Meet a VC: Andrew Adams .

Nasdaq is highlighting the venture capitalists that built the startup landscape we know today. 

This week, meet VC: Andrew Adams of Oak HC/FT

Meet a VC: Andrew Adams

How did you get started in the Venture community?

My interest in investing started at a very early age. When I was 10, I saved up all my allowance and bought my first stock. That made me interested in better understanding how a company works, why does it grow, why is it successful and that in turn, makes it a successful investment. So those interests carried me through college, and a few years a boutique investment bank, a later stage investment firm, and its really through those experiences I realized the most effective way to provide capital to an entrepreneur to help them realize on their vision and build a meaningful company is the venture capital model. So I went out and shook the trees and ended up joining Oak.

Another thing I that realized, was that in order to be an effective resource for entrepreneurs, you have to be deep in a domain, so I chose healthcare. My mom was a nurse so I had a good connection to the frontline of healthcare delivery, and now at Healthcare focused Venture Capital firm I feel like all of these interests have come full circle.

What’s a day in the life of a VC?

I can tell you this with 100 percent certainty: It’s a 100 percent uncertain. I have schedule meetings for boards I’m on, meeting with new entrepreneurs, new opportunities with industry leaders and new investors but every day, something unexpected happens. One of our companies get called and says they just landed a new account, how do we scale with those demands, or the market is changing so we have to invest more heavily in this business line and how do we resource that. I think what that does is underscore the importance of Venture capitalists to be very engaged with the companies you’re working with and always available for those entrepreneurs and teams to help them think through those challenges and opportunities from a strategic, people and capital perspective.

How many companies have you invested in and what is the overall investment?

Since the founding of Oak HC/FT a few years ago we’ve invested in 14 healthcare and FinTech companies, and since I’ve been in the industry I’ve been involved with 35 companies and on the board for almost half of those.

So where do you focus your investments and how much capital do you deploy in each of the portfolio companies?

We’re an opportunity driven fund, so we’re looking for the absolute best opportunities in healthcare and FinTech. Our strategy that’s been in place since 2000 leads us to focus more on later stage growth investments but we maintain a very healthy allocation of the fund to exceptional early stage opportunities. We’re typically investing anywhere from 1 million to 50 million in a company depending on the size and scale of the opportunity.

You look at many different companies, what’s most important to you when you’re evaluating them? What are you looking for?

Well we segment it into 3 broad categories: The first thing is the size and scale of the market opportunity. For instance, healthcare and FinTech are both multi-trillion dollar industries, they’re massive. So if a company can’t show a big growth opportunity, then it has a problem. The 2nd thing is its strategy; the company must be offering a must-have solution for their customers, so in health care, these are things that contain costs, enhance quality and improve the consumer experience. And then 3rdly and frankly most importantly is that it must be led by an exceptional entrepreneur. This is critical. So these are the 3 areas that we focus on and you’ll find that in everything we do.

What advice to have for a first time founder?

The importance of people within the organization, because people are everything. They need to maintain a very high standard within the company to make sure they’re recruiting the best, keeping the best and motivating the best, and it’s constantly moving, these are high growth companies. Our companies are in hyper-growth mode, but it’s critical that the entrepreneur always spend time looking, listening and acting quickly in this area.

What’s the common denominator that stands out to you across all the investments that you’ve made when you look back on your history?

Strength of the management team, bar none. It is something that’s been a part of all of our successes and it’s frankly a very valuable asset for our firm. When a new team comes in, we’re able to evaluate them against those past successes and see if the key ingredients are there to where we see a future success coming down the road with that team.

Watch our Facebook Live video of the interview and learn more about VC Andrew Adams' background and his work at Oak HC/FT.

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