venture Fund, leads Manatt Phelps & Phillips Digital and Technology Practice, and has worked closely with ANDHealth, the not-for-profit digital health commercialisation organisation, as it looks to back early-stage health startups. It is Australia’s only female-founded and female-led health technology accelerator.

Le Grice said the IIAC will provide critical insights and frontline industry experience to the MRFF funded ANDHealth Digital Health Accelerator Fund and associated ANDHealth+ program.

“The IIAC is an Australian-first expert advisory committee designed specifically to bring proven commercialisation and growth expertise on a global scale to our Australian SMEs,” she said.

“Successfully scaling into international markets is critical for Australian SMEs from both a sustainability and an investability perspective. The ability of us to call on some of the world’s leading digital health professionals to maximise the impact of the investments from the ANDHealth Digital Health Accelerator Fund into the ANDHealth+ program is priceless.”

ANDHealth has $19.75 million in backing from the federal government through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

Global experts

Le Grice said that through the IIAC, Australian digital health startups will be able to call on some of the world’s leading digital health professionals – including executives from Validic, Hicks Cohen, SilverCloud, Consonance Capital, HEP Fund, UC Space Health Program, HealthXL, and WellDoc – to maximise their impact.

Suennen said ANDHealth is a remarkably successful catalyst for the development of digital health companies.

“They have a knack for helping companies grow, mature, and realise their vision, while fostering jobs and economic growth in Australia, the US and beyond,” she said.

“I am thrilled to be an engaged supporter of this organisation and to work alongside its leadership to further amplify the opportunity.”

Committee member Dr Kate Merton, principal at Hicks Cohen, said she’d supported and been a part of various ANDHealth events over the last 12 months.

“I enjoy working with entrepreneurs who participate in and are part of the programs. Based upon my experience leading global incubators, advising the development of digital health products and delivering health solutions to market, I believe I have the requisite experience to participate on the IIAC,” she said.

“I am excited to bring my global expertise with US Payers and international healthcare companies to assist entrepreneurs in Australia lead in global markets.”

The IIAC committee is:

  • Lisa Suennen (Chair) Managing Partner, Venture Valkyrie, LLC, Board Director, HealthXL and Health Reveal.
  • Bronwyn Le Grice, CEO & Managing Director of ANDHealth
  • Anand Iyer, Chief Strategy Officer, WellDoc
  • Andrew Murphy, Executive Chairman & Co-Founder, Robotify Labs & Partner, Erisbeg Fund
  • Aenor Sawyer, Director, University of California Space Health; Director, UCSF Skeletal Health Service
  • Bill Lucia, Executive Partner, Consonance Capital and HEP Fund, former Chairman and CEO of HMS
  • Drew Schiller, CEO, Validic
  • Dr Kate Merton, Principal, Hicks Cohen, former SVP Digital Care Delivery, Anthem Inc
  • Ken Cahill, CEO, Silvercloud