Hi, I’m Lisa Suennen. Here is my background:
I view it as my role to partner with exceptional leaders seeking to thrive in a transforming world while building high value enterprises. As an entrepreneur, operations leader, venture capital investor, board director and industry advisor, I focus primarily on the worlds of healthcare innovation, digital health/healthtech, and medical devices, though I have also spent time at the intersection of pharma/biotech and the digital world.
Basically I love working in healthcare because it allows one to do well by doing good. I also love work with those who want to color outside the lines and try new ways of solving old problems. My least favorite phrase is “That’s how we have always done it.”
My current role is CEO leader of Venture Valkyrie, LLC, my personal consulting firm, as well as the firm that houses this blog, as well as my other various advising, writing and speaking activities. I am also on faculty at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, where I have taught an annual semester-long class on venture capital and innovation for the last 14 years.
I also serve part time as a National Advisor to professional services firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, and as partner of firm’s venture capital fund. I am also an advisor to several young companies and a few venture funds, including Aphelion/Cardeation Capital, Longitude Capital and Nina Capital.
I have served on numerous private and not-for-profit boards of directors throughout my career and am currently a Board Member of PROOF Acquisition Corp I, (NASDAQ: PACI.U, a Special Purpose Acquisition Vehicle), HealthXL, and the Dignity Health Foundation. I am a Board Observor at Medasystems. I am also Chairman of the Advisory Board of the NASA Translational Research Institute and Chairman of the Advisory Board of International Investment Advisory Committee (IIAC) of ANDHealth Limited, a digital health investment initiative funded by the Australian and Victorian governments.
I am a Fellow of the inaugural class of the Aspen Institute’s Health Innovators Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network . I previously served as a member of the Advisory Board of the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator Investing in Innovations program and on Governor Jerry Brown’s Advisory Board on Precision Medicine.
I was also founder of CSweetener, a not-for-profit organization now owned by the HLTH Foundation. CSweetener matches rising women leaders in healthcare with luminaries that guide their careers during year-long virtual mentorships.
In 2020 I was featured in the book The Intelligent Investor by Alison Davis and Matthew LaMerle. In 2019 I was featured in the book Women Who Venture by Renata George. In 2018 I was named Top Digital Health Evangelist by Goldman Sachs, Rock Health, Fenwick and West & Square 1 Bank, and the fund I lead for GE Ventures was named the most prolific corporate venture fund. In 2018 I was also named #2 in the Global Corporate Venturing list of 100 Rising Stars, which designates the top 1% of the corporate venture capital industry chosen from 100 corporate venturing units. In 2018 I was also included in the Female Health IT Leaders to Know, a list created by Becker’s Hospital Review.
In 2017, I was named to Becker’s Hospital Review as one of 110 women to know in medtech. In 2015, I was proudly featured as a Tech Superwoman in this Forbes article. I was also named to Onalytica’s List of Top Digital Health Influencers and Brands in 2015 and 2016. In 2014 I was named as one of the Top 50 People in Digital Health by Rock Health, Goldman Sachs, Fenwick & West and Silicon Valley Bank and also as one of 5 Disruptive Women to Watch in 2015 by Disruptive Women in Healthcare . In 2013 I was named to the Healthcare IT News HIT Top 100 List. In 2011 I was the recipient of the Director of the Year Award (Companies in Transition) from the Corporate Director’s Forum. In 2011 I was also was awarded the U.C. Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies Outstanding Alumni Award. Go Bears!
I write a widely read blog on healthcare and healthcare investing found here at www.venturevalkyrie.com, and I am proud to note that this blog has been highlighted on the Forbes/Women 2.0 VC Women Who Blog List, on MedCity News’ list of 12 powerful female voices in healthcare innovation and social media, and on Health IT News’ list of the Top 10 bloggers to follow on Twitter.
I am also the co-author, along with Dr. David Shaywitz, of the book Tech Tonics: Can Passionate Entrepreneurs Heal Healthcare with Technology, published in 2013. Together David and I also produce da very popular twice-monthly podcast, also called Tech Tonics, focused on the intersection of the people and passion behind digital health. The many past episodes of the podcast can be found HERE on Apple Podcasts.
I most recently served as President, Digital & Data Solutions at Canary Medical, a company at the intersection of medical devices and digital health. Until the end of 2021, I led Manatt Phelps & Phillips digital and technology businesses (strategy consulting and legal P&L focused on tech, venture and related areas), led the digital health consulting practice, and oversaw the firm’s venture capital fund. As a Managing Director at Manatt, my consulting role spanned all sectors, though I was especially focused on healthcare, engaging with payers, health systems pharma, medtech and emerging companies to provide strategic advice on innovation, digital strategy, investment/partnership models, new product design and growth.
My most recent role prior to Manatt was as Senior Managing Director of GE Ventures. In this role I was responsible for leading GE Ventures healthcare venture investing activities, including investments in healthcare IT, healthcare services and their points of intersection with medical technology and pharma (and particularly where these worlds collide in what we now call digital health).
From 1998-2013 I was a partner of Psilos Group, a healthcare-focused venture capital firm. I headed Psilos’ West Coast office from the firm’s founding in 1998 and focused on the healthcare information technology, healthcare services, medtech and digital health sectors.
Prior to Psilos, I spent 9 years as a healthcare entrepreneur, primarily at Merit Behavioral Care (formerly American Biodyne, Inc.), where I held various senior executive roles including Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Senior Vice President/General Manager of the Public Sector Division (a $300 million business unit which I built from scratch) and Senior Vice President of Pacific Region Operations serving several million covered lives. I joined Merit in 1989 while the company was still in its early start-up period and, during my nine-year tenure, I played a key role in its growth to an $800 million revenue/year company. While at Merit, I also participated in the acquisition and integration of various behavioral healthcare companies, the company’s IPO in 1991, and the company’s sale to Magellan Health for $800 million in 1998.
Before entering the wild world of healthcare, I did a 4-year stint in the tech world. I served as Worldwide Product Manager for INGRES/Relational Technology, Inc., a relational database company, where I had responsibility for development, marketing and distribution for the company’s UNIX PC software product. Prior to INGRES, I served as Director of U.S. Market Development and as a Manager, U.S. Government and Industry Relations for X/Open, an international computer industry standards setting and lobbying consortium. Earlier, I spent several very formative years at Regis McKenna, Inc. (the former firm led by Regis McKenna), a legendary high technology marketing and public relations firm, where I was responsible for marketing, public relations and public sector strategy for client companies in the software and healthcare areas.
I hold an M.A. in political science, a B.A. in political science and a B.A. in mass communications, all from the University of California, Berkeley. I am delighted to be on faculty at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business where I currently teach an annual class on healthcare innovation and venture capital in the changing healthcare economy.
And the Rest
I am fortunate to be a sought-after speaker at a broad range of industry and private healthcare and investing venues and you can see where I am speaking next by looking HERE.
I live in Marin County, California with my family and an adorable and entitled chihuahua.
If you haven’t had enough already, here is some press where I am featured:
Axios: RPM’s Reimbursement Problem
Forbes: What Bubble? Digital Health Funding Year in Review
Business Insider: The 9 Behind-the-Scenes Players Who Can Make or Break a Digital Health Startup
Investor’s Business Daily: What Trends Will Drive Health Care Stocks In The Post-Covid Era?
Forbes: Change The Game, Not The Players: Why Nobody Should Have To Overcome Imposter Syndrome
Forbes: Dear Future President, The Women of America Have a Message for You
StatNews: The gatekeeper: If you want to make it big in health care, it’ll help to get past Lisa Suennen first
Business Insider: A longtime healthcare VC just posted her 13 rules for entrepreneurs and investors, and they’re required reading for any startup that wants to get into the industry
CNBC: 11 women who prove that health tech investing isn’t a boys’ club
NASDAQ: Meet a VC – Lisa Suennen
Oliver Wyman Health – Q&A with Lisa Suennen
Silicon Republic – Medtech is Hard
How CSweetener is Helping Women Healthcare Leaders Succeed
And a speech I gave at the NCQA Quality Talks about the changing face of healthcare.
About the Venture Valkyrie Blog
I started the Venture Valkyrie blog to have a forum to talk about my thoughts about our changing healthcare system as well as the role played by startup companies and the private equity/venture capital.
I also like to write about innovation and entrepreneurship generally and the evolving world of health tech and its points of intersection with healthcare, medtech and biotech. I have worked in the healthcare field as an entrepreneur, operator and investor longer than I care to admit and try to take a new perspective on what I see.
I also have a particular interest in how women fare in my fields of interest, as this topic can certainly be interesting in ways both good and bad.
I strive to bring good information combined with humor, as it can make essays about some very dry subjects worth reading all the way to the end. Plus I can’t help myself but to point out the humor in my field of work – sometimes you can’t make up things that are more ridiculous than what healthcare, startup founders, and/or venture capital come up with on their own. Everything in the blog and on my podcast is a product of my own thinking and does not represent any other organization with which I am affiliated.
Lisa can be reached at lisasuennen @ venturevalkyrie.com or through the comments section of this blog or you can follow me on Twitter @venturevalkyrie or find me on LinkedIn. Thanks for reading!