A Talk with Lisa Suennen, GE Ventures
Lisa Suennen (aka Venture Valkyrie, aka Managing Director at GE ventures, aka healthcare connoisseur) is easily one of the funniest people in healthcare.
I got the chance to talk to her and get her thoughts on tech, healthcare, and her writing.
Here's what she said:
Zach: Hey Lisa, so great to talk to you. For my first question: What's exciting you most in healthcare?
Lisa: Hi! Well, recently someone figured out a way to use VR to see lesions to prepare surgeons for operations. That’s cool and it's solving a real problem. The tech itself isn’t groundbreaking but it's an exciting application. Fundamentally that's what get me going: finding ways to apply technology and reduce patient misery
Zach: What needs to change in healthcare?
Lisa: Helping health systems move into a value-based world on the administrative and clinical level, and helping physicians and other clinicians thrive in that environment. Improving patient experience all around, and especially when it comes to avoidance of medical errors. We need to make it profitable and accessible to stay healthy rather than enter the system when you are already very ill.
Figuring out business models that help mental health and key social determinants of health become mainstream opportunities. We also need to figure out the right balance between technology and services. If anyone believes we can take the people and human touch out of healthcare, they are sorely mistaken. We need to make healthcare more efficient but avoid using technology for technology’s sake. I know it sounds heretical but it's important!
We need to make it profitable and accessible to stay healthy rather than enter the system when you are already very ill.
Zach: What's your favorite underdog startup?
Lisa: Healthreveal. Big data clinical analytics that uses deep data sources to identify people before they spiral down from an adverse clinical event. They have some deep clinical knowledge there and they're doing really important work.
Zach: What's the hardest thing in healthcare?
Lisa: Misaligned incentives
Zach: What do new entrepreneurs need to know?
Lisa: One medical experience in your life DOES NOT equal a market. I often see entrepreneurs whose grandmother fell and so they decided to start a company. I doubt some of them talked to anyone other than their grandmother before making a business. You really need to know who your customer is before you get started.
Zach: What made you want to start your blog?
Lisa: Someone said to me no investors are writing a blog in health space. I looked into it and found there was very few health care voices out there and no female voices, which made me annoyed.
Initially, my writing was unformed in terms of intent and role. I didn’t appreciate power of the medium and so I wrote whatever I wanted, but when it started to build I thought 'Wow this is a powerful medium' and realized I could really take it up a notch and get some personal value out of it.
Zach: How do you stay open-minded and informed when investing?
Lisa: One of the few advantages I have at my age is that I experienced life before the internet and mobile phones and appreciate how hard healthcare really was. I see that tech hasn't changed everything because you can't take people out of the equation. Any formula for good solutions in healthcare has to include services + humans + technology. The people are what is important.
Keep up with Lisa's awesome work and insights on her blog, Venture Valkyrie.
Also, fun fact: Lisa just got featured on Times Square a few weeks back