Building a Bio/Tech Franchise at Menlo: We are Hiring a Principal with Therapeutics Expertise

Greg Yap, Partner at Menlo Ventures @grgyap

Entrepreneurs are creating breakthrough businesses at the nexus of biology and technology (“bio/tech”), and it’s an amazing area for investors. Here at Menlo, we are building an investing practice focused on three of the most exciting areas of healthcare: therapeutic platforms, digital health, and transformative technologies. We are building on Menlo’s 40+ year history as one of Silicon Valley’s earliest and most successful venture capital firms. We are combining some of the best of the very different worlds of biotech and tech investing. To do that, we are hiring: we are currently recruiting for a principal with expertise in therapeutics investing to join our team.

Menlo has a long history of successful biotech investing (including starting and incubating Gilead well before biotech incubations became in vogue). Over the past few years, we have developed a strategy to build a differentiated practice investing at this nexus, leveraging rapid advances in technology (e.g., genomics, sequencing, synthetic biology) and an explosion in data volume and tools (e.g., machine learning/AI, computation, digital medical data). We do not aspire to be a traditional biotech investor. Nor are we technologists dabbling in bio. We believe in a new generation of companies, and we also believe that to change the world for the better, you must understand the status quo.

In therapeutics, we look for 5 Ps. These include the critical lead program(s), a unique technology platform that produces a portfolio of new medicines, and the partnerships that demonstrate that the platform is broader than a single asset. And we invest foremost in people: entrepreneurs who want to build their own companies (not incubations). Our recent therapeutics investments include Recursion Pharmaceuticals, Encoded Therapeutics, Pliant Therapeutics (PLRX), Genesis Therapeutics, Senti Biosciences, Epiodyne, and Anagenex.

In digital health, we are investing in several major theses in both vertical enterprise SaaS and patient-facing models. Vertical SaaS is a major focus for Menlo across many markets, and we see many sectors in healthcare and life sciences where broken workflows can be automated, new systems of record can be built, and solutions can expand across applications. We also believe that healthcare will be “consumer-ish,” and we are looking for digital growth and consumer-grade user experiences, powered by business models that work in healthcare both today and tomorrow. Our recent digital health investments include H1 Insights, Benchling, Particle Health, Riva Health, Rivet Health, and Pillpack (AMZN).

Finally, novel technologies create many innovation opportunities in healthcare. We are especially interested in application layers created by the most disruptive, generational technologies, which today is reading and writing biology (i.e., genome sequencing and synthetic biology). These applications can serve diverse but large markets. Our recent transformative technology investments include Delfi, Synthego, Clear Labs, Cofactor Genomics, and Earli.

We are growing our healthcare team because we are growing our healthcare investing. In particular, we are expanding our coverage and investments in therapeutics. We are looking for a principal who can hit the ground running and who wants to help build a franchise rather than just maintain one. A detailed job description is below. You can apply here. Please feel free to share with others who may be interested.

Principal, Menlo Ventures

  • PhD in biological sciences or MD preferred
  • 3+ yrs investing experience in VC. Work experience in biotech/pharma preferred.
  • Experience leading scientific, medical, and business diligence for therapeutics investments, including quantitative analysis and expert interviews
  • Experience sourcing investments. Personal network of drug development experts, entrepreneurs, and other investors.
  • Track record of investments, supported by entrepreneur references on individual contributions
  • Primary focus on therapeutic platforms (seed to Series B). Some work in digital health (seed to Series B). May occasionally source or support healthcare-related, non-healthcare, or later stage investments.

Successful performance in the role will include:

  • Immediately: sourcing and diligence for therapeutics. Board observer roles. #2 role to lead healthcare partner.
  • Actively participate in early stage investment committee presentations and discussions, including technology and non-healthcare investments
  • In 12–24 months: lead or co-lead an investment and take the board seat. Continue to lead technical diligences. Help build out Menlo healthcare network.
  • Within 4 years: lead or co-lead 1 investment per year. Continue to oversee and lead diligences. Mentor and support portfolio companies. Help build out Menlo healthcare team and network including investors and advisors.

Qualities

  • Can work independently, initially as half of a small but mighty healthcare team within a leading technology investing firm
  • Experienced and observant enough to have absorbed how other successful VC firms operate, but entrepreneurial enough to want to do some things differently
  • Highly active and resourceful outbound networker with many strong relationships
  • Consistent with Menlo’s overall culture, focused on finding great entrepreneurs vs. building companies ourselves

A venture capital firm that strives to have a positive impact on everything we do. When we’re in, we’re all in. www.menlovc.com