The Unseen Capital Health fund will support minority-owned early-stage healthcare firm and is a component of Lilly's racial justice efforts


Lilly corporate centre in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Credit: Momoneymoproblemz/Wikipedia.)

Eli Lilly and Co. (Lilly) has made a $30m limited partner investment in Unseen Capital Health Fund (Unseen), a newly-formed venture fund to support the underrepresented communities.

Created by racially diverse and historically underrepresented business leaders, Unseen aims to identify, fund and support early-stage healthcare companies of underrepresented founders and other offering solutions for downgraded communities.

The new investment in Unseen Capital, which is currently active and investing, is expected to help the fund achieve its target of $100m, said the company.

Unseen Capital general partner Kayode Owens said: “Lilly has been a staunch supporter of our mission to source outstanding historically underrepresented founders in health and to redefine what investing in health means for a new generation of founders.

“Unseen Capital is working in lockstep with Lilly to identify and fund those leaders in health doing work that is both amazing and underestimated, as we move to address inequities and access to quality care for all. This marks an important step on our collective journey to change the face of health, but there is much more work to be done.”

According to the company, people from African American and other minority communities are often unnoticed by the US healthcare system.

Also, diverse business founders who understand and work for the healthcare concerns of these communities are often overlooked by traditional capital allocating institutions.

Unseen Capital Health Fund is designed to address the challenges by investing in up to 50 early-stage healthcare firms operated by founders from underrepresented communities.

Lilly said that its $30m investment in the Unseen Capital Health Fund will complement its efforts on racial justice, and provide mission-aligned capital for the fund.

Also, the company is planning to partner with other major companies to hire, train African-Americans into one million family-sustaining jobs, along with strengthening its existing national partnerships for social change.

Lilly chief financial officer Joshua Smiley said: “The pandemic has reinforced our understanding that there is unequal treatment and unequal access to healthcare in underserved communities, made worse by a lack of financial investment for the promising ideas that rise up from within these communities.

“At Lilly, we are committed to helping address systemic inequities in health and business that too often have devastating effects on the lives of historically marginalized people. Our investment in the Unseen Capital Health Fund will allow the Fund to identify, fund and support the most promising founders at the earliest stages of their businesses and help them grow.

“We hope that our investment will serve as a model for how established and emerging partners in health can work together to source, and ultimately scale, the next generation of health companies helmed by founders who are more representative of the communities they serve.”