Nancy Brown, a General Partner at Oak HC/FT, joined the firm in 2014 and focuses on growth equity and early-stage venture opportunities in healthcare.
Nancy currently serves on the Boards of Firefly Health, Groups Recover Together, InterWell Health, Maven and Unite US. Nancy is also actively involved with Noom, TurningPoint Healthcare Solutions and Wayspring. Prior investments include Limeade (ASX: LME), OncoHealth (acquired by Arsenal Capital Partners) and OODA Health (acquired by Cedar).
Prior to joining Oak HC/FT, Nancy was Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for McKesson Corporation Technology Solutions. Previously, Nancy was Chief Growth Officer at MedVentive, which was acquired by McKesson in 2012. Before joining MedVentive, she served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development as well as Senior Vice President of Clinical Service of athenahealth. Prior to joining athenahealth in 2004, she was a Senior Vice President at McKesson Corporation, focused on marketing and strategic planning. She joined McKesson in 1999 when it acquired a company she co-founded, Abaton.com, a provider of internet-based clinical solutions for the ambulatory market. Earlier, she spent eight years at Harvard Community Health Plan where she held several senior management roles.
Nancy is also a member of the Dean’s Executive Council at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University and the Future of Healthcare Founder Residency program at the Roux Institute in Portland, Maine.
Nancy received a Bachelor of Science (Zoology) degree at the University of New Hampshire and an MBA from Northeastern University.
- Firefly Health
- Unite Us
- Cricket Health
- OODA Health
Over the past three decades, I've done a full tour of duty in healthcare. I’ve run a payer-provider. I’ve led three startups, two of which sold to McKesson and one of which went public. I’ve run growth for a Fortune-4 healthcare company. And I've invested in some of the most impactful companies out there.
Because I’ve spent most of my career as an operator, I can’t help but dig in with my founders. We go deep on anything they need: Go-to-market, product-market fit, customer access, interventions when contract negotiations are going south, executive recruiting, and rebuilding teams that need a fresh start.
I don’t believe in superficial relationships, because you can’t do this kind of work without trust and honesty. I’m a truth-teller. I respect the boundary between what’s helpful and what’s not, based on my own startup experiences and all the companies I’ve worked with since. I help CEOs understand that their journeys will be rocky, but that is normal and it’s all part of the process. The best entrepreneurs know that getting money is not hard. An investor who can give you both capital and support through the journey at all levels (operational, financial, technical, strategic, emotional) is much harder to find.
Nancy's Pro Tips
You cannot read about healthcare and understand it because it is not, in fact, logical. 😁
Healthcare is a cottage industry. Every place does things a different way. We must be deliberate about defining the tech-enabled services that can drive better outcomes efficiently and consistently at scale. How do you do that? ASK ME!
Tech is only part of the solution. Handing tech to customers is no guarantee of a consistent outcome. Providers should focus on delivering the best care they can. Our job is to apply efficiently designed processes and useful technology to help them do that at higher quality and lower cost.
Successful companies are demonstrating new holistic approaches to managing populations through cause-and-effect analysis of different approaches to care.
Only the strong survive in healthcare. It's easy to be misled. I'm not saying people are misleading - it's just common to underestimate the complexity of what it takes to succeed.
Successful entrepreneurs identify a large and undeniable problem, go deep to understand the entirety of the current process, and then define a much better one. This is hard, because you have to simultaneously solve all parts of the process to effect change - ALL PARTS. Is the new process truly better? How do you get paid? Does that leave you with margin? How do you get patients engaged? What other parts of the HC ecosystem will be threatened by you? Oh, and how are you managing all of the compliance questions? If you've managed to create real value this way, then the tactics of scaling the business profitably are straightforward.
This is hard but not impossible. Every day our companies choose the harder path, but they work in a smarter way. If you know what problem to solve, you can pour in the same amount of time, energy, and capital, and then drive impact on a completely different scale than everybody else. But that requires the rigor and grit to consistently do the harder thing.