UnitedHealth's Optum launches $250M investment fund

Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth's Optum unit launched a $250 million investment fund to invest in healthcare-focused startups, Forbes reports.

UnitedHealth and Optum executives announced the creation of the fund, Optum Ventures, during an investor conference in New York City Tuesday. The goal of the fund is to invest in digital health firms "that use data and insights to help improve consumers' access to healthcare services" and improve "how care is delivered and paid for … [to] make the health care system more reliable and easier to navigate," according to the report.

The venture fund will operate as a separate independent company funded by Optum. Officials have already compiled a list of early investments, including Apervita, a data analytics solutions provider that aims to improve healthcare delivery, and Buoy Health, a health technology firm that is using data analytics to create an artificial intelligence-powered digital health assistant.

"Optum Ventures is uniquely positioned to help develop and grow startups and early-stage companies through capital investment, Optum's decades of experience in healthcare and our access to the healthcare marketplace," said Larry Renfro, CEO of Optum. "Optum Ventures will be the partner of choice for companies developing innovations that help make healthcare work better for everyone."

Mr. Renfro will also serve as managing partner of Optum Ventures.

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