H Venture Partners launches venture studio focused on microbiome tech

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H Venture Partners is launching a venture studio that will focus on sourcing microbiome technologies and materials that can be commercialized and turned into startups. 

The firm said on Friday that it will source talent who can solve health problems like depression, cancer, eczema and neurodegenerative diseases. This expansion is in part funded by H Partner’s Fund II, which just announced a $10 million investment from the State of Ohio. Fund II is now oversubscribed with $24 million in total funding.

“We are tackling the top two threats to humanity,” Elizabeth Edwards, the firm’s founder and managing partner, told TechCrunch. “Our primary focus is preventing antibiotic resistance and our secondary focus is reversing climate change and eliminating petrol-based plastics.” 

Edwards hopes to invest in at least 13 early-stage companies, with check sizes ranging from $500,000 to $1 million. The firm’s portfolio already includes companies like Felix Health and Parsley Health; and it has more than $40 million in assets under management. 

So far, companies with at least one woman founder have raised more than $2 billion in funding in the pharma and bio sector, according to Pitchbook; last year, such groups raised $5.4 billion out of around the $18.4 billion that was invested in the sector altogether.

Edwards founded H Ventures in 2017 and the firm remains female-founded, owned, and operated. The firm’s goal is to help support more marginalized founders, and it aims to continue doing that at a broader scale with this new venture studio and new fund. Currently, H Ventures invests more than 90% of its portfolio into marginalized founders, helping to bring more women and people of color to the forefront of biological sciences at a time when less than 2% of all venture funding goes to such groups. 

“If you think that investing in women is a bad idea, you’re missing half of the best opportunities in the world,” Edwards said, adding that the firm believes in “excellence through inclusion.”

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