The Laerdal Million Lives Fund launched a new $100 million venture capital fund Tuesday that will invest in commercial-stage companies focused on expanding health care access and education.
The fund was established by the Laerdal family and its operating companies, primarily Laerdal Medical and Laerdal Global Health, which has a global impact goal of saving over 1 million lives annually by 2030. The family is most known for inventing CPR training manikins, Jeff Trost, managing partner of the Million Lives Fund, told Crunchbase News.
More than 8 million deaths were attributed to low-quality health care across 137 countries, according to a report on preventable deaths published in The Lancet in 2018.
“Many of these were developing countries, so you might expect it to be the result of access to health care, and that was 40 percent, but 60 percent was due to poor quality of health care,” Trost said. “Those two concepts are core to our investment thesis. We need to solve and close the gap on mortality and make an early intervention of the health care system.”
Areas of investment will include improving and extending lives, medical education innovations, remote patient monitoring solutions, tech-enabled care models, predictive analytics tools, and clinical-decision support tools.
The second theme of the fund will be ensuring all health care providers can be upskilled to perform more tasks, something the global pandemic put a spotlight on, he added.
That includes providing skills so nurses can do more in the intensive care units, as well as how to deploy rapid training tools — using more virtual reality, augmented reality and immersive technologies to train doctors and nurses in new ways — in addition to using data and analytics to create clinical-decision support tools.
“The future is digitization of medical and nursing schools to keep up with regulated and required pathways,” Trost said. “With edtech, kindergarten through 12th grade is more aggressively adopting technology. Understandably, a lot of medical education has to take place in the physical environments, but what can be digitized should be digitized.”
The Million Lives Fund will invest in 15 to 20 companies with its first fund, Trost said. It will lead or syndicate with other investors, putting anywhere from $1 million to $10 million into each company over the life of the investment. Initial check sizes will be $1 million to $5 million with some reserved for follow-on.
So far, four investments from the fund have been made, including:
- Aloe Care Health, a voice-activated medical alert and communication system for older adults and caregivers;
- Avive Solutions, developing a next-generation emergency response platform;
- MobileODT, an AI-powered mobile device for cervical cancer screening; and
- RapidSOS, an emergency response data exchange providing life-saving information to 911 and emergency response systems.