It is always nice to ring the bell when a great person joins our investment team – this time we get to ring the bell twice.
Venture capital firms simply do not need to hire a lot of people. While we will make at least several dozen investment decisions together over the course of a fund, we might only make a handful of hiring decisions. Each addition to the team is important and well-considered with an extensive interview process and a long courtship. Notwithstanding that, recruiting Uma Veerappan and Kelly Scherrer were easy decisions and are two more important pieces to the puzzle.
Uma is well-known to the Flare Capital team. While earning her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business last year, she was a Flare Scholar in the great Class of 2021. She did terrific work on a number of projects, including the closing of our investment in Elektra Health. As soon as we first met Uma, we knew she was special. Her passion for healthcare and deep understanding of this sector’s many complexities and nuances were immediately evident. While in business school, Uma both worked with a few healthcare technology start-ups and held roles at two venture firms.
Earlier in Uma’s career, she was a Strategy Consultant at EY with a particular focus on launching next-generation products at the intersection of healthcare and technology. Specific areas of interest included applications of artificial intelligence and surgical skills assessment. Prior to her time at EY, she was a Fulbright Teaching Grantee in South Korea. She is not just steeped in the healthcare technology sector and worldly but is whip smart having been recognized as a Woodruff Dean’s Achievement Scholar at Emory University, where she earned her BA in Economics and Educational Studies. I am certain we have a lot to learn from Uma.
And we may have hit the lottery twice this summer when Kelly Scherrer joined the firm as Controller, further strengthening the “back of house.” Given the volatility and general decline in economic conditions, coupled with having raised our third fund, it is even more important now that we double down on our ability to carefully monitor and support our portfolio companies. Kelly’s impact has been immediate and profound, leveraging her work both at RSM and PwC where she focused primarily on tax compliance for hedge funds, venture capital, and private equity firms. In an environment where financings will be harder and close attention to underlying financial and operating performance of our portfolio companies is critical, Kelly meaningfully advances the cause for the firm. And she is also super smart, having earned her B.S.B.A. with concentrations in Finance and Accounting from Northeastern University’s D’Amore McKim School of Business.
Quick update on our Flare Scholars program and Flare Scholar Ventures (FSV), which is our commitment to invest a portion of our new fund in the pre-seed rounds of Flare Scholar sponsored projects. With 254 Flare Scholars, who are young brilliant passionate emerging healthcare technology entrepreneurs, we now have 13 FSV companies, exceeding our initial goal – and a handful of those companies have already graduated by raising proper seed or Series A rounds. We could not be more impressed with the quality of all our Flare Scholars, but particularly the exceptional Class of 2022. The progress of the FSV program is inspirational as we continue to on-board the next generation of great healthcare technology entrepreneurs.
We will look to recruit the Class of 2023 Flare Scholars this fall and remain committed to the FSV program as we begin to invest out of the new fund shortly. Capital will always follow great talent and in this market, it will be great talent that wins.
And please join us for our next quarterly Expert Roundtable Series webinar on September 27, 2022 at noon EST. The topic is “Fundraising in a Turbulent Capital Market.”