Welcome to our Member Spotlight series where we give a profile overview of our many diverse members. For this deep dive, we spoke to Nick Naclerio, Founding Partner at Illumina Ventures, to learn more about his firm.
Tell us about your firm. What makes it different?
Illumina Ventures invests in early-stage life science companies with a particular focus on genomics and precision health. Our team and our unique relationship with Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN) is what sets us apart from other firms. Our members have been both investors and entrepreneurs in genomics for more than 20 years, so we bring a deep understanding of technologies and markets. Illumina, our anchor limited partner, is the leader in next-generation sequencing (NGS) and provides us with not only patient capital but proprietary deal flow, assistance with diligence, and partnering opportunities for our portfolio companies.
What defines your portfolio?
Our current portfolio includes 25 companies in the U.S. and Europe in the life science tools, diagnostics, therapeutics, and digital health sectors. Some are developing the picks and shovels to accelerate genomics research, while others are leveraging genomics to create more informative diagnostics, develop better drugs, or change healthcare paradigms. We invest as early as seed-stage and support our companies through their IPOs. We look for great teams with broadly applicable technology platforms, going after large markets and value strong investor syndicates.
How is the firm different today than when you first started?
Illumina Ventures spun out of Illumina in April 2016. We started with a $100 million anchor investment from Illumina but have raised most of our capital from other strategic and financial investors. Our current limited partners include other corporations in both healthcare and technology, university endowments, sovereign wealth funds, and family offices. As the fund and team have grown, we can lead more ambitious projects while maintaining our core focus and values.
Why is your firm a part of NVCA?
The NVCA is the fabric that brings the venture industry together. It provides a forum to meet and share ideas with other investors, offers valuable resources, and helps the industry speak with one voice. NVCA advocacy for policies that support and encourage entrepreneurial activity is vital.
What’s ahead for your firm in the next year?
We recently closed our second fund of $325 million and have been busier than ever. We have continued to pursue new investment opportunities throughout the pandemic and are working closely with our existing portfolio companies to adapt to the new normal. The public markets increasingly value genomics-related companies, creating strong tailwinds for our current portfolio. To expand our capacity, we are seeking associates and analysts to join the firm. For more information, go to https://www.illuminaventures.com/.
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