Health tech – Investor Insider

Meet Lee Shapiro, Managing Partner at 7wireVentures, the investment firm he co-founded over ten years ago. Until November 2020 he was Chief Financial Officer of Livongo Health. Between 2001 and 2012 he was President of Allscripts, executing over $4B in successful mergers, acquisitions, and financings. He’s now an advisory board member of EMERGE GHI, where we recently had a chance to get some valuable insights from him.

#1 – What inspires you to keep going?

We’re inspired by the lived experience of the founders we support to help them build their dreams. The great thing is that working in healthcare gives us a double bottom line, because we’re doing well by doing good. Over 25 years ago, with my long-time business partner, Glen Tullman, we started investing with the idea of using technology to address broken business processes. Initially tackled a broad range of industries, but when we came to healthcare, we found enough broken processes to last us a lifetime! So that became our focus.

#2 – How do you value a company?

We invest early in the lifecycle of a company – at the seed or series A stage. At that point of a company’s evolution, the most important factor in the valuation of a company is its leadership. That’s when the long-term projections are not as relevant as the personal qualities of the founder. So, we look for persistence, integrity, a willingness to learn, confidence, humility, adaptability, and collegiality. And we pay particular attention to the last point, to focus on the people we want to work closely with, because we’ll be spending a lot of time with them, building a business.

#3 – Before scheduling the first meeting, what aspects of a start-up do you analyse as an investor?

It’s crucial for us to establish how much the founder and their team will help to create better “Informed and Connected Health Consumers”, which is our credo. That’s why we conduct an analysis to show how much the planned offering will improve the transparency of health information, care quality, cost and access to and coordination of care. We also look to see if the problem is going to impact a large number of people – not just a niche target. Our initial focus is on the US (where we have strong existing relationships) but we do also consider if there is a global need. In the Middle East, we see significant opportunities for growth and a new openness to innovation.

#4 – Why is it a great time to be alive?

There are some incredible scientific discoveries and advances happening right now. And the convergence of these breakthrough technologies is enabling adoption in practice with unprecedented speed. Just look at the introduction of MRNA vaccines, for example, which mimic the proteins created by a virus, making it possible for our bodies to build the antibodies we need to protect us in the event of such a viral infection. These phenomenal gene editing techniques are enhanced by other tools improving diagnosis, personalizing medicine and allowing us to live longer and healthier lives. Developments like the foregoing open up the possibility to acquire accurate and synchronised information that will allow us to know precisely the right actions to take, and at the optimum time, to better manage our health.

#5 – Can you share an inspirational quote, person, company, and website?

A quote from the great leader, Winston Churchill, immediately springs to mind:

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” 

We’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to address the challenges that stand in the way of so many of us in achieving good health. This is largely due to the cutting-edge technologies that are available in other areas of our lives which are now making their way into healthcare. This has made it possible for more of us to have easier access to treatment and analysis, personalised data and, of course, better affordability.


EMERGE GHI is a global event of the most exciting technology startups reinventing healthcare ecosystems and the industry’s most influential investors. The pandemic accelerated the pace of innovation, so there’s never been a greater sense of urgency and greater need for a platform that drives healthcare progress. EMERGE GHI leads the way in fulfilling this need.

This 2-day event will include prolific startup-investor networking, powerful innovations and profound industry insights.

The event is inspired by and run alongside PrecisionMed Exhibition & Summit, the Middle East’s first and only event dedicated to precision medicine.