At the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York on Monday, I joined WHO Foundation CEO Anil Soni in announcing the creation of a Global Health Equity Fund launched by the WHO Foundation and OurCrowd.
The Global Health Equity Fund is a $200 million financial impact venture capital fund that will focus on breakthrough technology solutions that have the potential to improve healthcare worldwide. It will support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, drive innovation and increase investment in the health sector.
Its mission is to increase equitable access to medical care while providing competitive returns to investors.
Our announcement sparked a flurry of global media coverage, including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Reuters, CNBC TV Africa, TechCrunch and The Times of Israel.
The fund was conceived in the wake of the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, which sent shockwaves through healthcare systems around the world. It revealed chronic weaknesses – even in the world’s most developed countries – the underfunding of health care delivery and inequitable access to technological solutions, including vaccines, drugs and diagnostics. Even now, the vast medical arsenal developed to fight Covid-19 remains inaccessible to the majority of the population in low-income countries.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic exposed the weaknesses in our global healthcare system, the growing inequalities in health between different parts of the world – and even between different regions within countries – were becoming painfully evident. The pandemic has been a wake-up call for many tech investors and opened their eyes to health inequalities around the world. At the same time, those involved in biotechnology and related businesses were aware of the potential of innovative technologies to save lives and provide medical treatment to more communities through modern technology.
Access to essential medical services and basic health care is rapidly declining in many countries around the world, regardless of wealth or development. High-income countries face growing crises in their health systems with long waiting lists, inadequate emergency care and overburdened services. Low-income countries struggle to provide basic health care and are unable to meet the added challenge of natural disasters and health emergencies.
Beyond direct health care, the gap is widening between those who have and those who do not have regular access to clean water, fresh food, clean air, adequate waste treatment and the basic environmental conditions necessary for a healthy life.
In every country in the world, too many men, women and children do not have access to adequate health care due to income disparities and systemic barriers that perpetuate inequalities. Despite clear models for successfully balancing economic return with equitable access, such as the provision of HIV and AIDS drugs, the world has failed to deliver solutions for Covid-19 to everyone, everywhere. It is imperative that we deploy solutions in response to this failure, including directing investments towards innovation and aligning both with equity as the goal from the outset.
OurCrowd and our partners at the WHO Foundation believe it is time for a global healthcare transformation that will prioritize practical solutions to these critical and life-threatening challenges. We believe that the key to this transformation lies in technological innovation.
To address this urgent global need, the Global Health Equity Fund will focus on developing solutions designed to provide health to all, while creating economic growth. This will be achieved by investing in MedTech, HealthTech and other technologies directly related to medical care, as well as AgTech, FoodTech and energy transition technologies that help reduce or eliminate risk for health.
OurCrowd has a proven track record of identifying healthcare and sustainability investments that can deliver value to patients, healthcare providers and investors. Collaboration with the WHO Foundation will help identify other promising investments and facilitate the engagement of investors and entrepreneurs for equitable access to these innovative technologies.
A first fund simulation based on existing relevant companies in the OurCrowd portfolio suggests a net IRR of 18% and a net multiple of 1.73x.
The fund will be structured to ensure that a significant percentage of the interest earned by the fund will accrue to the WHO Foundation to support its philanthropic causes.
An Access Pledge is associated with the fund, a WHO Foundation innovation to align investments with portfolio companies’ commitments to ensure their technology solutions are available, accessible, appropriate and affordable for populations facing HIV/AIDS. inequality, especially in low- and middle-income countries. income settings.
Under the Access Pledge, companies will seek to develop an access plan that is commercially viable and relevant to their business. The WHO Foundation and OurCrowd will appoint a Global Health Advisory Board to provide assistance to these companies so they can plan early for business models that combine economic return with equitable access.
The Global Health Equity Fund will focus on healthcare as well as industries that are direct determinants of health, including energy transition, food and agriculture, which together cater to health markets. worth trillions of dollars worldwide. Target Portfolio Companies will therefore not only innovate to improve medical care, but will also strive to mitigate current global health risks related to climate change, fossil fuels and impending food and water shortages.
The WHO Foundation and Our Crowd share the goal of acting as a standard bearer within the investment and global health communities, demonstrating the viability of investing to achieve strong returns and intended impact, two objectives benefiting from a partnership between the private and public sectors.
For more information on the OurCrowd/WHO Foundation Global Health Equity Fund, click HERE.
Jonathan Medved is the founder and CEO of OurCrowd, the world’s leading equity financing platform for accredited investors, based in Jerusalem.