A recent SF Chronicle article talked about a new trend: medical students from around the Bay Area and the country increasingly dropping out of residency programs and instead going into careers in high-tech start-ups. Bijan Salehizadeh (say that five times fast!) was well ahead of that trend. In 1999, his final year of medical school at Columbia, Bijan was heading towards a career as a cardiothoracic surgeon when he took a hard turn westward to pursue what was a very unusual path at the time – a career in entrepreneurship.
Inspired by mentors including Dr. Mehmet Oz (in his pre-rasberry ketone perioid), Salehizadeh graduated, forsook his residency placement process, flew to Silicon Valley and joined a health-IT startup long before that was cool. The company rapidly raised several rounds of capital and then successfully went public.
Salehizadeh then spent several years working at a large medical device company, followed by a detour to business school, an experience that he says enabled him to “find his voice” and develop the confidence he would later need as a healthcare investor. After spending seven years at Highland Capital Partners, a long-standing venture fund, Salehizadeh and two colleagues set out on their own to start their own fund, Navimed, albeit in Washington, D.C., not Silicon Valley. Why D.C. when there are literally no other healthcare venture firms there? Because it’s good to be close to where the dogs make the dog food, aka the policy and regulatory decisions that affect the industry writ large. NaviMed recently completed raising its first $110M fund and are off to the races investing in later stage companies who sell actual things to actual people (for those unfamiliar with the term “revenue”).
With expertise in biopharmaceuticals, devices, HIT, and digital health, Salehizadeh is a true healthcare generalist – and one of healthcare’s most insightful voices. David Shaywitz and I are delighted to welcome him to our Tech Tonics podcast and hope you enjoy the show. To listen, click on the player below or find it on iTunes by clicking HERE or on the Connected Social Media website by clicking HERE.