Welcome to our Member Spotlight series where we give a profile overview of our many diverse members. For this deep dive, we spoke to Juliet Tammenoms Bakker and Patrick Enright, Managing Directors at Longitude Capital, to learn more about their firm.
Tell us about your firm. What makes it different?
Longitude Capital is a leading healthcare venture capital firm that invests in transformative biotechnology, medical technology and health solutions companies. We are proud to be a female co-owned firm and have raised nearly $2 billion in cumulative capital commitments across five funds since our inception in 2007.
We focus on investments that can deliver key value-creating milestones and attractive venture returns within three to five years from our investment date. Our investment strategy is quite flexible, whereby we can invest across all stages of a company’s life cycle in both publicly traded and privately held companies and in special situations like spin-outs, recapitalizations, and certain public company structures. We also conduct extensive proprietary thematic research to proactively analyze sectors, therapeutic areas, and technologies of interest to support our investment strategy.
But at the end of the day, it comes down to the people we are privileged to work with, from our Longitude team to the extraordinary entrepreneurs that we fund and the limited partners that support our firm and our mission to generate compelling investment returns by advancing critical therapeutics, devices, and health solutions to people that need them.
Where did your firm’s name come from?
Our company name was inspired by the Longitude Prize, a competition for financial reward established by the British monarchy in 1714 to solve one of the greatest economic and technical problems of the day, namely that there was no instrument that would allow a ship to determine where it was on its voyage relative to its intended longitude. This would result in fleets losing their way with significant loss of cargo and life. After years of perfecting his device design, self-educated John Harrison won the prize for his innovation, the Harrison Chronometer, that allowed ships to stay on course by accurately calculating their location at any given time. We think the Longitude Prize is an apt metaphor for our endeavors – we invest in outstanding entrepreneurs and their technical innovations in order to address problems of significant clinical, social and economic importance.
What defines your portfolio?
We invest across three healthcare sectors – biotechnology, medical technology, and health solutions in companies that have near term value-creating objectives. Since last year, our funds have announced 8 IPOs, 4 M&A transactions, and 18 new investments. Representative investment examples from our portfolio include:
- Aimmune Therapeutics, a biotechnology company that has developed the world’s first approved treatment for peanut allergy in children. Longitude was the founding Series A investor in 2013. The company went public in 2015 and was acquired by Nestlé Health Science for $2.6 billion in 2020.
- Axonics Modulation Technologies, a medical technology company that has developed and is commercializing novel implantable rechargeable sacral neuromodulation (SNM) devices for patients with urinary and bowel dysfunction. Longitude led the company’s Series C financing in 2018 and Axonics went public later that year, and today has a market capitalization of approximately $3 billion.
- WelbeHealth, a health solutions company dedicated to providing better and less expensive care to vulnerable, dually eligible seniors through PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), a comprehensive medical and social care model designed specifically for this patient population. Longitude co-led WelbeHealth’s $30 million Series C in 2019 and 2020.
How is the firm different today than when you first started?
The most significant difference is our size. In 2007, we started Longitude Capital with five people and raised our first fund of $325 million. As of today, we have invested in over 75 portfolio companies and experienced more than 35 exits, we have raised five funds totaling just under $2 billion, and we have built a team of 34 total employees as well as a 15-member Industry Advisory Board. In 2019, we established an office in Boston, Massachusetts to be closer to the explosive growth of the biotechnology industry there. Most recently, we formalized our Longitude Research Network (LRN) through the addition of multiple Longitude Fellows with technical and/or clinical expertise in our preferred investment areas.
While we have grown tremendously over the last fifteen years, we are still the same in many ways. We continue to focus on breakthrough technologies and solutions with the potential to improve standards of clinical care, improve quality of life, and improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery. We maintain deliberate, transparent and collegial due diligence processes that drive effective and efficient investment decisions. Finally, we believe in the value of highly functioning teams, both within Longitude Capital and across our portfolio companies, that drive attractive returns for our LP investors.
What are the benefits of being an NVCA member?
The NVCA is the venture capital community’s collective voice to advocate for VC investors and entrepreneurs’ ability to drive innovation towards a more prosperous and sustainable future. We not only believe in, but are proud members of the NVCA and its sister organizations like Venture Forward because of their pivotal work in our industry and their alignment with our values. Patrick currently serves on the NVCA Board of Directors and we see first-hand how the NVCA sets direction and policy for both our industry and the broader innovation ecosystem in the U.S. We also recently co-sponsored a life sciences cohort for Venture Forward’s VC University. It has been incredibly rewarding to provide the opportunity for underrepresented individuals to learn fundamental investing principles and to gain mentorship and access to the VC world through this program. This initiative reflects our efforts to enhance diversity, both within Longitude and at our portfolio companies. We look forward to continuing to support the NVCA, Venture Forward, and VC University.
What’s ahead for your firm in 2021?
We are really excited about the remainder of the year and capitalizing on the positive momentum that we have enjoyed over the last few years. We just announced the closing of our inaugural opportunities fund, Longitude Prime Fund, L.P., with $135 million in capital commitments. This new vehicle is an expansion of our platform and will invest primarily in the crossover and IPO financings of selected breakout companies from the firm’s existing investment portfolio. Over the next year, our team is focused on investing the Prime Fund, as well as our most recent core fund, Longitude Venture Partners IV, L.P., which launched last year with $585 million in capital commitments and is approximately half invested.
Describe your firm’s culture in 5 words or less.
Curious, entrepreneurial, returns-driven, humble, and team-oriented!
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Sabrina serves as the Vice President of Communications and Marketing at the National Venture Capital Association, where she leads the communications strategy to strengthen the voice of the U.S. venture capital and startup community. As a leader with 20+ years of strategic communications experience, Sabrina is instrumental in amplifying NVCA voice on pro-business policies that help create American jobs and support America’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.