Success for Astia Angels, as First Investment, nVision, is Acquired

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Astia Angels

05 May 2018

Astia Angels, an investment group that exclusively invests in women-led startups has announced its fourth exit, continuing to add to the group’s already impressive investment returns. The return to the investors in the first four exits has exceeded the high end of Astia’s expectations. The group has just completed its 85th investment.

The results include the acquisition of nVision by Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX) for $150 million, and up to an additional $125 million in potential clinical and commercial milestones over four years. This and prior exits demonstrate the caliber and variety of companies that women start and the wide interests of the investment group: Boku, a US-based fintech company listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in November; Cloudamize, a Philadelphia-based Cloud computing analytics company merged last summer withBlackstone-owned Cloudreach; and  Ciel Medical a medical device company which developed a catheter to prevent ventilator associated pneumonia and a second product to accurately place ventilation tubes was acquired by Vyaire Medical in April last year.

“The first time I met Surbhi Sarna, the CEO founder of nVision, in November 2009, I was struck by her intensity, laser focus and, grit – all essential to building a successful company,” recalls Anula Jayasuriya, MD, PhD, MBA, an Astia Board member and member of the nVision Board of Directors at the time. “The opportunity to introduce Surbhi to Astia Angels, an investment group with which I was affiliated that had just started investing in innovative women, was extremely exciting and nVision became Astia Angels first investment.”

“In 2013 when I went out to raise my Series A, it was essential that I find investors who understood my product, the under-served patients, and me as a leader. Astia Angels fit all of this and more, and as a result was the third largest investor in nVision at the point of our acquisition by Boston Scientific,” commented Surbhi Sarna, founder and CEO of nVision. Ms. Sarna is an inventor on a dozen patents and has been recognized as a leading healthcare entrepreneur by Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, TEDMED, and Bloomberg. She studied bioengineering and molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley and graduated in 2007. She first raised funding for nVision in 2011 having personally experienced an ovarian cancer scare. nVision developed the first and only device cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to collect cells from the fallopian tubes, offering a potential platform for earlier diagnosis of ovarian cancer, the 5th leading cause of cancer death in women.

“Our results are not a surprise to us. We knew investing in female entrepreneurs was smart investing, and we knew that few others were doing it,” states Astia CEO, Sharon Vosmek. “The performance of Astia Angels and the acquisition of nVision are successes for innovation, female CEOs, and investors.”

Founded on the principle that gender should not be a factor in the assessment of investment risk, Astia Angels invest across all sectors, stages and geographies; however, the companies must have at least one woman in leadership and present in the capital table of the company.

Astia Angels’ investment philosophy is centered on hard data: that U.S. based venture-backed companies with inclusive executive teams have historically out-performed those with men only.  2017 Annual Start-up Report from TINYpulse, an employee research firm, found that startup companies with female founders “almost universally outperformed their male-only counterparts.” Similar findings were uncovered by a  Dow Jones study that reviewed US-based venture deals (1997-2011) and found that venture backed companies with women in c-level positions are more likely to be successful than those without. Further, the study found that 64% of successful VC-backed exits from 1997-2011 had at least one female executive and women-led businesses generated higher revenues than male-only teams. And even venture firms, themselves, have found this to be true, in 2015  First Round Capital reported that from its own portfolio, startups teams with at least one female founder performed 63 percent better than all male teams. In spite of this, data from 2017 shows that just 2% of venture capital being invested into women CEOs.

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