Maurice, a Venture Capital Analyst for Healthworx Ventures, joined the team in August 2022. Explore Maurice’s Q&A below to learn more about his unique personal experience navigating the healthcare system, and why working in healthcare is particularly appealing.
Q: Tell us a bit about your background. How did you make it to Healthworx?
A: Growing up in New York, I was a serious tennis player. I was recruited to George Washington University in DC to play for their team. I had dreams and aspirations to turn professional, but suddenly I got severely sick. After a year of test after test to try to determine what was wrong, I tested positive for Lyme disease.
It took me a year to get diagnosed, and then many years after that to actually make a full recovery. I still honestly deal with some lingering issues to this day. For me, the silver lining was that it was my first introduction to healthcare. It wasn't work experience, but it certainly was a valuable experience because I had to learn the medical side of things and different approaches to medicine.
I knew I had to hang up the rackets, so I ended up getting connected to somebody who had recently launched a VC firm in New York, and they needed an intern. I always knew I had more of an entrepreneurial spirit, so I definitely didn't see myself going the investment banking route or the consulting route and that internship reinforced all of that. I really enjoyed learning about different companies.
Q: Why did you choose to work at Healthworx?
A: I happened to get connected with Jessica van Dyke, who is also on the venture team at Healthworx and we connected over some shared experiences.
A position on the Venture Capital team is really a dream situation for me. It’s a beautiful opportunity to combine my recent interests in venture capital and the startup ecosystem in general with my passion and forced knowledge of the healthcare industry. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to end up working at Healthworx because, looking back at all I had to go through with my personal health issues, I feel like, in the end, maybe it was all worth it. Maybe this is my opportunity to utilize my experience to play a small role in making positive changes in healthcare.
Q: Throughout that year when doctors were struggling to find a diagnosis for you, you may have identified some holes in the healthcare system. Is there one in particular you think companies looking for venture capital should address?
A: Generally speaking, two areas come to mind that I think, if addressed, could provide better care to more people. One would be putting the focus on diagnosing the root causes of a health issue rather than just the symptoms.
Second would be access. Oftentimes, the more an individual can pay, the better their health treatments and outcomes are. I think there are ways to bridge that gap going forward so quality care can be given to people of all income levels without breaking the bank to get it.
Q: What excites you about working with startups, specifically in the healthcare space? Why do you feel uniquely qualified to work with them?
A: I’m surrounded by really incredible talent at Healthworx to learn from and work with. I think we all feel we're at Healthworx for a greater purpose. We are choosing to be here in part because we know we're doing something in an industry that really will directly impact patients around the country.
And I'm really excited to work with startups because in the healthcare industry specifically, people who are starting companies in this space oftentimes have some sort of similar story, right? It's the classic story of a founder—I saw a problem and I felt I needed to fix it. But in the healthcare space, that generally means they've been through a problem themselves or with someone close to them.
I'm really excited to be supporting entrepreneurs, utilizing what we have at Healthworx to help give a little backbone to their dreams and to know we are really doing something for the greater good, putting an extra emphasis on companies that are really going to help the ecosystem for care.
Q: What is a skill or lesson from your time playing tennis that you will be able to apply to this role?
A: Tennis taught me that in most areas of life, the match ain't over until it's over. I’ve had times on the court where the match seemed over. But because there's no time limit in tennis, over time and with enough experience, you learn there are still so many points to be played.
The VC ecosystem has seen that a million times. Many times, you'll see companies that seem like they're down and out, but they just needed a bit of a strategy shift or a change in their business development plan and then suddenly things turn around. It's good to be individually strong and to have mental toughness throughout difficult times as a startup founder.
Q: How can someone best connect with you?
You can connect with me on LinkedIn here or via email at email@example.com.