The venture investment firm created earlier this year by former UnitedHealth Group executive Andy Slavitt has closed on its first fund, raising $115 million and investing in several companies including Bright Health, a startup health insurer based in Minneapolis.
Slavitt, who also was the Medicare chief during the Obama administration, launched Town Hall Ventures in May, saying the company would operate out of offices in Minneapolis and New York to invest in health care startups with products to help vulnerable populations, including those in government health insurance programs.
In a news release Thursday, the venture firm said investors include four of the five largest nonprofit health systems and nonprofit health insurers plus entrepreneurs, executives and private investors.
“Solving problems for the most complex conditions and populations will require the greatest minds in health care to work together to build exceptional companies,” Trevor Price, the general partner of Town Hall Ventures, said in a statement.
Bright Health is one of three new investments for the fund, which also is newly backing startups focused on patients with chronic kidney disease and those who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid coverage and are chronically ill.
Previously, Town Hall Ventures invested in four other startups including Cityblock Health Inc., which is being developed in partnership with the Sidewalk Labs initiative from the parent company of Google.
While at UnitedHealth Group, Slavitt worked on high-profile projects within the Optum division for health services. Later, he was acting administrator of the federal agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid and implemented the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).
He returned to the Twin Cities from Washington, D.C., in early 2017, pledging to promote fixes for the ACA and health care in general. Earlier this year, Slavitt launched a nonprofit called United States of Care that’s pushing for wider access to affordable health care.
Bright Health currently sells coverage in parts of Alabama, Arizona and Colorado, and announced plans this year to expand into portions of New York, Ohio and Tennessee. Launched in 2016, the insurer first sold individual market health plans that comply with the ACA and has since added Medicare Advantage plans for seniors as well.