The Top 10: #10 Kurt Sheline, principal, Echo Health Ventures

Kurt Sheline is a principal on the strategic investment team at Echo Health Ventures, an investment joint venture for healthcare provider Cambia Health Solutions and health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina subsidiary Mosaic Health Solutions.

Regarding his role, Sheline said: “I support all aspects of the investment process, from investment thesis creation and development, to deal sourcing, evaluation and transaction management and execution. Post-investment, I support our portfolio companies in numerous ways, from board and committee representation to driving engagement between our portfolio companies and the industry at large – both with our parent companies and others.

“I currently serve as a director on the boards of Springbuk and Eleanor Health and am a board observer at Octave Bioscience, GNS Healthcare, Circulation and Quartet Health. I have been working at Echo since March 2017, and have supported our investments in the aforementioned companies, as well as Phreesia [which went public], AccessOne and Dispatch Health.”

Corporate venture capital investment and engagement model’s potential power drew Sheline to Echo, he said, adding: “In my mind, there is no other model or industry that exposes someone to so many aspects of value creation in the corporate construct, from the development of high-quality relationships to the creation and operationalisation of innovative products and business models.”

Sheline considers Echo’s investments in Circulation [sold to Logisticare], Phreesia [initial public offering], Springbuk, Octave Bioscience and Quartet Health have shown the promise of the unit’s model. He also celebrated early successes having helped align Echo’s investments with its parent companies’ strategies and priorities.

“Growing up, I knew I wanted to be in the field of healthcare and medicine,” Sheline added. “That initially started with the goal of working in the clinical field, but over time, morphed into wanting to work on the business side of healthcare, ideally focused on helping to scale innovative products, services, and business models.”

Relationship development and management have been a challenge, according to Sheline, who said: “As well as aligning different business units across the organisation when there is not a well-defined cross-functional strategy already in place.”

Furthermore, collaboration is key to CVC success, Sheline noted. “And this collaboration could take any number of constructs or flavours. From working together on diligence and investments to exchanging thoughts and ideas on how to more efficiently and effectively structure partnership opportunities between portfolio companies and incumbent corporations. CVC has such tremendous potential, and we all have so much to learn from one another.

“Given our two parent companies are health insurance companies, they are very deeply involved in the pandemic, from helping to weather the immediate impacts, as well as effectively planning for the long term management of the pandemic and the post-pandemic world. Our parent companies are actively working to refine their technology capabilities to better predict the future path of the pandemic, and ensure that their customers and individual members are properly supported during this uncertain time. At the Echo Health Ventures level, we are rapidly reassessing how we conduct our business of developing relationships with and investing in the best companies and entrepreneurs in healthcare in a rapidly changing world.”