By Brian Chee, Partner, Polaris Partners
At Polaris, we see the beauty in repetition. For nearly 20 years, we have been partnering with a select group of individuals through who we have shared success with and who we have been fortunate enough to back again and again….and sometimes again and again and again. While it’s no secret that successful company building is as much about special people as it is about innovative ideas, our focus on relationships permeates everything we do and is evidenced in all investments we make.
Over the last quarter alone, our firm invested in three new companies started by leaders who previously founded or held significant management roles at former Polaris-backed companies. They all had had fantastic investment outcomes.
In March, we announced two Polaris repeat entrepreneur financings. First was the $36 million backing of U.S. HealthVest, a behavioral care development company started by Dr. Richard Kresch. Richard previously led Ascend Health, which was acquired in 2012 by Universal Health Services for $500 million.
Second was an investment in affinity purification products company Avitide which was co-founded by Tillman Gerngross.
Tillman is also the co-founder and CEO of Polaris-backed Adimab, an exciting antibody drug discovery company; and previously co-founded Polaris-backed GlycoFi, a biologic drug optimizing company that was acquired in 2006 by Merck for $400 million.
In April, we announced the $14.5 million financing of AgBiome, an agricultural products firm started by Scott Uknes and Mike Koziel. Scott and Mike previously built Athenix, an agro-biotech acquired in 2009 by Bayer CropScience for $365 million. Our relationship with Scott goes back even further to his time at Paradigm Genetics, an early Polaris investment that successfully went public in 2000.
Also in April, we announced that Tim Kilgallon joined our west coast office as CEO-in-residence. Tim is the former CEO of Polaris-backed Free & Clear, the successful wellness and disease management services firm acquired by Alere in 2009. We’re working hand in hand with Tim to explore tech-enabled solutions for better living. We eagerly await the backing of his next endeavor.
Proven entrepreneurs like these generally have no shortage of options when looking to finance a new company, and we are fortunate to be their partners. Yet, they’ll tell you that there’s a lot more than money that goes into forming great partnerships. Trust, sound judgment, and patience are three factors that come to mind.
We are passionate about building our community of entrepreneurs — again and again.