Bethesda, MD (January 20,2022) – AGA and Varia Ventures have launched a new fund to invest in fast-growing, early-stage companies in the GI space. The fund will speed innovations from concept to clinic for the benefit of patients with digestive disease.
GI innovators often face a funding gap at the earliest stages of development; strategic investments of $250K to $2M could make their idea successful – but most venture capital (VC) firms do not fund such early-stage innovation. The GI Opportunity Fund seeks to fill that gap by connecting GI innovators with GI investors.
“The GI Opportunity Fund provides a new and affordable opportunity for qualified investors to participate in venture capital while making an investment in the future of gastroenterology and patient care,” says Michael Kochman, MD, AGAF, AGA Governing Board Councilor for Development and Growth, Wilmott Family Professor of Medicine, and Professor of Medicine in Surgery in the GI division at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
AGA and Varia Ventures intend to raise $25M for the initial fund, which will support 10-20 high-potential investments of $250K-$2M in pre-seed funds to series B companies. AGA members who are qualified investors can join the fund with a minimum commitment of $100K.
GI innovators and early-stage companies engaging with AGA’s Center for GI Innovation and Technology and the AGA Tech Summit will have the opportunity to move onto the Varia Ventures platform for funding consideration. Companies will be vetted using data science, key opinion leader feedback and deep due diligence including market analysis and IP review.
“We see two challenges – first, venture capital investing is primarily the domain of institutions and ultra-high net worth individuals. Second, VCs increasingly invest in later stage, revenue generating companies, freezing out earlier stage companies with game-changing innovations,’” says Scott Friedman, Varia Ventures co-founder and managing partner. “Varia’s partnership with AGA to launch and manage the GI Opportunity Fund will support early stage companies while providing investment opportunities to those who have not traditionally had access to venture capital.”
While its principal focus is compelling opportunities in the GI space, the fund will diversify into investments outside GI.
About AGA The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, AGA has grown to more than 16,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization. www.gastro.org.
About Varia Ventures
Varia Ventures is a next generation venture capital platform for professional organizations interested in building wealth for themselves and their members through investing in a portfolio of highly curated, emerging companies originating from their organizations. Varia’s platform blends insights from key opinion leaders, strategic partners, and industry experts through its “end to end” technology solution designed to both support early stage companies while providing compelling investment opportunities to its investors.