"We CAN do hard things."
― the late Marilynn Woodcock
The most important thing about an early stage company is the team. What gives them their unfair advantage? Is it their background? Is it their technology knowledge? Is it their network or customer acquisition experience? Ideas may change, but a great team will figure out how to make a great company.
Startups are incredibly hard. The speed of Silicon Valley is hard. I have been a founder, so I understand the pressure, the extreme ups and downs, and the lack of balance. After experiencing burnout myself, I would say finding your own moments to relieve stress is the most challenging part.
Founder empathy is my “superpower.” If you haven’t been an operator, you just wouldn’t understand. I can be there as a support for founders through the ups and the downs.
I’m a data nerd, so I look forward to the day that data becomes useful enough and AI smart enough to make decisions for us. Interoperability and data standardization is still a challenge for many industries, especially ones like healthcare, but I’m convinced it will get there.
In 2011, I launched a startup that was using machine learning to mine data from the insurance companies and normalize it to give to the end user. It was not very scalable. Then in 2012, I joined the White House CTO as an advisor for setting data standards in the US for health data. The infrastructure has come a long way, but now we have a plethora of new data sources from sensors and wearables that have yet to be incorporated.
Health is an obsession of mine, so it’s fitting that I lead the HealthTech investments for Yamaha Motor. I have been “biohacking” for decades trying to extend my healthspan as well as my lifespan. In my spare time, I try to keep up with my husband’s kiteboarding (he’s an Olympic athlete).
Rebecca is an Investment Principal at Yamaha Motors Ventures where she focuses on Health Tech and Mobility investments. Previously she was a Venture Partner at 500 Startups, focusing on health tech and has led 40+ investments in companies that span digital health, insurance, care delivery, Pharma, and therapeutics, among others. Prior to that, she founded Cake Health (acquired in 2015), to help individuals track and manage their healthcare expenses, and was a TechCrunch DISRUPT finalist.
Rebecca is recognized as one of 70 Digital Leaders by the United Nations, and has also been an advisor to the White House on health data standards for patient access during the Obama administration.
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