Former OptumHealth CEO Dawn Owens, recently promoted to chief executive of TripleTree Holdings, said the independent health care merchant bank is growing and likely is busier than before the pandemic.

Minneapolis-based TripleTree Holdings (TTH), which focuses exclusively on health care technology and services companies, is seeing growth in its private-equity investments as well as in investment banking.

The company’s private-equity arm, TT Capital Partners, has invested more than $500 million in 16 companies, Owens said. TTH’s newly opened New York City office is expanding its investment banking reach and attracting additional talent to the business.

Since joining TTH in 2015 as president, Owens has worked with founder and CEO Kevin Green to scale the business and plan for the leadership transition the board announced in July. Green now is executive chairman of the company he and founding partner Dave Henderson launched in 1997. Owens previously served five years as chief executive at OptumHealth during a 15-year career at UnitedHealth Group.

TTH’s business is strong despite the pandemic because Green has positioned it as an industry thought leader, Owens said.

“Our business is strong and robust, and frankly we’re probably busier than we were pre-COVID,” Owens said. “People want to work with organizations [that] have strong knowledge, great access and can help them with advice and capability to navigate a slightly more uncertain time.”

Owens cited Happify Health, a digital platform for improving mental and physical health, and Updox, which manages virtual and in-person health care communications, as among portfolio companies that are helping the health care system cope with pandemic-related challenges.

“Dawn is uniquely suited to lead the firm’s next chapter and has proven to be a strategic and decisive leader who is committed to our culture, our people and the industry,” Green said in a release.

Q: What are your priorities as CEO?

A: To make sure that we are doing everything we can to help the health care system work for everyone. To do that, we need to have great people, and we do. We need to continue to develop those people and support them. We are distinctive in a sharp-elbowed industry of financial services in being a firm that’s highly committed to collaboration, to teamwork and to partnership. We’re cultivating that within our organization and as we face out to the marketplace.

Q: What brought you to TTH?

A: It’s a business focused on health care, although in a very different way than I had previously engaged in. Because TripleTree touches so many different companies in health care from the largest, the brand names that we all know, as well as younger entrepreneurial businesses and everything in between, I saw it as a way for me to operate in health care and play my part in impacting those things that matter most — affordability, quality of care and accessibility.

Q: What are the firm’s main differentiators?

A: We have over 70 professionals, investment bankers or private equity investors that focus exclusively on health care services and technology. That gives us a depth of knowledge and insight as well as relationships that are really powerful. We put that knowledge and those relationships to work through a team-based, collaborative effort. Certainly why people hire us in the first place or choose us as an investor is we drive great performance and great outcomes.


Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is