Leadership Series Featuring Phyllis Whiteley, Ph.D.

March 15, 2017

Accelerating the Success of Next Generation’s Healthcare Entrepreneurs

In this exclusive Slone Partners interview, Dr. Phyllis Whiteley, seasoned venture capitalist and life science consultant, shares her insights on the most promising areas of healthcare technology and exciting breakthroughs entering the market.

She also discusses her work at Wildcat Ventures and her passion for mentoring leaders and helping startups reach their full potential.

Slone Partners: You have had a varied career in Healthcare, what are you currently doing?

Dr. Whiteley: I have spent the last decade working in Venture Capital as an investor, member of the board of directors, serial entrepreneur, advisor, as well as CEO focusing on therapeutics, diagnostics, tools, genomics, personalized medicine, and digital health. This diversity stemmed from my own broad experiences in the life sciences and the pharmaceutical industry. Having had multiple operating roles in large, global organizations and small startups has given me a unique exposure to problem solving, accessing and deploying resources, and capital utilization. One of the most difficult adjustments in a startup is the lack of infrastructure. One rapidly learns that it’s imperative to leverage everything and everybody. It is a skill set that when brought back into large organizations can help to stimulate innovation and speed.

In addition to working with my portfolio companies, I also consult and work closely with several advisory groups and startup centers including University of California, San Francisco Global Health, Santa Clara University Global Social Benefits Incubator (GSBI), University of Texas Horizon Fund, European Innovation Academy, and Springboard Enterprises to foster improvement in global healthcare, stimulation and commercialization of innovation, and nurturing our future entrepreneurs. I am reminded over and over again that sharing experiences and providing mentorship, particularly to new CEOs, can make a huge difference in their ability to build companies that can scale and be sustainable. 

Slone Partners: We heard that you recently joined Wildcat Venture Partners, an investment leader in early stage companies leveraging key technologies. What areas of healthcare technology do you find the most promising and why?

Dr. Whiteley: Founded in 2015, Wildcat Venture Partners predominantly invests in early stage companies leveraging key technologies such as: artificial intelligence, augmented reality/virtual reality, highly scalable data infrastructure, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT). We also opportunistically invest in later stage companies. We are specifically interested in teams that are applying these technologies in the following markets: consumer, digital health, edtech, enterprise, fintech, marketing technology, and marketplaces. What makes us unique is that our investment team is comprised of former entrepreneurs with significant domain expertise building companies from startups into market leaders. We are dedicated to surrounding our companies with teams to increase their likelihood of success.

At Wildcat, my focus is in digital health and the application of advanced data technologies, including Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, to drive efficiency in diagnosis and decision-making, delivery, and management of health care. We are big believers in virtual care and how technology can be used to improve care experience and expand access, while lowering cost.

Some of the key exciting areas that are seeing breakthroughs are: 1) Digitization of Devices, where we can use remote information, infinite data, or in-home responses to improve compliance and outcomes; 2) Digitization of Information to aggregate large amounts of information and replace manual or minimal input to provide cost effective accessibility; 3) Digitization of decision-making, utilizing machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. Information is growing in complexity and requires automation to draw data- based conclusions; 4) Digitization to connect disparate systems and IoT to integrate different platforms and communication; 5) Digital Therapy particularly in brain-related disorders; and 6) Digitization and automation of human caregiving activities, one of the largest expanding markets.

Read the full interview here.