26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: Rob Coppedge, CEO, Echo Health Ventures

Rob Coppedge manages Echo Health Ventures as chief executive, after the corporate venture capital (CVC) division was formed in November 2016 as a result of the merger between health services provider Cambia Health and Mosaic Health Solutions, the CVC arm of health insurance provider Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCNC).

Cambia Health Solutions CEO Mark Ganz said of Echo Health Ventures: “Echo is the vehicle in which we find companies. We give them much more than funding. We give them ways in which their product or service can be even more effective and gain traction more quickly. Their innovation can become part of our larger platform for innovation in healthcare.”

Cambia hired Coppedge in 2010 to conduct CVC deals. He co-founded the Cambia Grove, an innovation hub focused on catalysing and supporting the Pacific Northwest’s emerging healthcare economic cluster, five years later.

Coppedge now leads the Echo team to identify emerging technologies that are of strategic importance to the parent firms’ healthcare and insurance businesses. He works with senior leadership teams of both Cambia and BCNC to create collaboration opportunities.

Marking its fifth anniversary in 2021, Echo experienced numerous highlights. Echo launched an investment collaboration scheme, Echo Innovation Alliance, with health insurance provider Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield in January 2021.

The initiative involves Echo and Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield’s USAble Corporation subsidiary partnering on investments in developers of transformative healthcare technology, services and digital health products.

In addition, Echo exited telehealth technology provider American Well (AmWell) when it raised $742m in an initial public offering (IPO) in September 2020.

The unit has most recently invested in health data services provider Vericred, healthcare provider Cityblock Health, molecular technology platform developer Scipher Medicine, kidney care provider Strive Health and home healthcare service DispatchHealth.

Coppedge added: “Also, as of March 2020, Echo has fully exited Livongo following its 2019 IPO, generating proceeds of $13.4m versus $4m of original invested capital. The cash-out recapitalisation by one of Echo’s managed investments yielded a total transaction value of $95m to Echo, including $45.3m in cash proceeds, versus original aggregate invested capital of $33.5m.”

Corporate investors have many intrinsic advantages including unique market and subject matter expertise, freedom from the traditional 10-year fund model and the ability to bring high-impact strategic value at critical times in the early stages of a company’s development, argued Coppedge.

“One of Echo’s key success factors has been strong executive leadership support from each of its parent entities. Echo’s investment committee comprises both CEOs and CFOs from Cambia and BCNC,” he noted.

“Additionally, our board is made up of board members from both Cambia’s and BCNC’s board of directors. Echo’s success is largely dependent on having the buy-in and support from top-level leadership at each parent, which ultimately helps drive partnerships and successes across all levels of each entity.”

The balance of strategic and financial goals is crucial, Coppedge explained: “At Echo, we draw bold lines between our strategic investment program and any procurement or corporate development effort. Our goal is investing to build and grow tomorrow’s great companies that are built for long-term sustainability, not for quick flips.”

Before founding Echo, Coppedge oversaw Cambia’s operating companies including cost and quality transparency market leader HealthSparq and ancillary benefits provider LifeMap, as well as its venture and private equity investing activities.

Prior to Cambia, Coppedge was the founding partner of Faultline Ventures, where he worked with numerous early-stage companies and strategic investors. Previously, he was a partner at healthcare IT-focused VC firm Capitol Health Partners.

Edison Fu

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