Ara Chackerian is a San Francisco-based entrepreneur and philanthropist who has experience in creating both successful healthcare technology companies and a successfully eco-friendly Teak wood company which supplies wood for yachts and helps local Nicaraguan communities. He sees, alongside Nokia’s VC arm “NGP Capital” and other doctors in the healthcare technology field, a change in the prevailing winds of the sector after the multiple healthcare acquisitions from Google, Apple, and Amazon.
Admittedly, the attitude toward investing in healthcare technology companies was at first lackluster at best. It’s what VP of Manhattan’s “OrbiMed”, Imran Babar, labeled ‘initial negative cashflow’. Navimed Capital’s Dr. Bijan Salehizadeh also concurs that the market was “overheated”; “We need more entrants to buy digital health companies.” With Google buying digital health monitoring company Senosis, Apple acquiring Gliimpse (which allows users to share and view their own medical data), and Amazon acquiring PillPack (which ships peoples’ pills to them), Chackerian believes that it is clear that the tides have already changed for healthcare technology companies. Even without the investment in healthcare technology companies by Manhattan VC firms, 2017’s numbers show that capital investments overall in the Big Apple still reached a respectable $703 million across 79 companies, which is on average roughly $9 million each.
Thanks to the recent huge gains in the overall markets in 2018, there has been much more prosperity going around. For this reason and the recent acquisitions of the tech giants, Ara Chackerian believes that “it’s an exciting time for healthcare startups and the investors who back them… The ‘wind’ is picking-up in all sectors of the economy. Now is a good time to take some risks and invest.” He understood decades previously that new strides in healthcare such as robotics, digital imaging, and Artificial Intelligence, held the ability to better patients and consolidate the ‘business’ side of health.