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September 16, 2018 | Tom Ballard

Eller Mallchok explains evolution of Jumpstart Foundry

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

“We’re incentivized to get exits at the highest levels (returns), so we’re willing to wait and hold,” Eller Mallchok, Managing Director of Jumpstart Foundry, a seed-stage innovation fund focused on healthcare technology companies, says.

Launched in 2015 as a result of two major pivots by the Briovation organization, the fund has made more than 60 investments thus far. There were 11 in 2015, 18 in 2016, 16 in 2017, and 13 thus far in 2018.

“We’ve added value and increased value,” Mallchok says of the fund that is part of the Nashville-based Briovation family. Other components include:

  • Health: Further, the annual festival celebrating innovation and looking at the future of health that occurs later this month in Nashville;
  • Jumpstart Capital, a traditional growth fund that invests in high performing companies;
  • OhanaHealth, a connector for bright entrepreneurial to high-growth start-ups; and
  • Solaster and Jumpstart Token, complementary initiatives focused on cryptocurrency in the healthcare sector.

Today, Jumpstart Foundry has offices in Nashville and three other cities – Atlanta; Bentonville, AR; and Chicago. More important, its alumni network transcends all four U.S. time zones.

What does it take to make the Jumpstart grade? The webpage captures it very well. “If your company is partially funded, running its first pilot program, already been through an accelerator or has its first MVP in the healthcare technology space, then let’s talk. If you’re not only looking for money, but looking for the right money, then we’re happy you are here.”

Mallchok is a Chattanooga native who joined Jumpstart Foundry in 2015 as an intern. She assumed her current role, which she describes as being the quarterback, almost a year ago. We recently had the opportunity to hear her describe the evolution of an initiative started in 2009.

“Before we started, the Jumpstart Foundry accelerator was industry agnostic but always had a healthcare component,” Mallchok explained. “The healthcare portfolio companies always outperformed the others, so we switched to healthcare focused fund in 2015.”

In early 2015, Vic Gatto, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Jumpstart Foundry, shifted the focus to healthcare only and upped the level of investment in each. Another evolution occurred that year with the launch of the “Health:Further Festival” of which PYA, the power behind, was a sponsor. This year’s event was held in late August in Nashville at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Music City Center.

Mallchok says Jumpstart Foundry invests $150,000 in each company with a $2 million valuation cap.  The application process begins each winter with selections made in the spring. To be seriously considered, start-ups must have a minimum viable product (MVP).

“I like to see a technical co-founder,” Mallchok says, adding that Jumpstart Foundry also has a tendency to focus on “product or engineering heavy teams that have a sound product.”

“The bulk of our engagement with the companies is the first three or four months after they are selected,” Mallchok says. “Then, we push them out of the nest.”

Jumpstart Foundry plans to make more investments in the 2018 calendar year and is excited about the progress the companies have made.

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