26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: John Banta, president and managing director, Blue Venture Fund

John Banta serves as president and managing director of the Blue Venture Fund, a corporate venture capital (CVC) unit with $830m under management across four funds sponsored by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, a federation of 36 US health insurance organisations.

Banta has been with the unit since 2014 and is responsible for maintaining relationships with all stakeholders to ensure the operational success of the fund, and for the generation of an appropriate rate of strategic and financial return.

Banta said: “The last decade has been a period of unprecedented change in healthcare. We have been privileged to play a market-leading role in supporting top entrepreneurs driving innovation within that dynamic marketplace, including several that are supporting the response to the global covid-19 pandemic.

“The recent events highlight the importance of some of the innovation themes in which we have been most active, including shifting the site-of-care to the home, virtual forms of delivery, and all aspects of facilitating and enhancing digital customer experience. We have also recently completed a successful raise of a fourth fund, including the participation of the overwhelming majority of the 36 Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurance plans, nearly tripling the size of the program in the last five years.”

During this past year, Blue Venture Fund backed on-demand virtual care service CirrusMD, care engagement platform Insightin Health, healthcare analytics technology provider Lumiata, neurodegenerative diseases’ care management platform Octave Bioscience, cancer care management startup Onc.AI and mental health therapy evaluation service Owl Insights.

The unit exited cancer screening technology developer Thrive Earlier Detection in an acquisition by molecular diagnostics system provider Exact Sciences, while healthcare diagnostic test provider PWNHealth was purchased by digital health group EverlyWell.

Artificial intelligence (AI)-equipped healthcare system connection platform Olive bought Verata, which uses AI to automate simple and complex prior-authorisations for both payers and providers. Patient engagement technology provider Phreesia went public in a $125m initial public offering.

It is success supported from the top. Bob Kolodgy executive vice-president and chief financial officer of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said: “The now four Blue Venture funds continue to be very successful, providing solid financial returns and tremendous strategic value to the roughly 40 Blue entities who have committed capital to the funds.

“This is a table the Blue company executives want to be at, which is one of the great strengths of the programme. This collaboration serves to bring innovation to the health care ecosystem and creates a competitive advantage for Blue Cross Blue Shield companies. John is at the centre of all of this and his contributions to the continued success of the Blue Venture funds have been tremendous.”

From 2002 to 2014, Banta was chief executive and managing director of IllinoisVentures, an early-stage technology investment firm launched by University of Illinois and focused on companies deriving from Midwest universities and labs. Before joining IllinoisVentures, he was the president and chief operating officer of DigitalWork, a Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Dell Ventures portfolio company, having served as head of corporate and business development.

Edison Fu

Edison Fu is a reporter and Asia liaison at Global Corporate Venturing.