A Bright Future For People with Chronic Kidney Disease

Town Hall Ventures was created with a strong mandate to direct millions of dollars in investments to solutions serving vulnerable populations across America; the elderly, the poor, those with complex and chronic conditions and those who don’t have access to healthcare because of where they live or who they are. Given that mandate, we follow closely the work that is done at a Federal policy level as it impacts the 130,000,000 million Americans who consume $1,400,000,000,000 (yes Trillion) annually in Medicare and Medicaid healthcare spending. 

Today, with the announcement by President Trump, Secretary Alex Azar, CMS Administrator Seema Verma, and Adam Boehler, the Head of Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, the Trump Administration took a major step in improving the health of people suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). With this change, millions of Americans will receive better quality of care at better value. It is a testament to bi-partisan commitment to Value-Based Care and the impact of collaborations between HHS, CMS, and committed entrepreneurs and investors to tackle incredibly complex challenges. 

Town Hall Ventures was formed to help drive outsized societal impact for those that need it most - and at the same time produce outsized investment returns. We think this goes hand in hand. Since our founding, at the cornerstone of the Town Hall commitment was improving Chronic Kidney Disease. When we envisioned this investment platform, it was one of, if not the foundational element of what Town Hall Ventures believed it could radically change.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Inside of Town Hall Ventures today, we saw the  HHS & CMS announcement as a mini-milestone for our firm as well. It was one of those events where you find yourself stopping and thinking “this is exactly what I want to be doing, who I want to be doing it with and EXACTLY what I should be doing… right here… right now.”  Everyone is pretty aware Andy came out of the Obama Administration and I may be more left than he is. David is Australian so we don’t really know what he thinks politically. But we believe that good health care ideas are really not partisan. Kudos to the Administration for doing something here that will prevent unnecessary suffering and make health care work better for more people; our hats are off.  Yup… I said it!

When we launched Town Hall Ventures, Andy, David and I were all individually committed to transforming care for Americans suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease and End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). We thought about the nearly 40,000,000 Americans who suffer from the disease. We saw more than $100,000,000,000 (yes BILLION) spent annually (yes ANNUALLY) by CMS on dialysis. We were collectively appalled that Chronic Kidney Disease treatment remained fundamentally flawed - with bad outcomes, horrible patient satisfaction, tech-enabled and innovative care models lagged adoption rates when compared to other countries around the world. We saw a muted focus on transplantation. Kidney care had remained largely unchanged for decades, largely due to market dynamics. 

We know that kidney care patients and the health care sector as a whole were eagerly seeking change.

David and I partnered with Andy, in part, because we shared a passion for transforming Kidney Care; it is the most glaring example of a place to “Do Well and Do Good” for patients, institutions and for the Government with their Medicare and Medicaid programs. Prior to partnering, we were independently deeply involved with innovative and transformational Kidney Care solutions. Andy invested in and joined the Board of Directors of Somatus, a leader in reimagining kidney care.  David and I, through Oxeon’s Venture Studio, led the process of shaping and creating Strive Health, another leader in reimagining the way Chronic Kidney Disease could be treated. Both companies saw the need to change Kidney Care and were committed to different models of treatment, meeting patients in their home, enabling transplantation, and all the while taking risk and value-based payments. Today, these businesses are a perfect reflection of what was laid out by the Trump Administration Executive Order. 

The basic investment thesis for Town Hall was pretty clear.  We saw that both companies were laser-focused on the north star of Kidney Care; providing the most clinically efficacious care with the right economic business model to best serve payers, providers, Medicare and Medicaid, and most importantly, delivering the best outcomes and the best quality of life for the patients. 

Ikenna Okezie at Somatus and Chris Riopelle at Strive are exceptional leaders in this space. Both CEOs have surrounded themselves with great teams that are passionate and determined to change the situation with US-based CKD care.

Both companies have exceptional investor syndicates. Somatus, along with Town Hall, is backed by Sandbox Industries and Flare Capital Partners. Strive Health, along with Town Hall, is funded with a $80M commitment from NEA, and subsequently Echo Health Ventures and Ascension Ventures.

We have been able to drive business opportunities to both companies, worked on supporting them through fund-raising efforts, helped with strategy and talent and believe Somatus and Strive are THE two companies poised to respond best to today’s Executive Order.

Driving change in ESRD & CKD care is at the absolute core of what we set out to accomplish in creating Town Hall Venture and today’s news creates incredible momentum for the transformation of quality Kidney Care in America. We hope it also marks the beginning of both Somatus and Strive emerging as the next generation of Kidney Care leaders by setting the standards for new models of care, value-based payments, clinical outcomes, quality of life and societal impact as part of their disruption! 

 

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Town Hall Ventures is an investment firm, founded in 2018 and headquartered in New York and Minneapolis, that invests in health care companies primarily serving vulnerable populations covered by Medicare and Medicaid. With deep experience building businesses, serving in major public and private sector roles, building premier executive teams, and investing across technology and health care, Town Hall partners with entrepreneurs to build transformational businesses from the idea stage to the growth stage.