Press Release: NLC closes second funding round of Stepping Stone Fund to finance 40 new promising HealthTech ventures

Amsterdam, Thursday 25 March 2021 – We are very pleased to announce that we’ve closed the second funding round of our Stepping Stone Fund. With the Stepping Stone Fund, NLC will invest in 40 early-stage, high-impact HealthTech ventures. NLC – the European HealthTech Venture Builder – offers investors the opportunity to support ventures that can have a life changing impact on patients around the world. With the second closing, the fund now reaches a total size of € 10.8 million.

A diverse and strategic investor base has joined NLC’s mission of advancing health by making impactful medical innovations accessible to all. New investors include the social impact investor Noaber Foundation and LIOF, the regional development agency of the Province of Limburg. Existing investors in the Stepping Stone Fund also include several strategic corporate investors (including Philips), reputed Family Offices and Impact Investors, well-known HealthTech entrepreneurs, as well as five partnerships of medical specialists in the Netherlands (‘Medisch Specialistische Bedrijven’).  

First investments
After the first closing in December, the fund already made its first investments. These included an investment in the development of a new stent for the treatment of deep vein thrombosis. Originally designed at the Maastricht University, this new ‘W-Stent’ optimizes the treatment and quality of life of patients with thrombosis in the legs and abdomen. In addition, the fund invested in FlowView Diagnostics – a start-up that, based on research conducted at UMC Utrecht and Radboud University, is working on an algorithm that can help physicians detect abnormal cells in the blood at an early stage, for example for the treatment and monitoring of leukemia patients. The fund also invested in ‘corporate spin-offs’, including the development of an advanced ‘needle guidance’ system by EchoGuide, based on a technology originating from American Medtech Corporate Avanos. 

Venture Building
Bert-Arjan Middelaar, CEO and founder of NLC, is enthusiastic about the success of the second funding round for the Stepping Stone Fund: “The fund immediately contributes to our mission to bring moreinnovations to the patient. Bringing innovations such as the W-Stent, FlowView Diagnostics and EchoGuide to market can significantly change patients’ lives. This closing enables us to further expand the impact of the Stepping Stone Fund and invest in over 40 ventures that will have an impact on patient well-being. It is an essential step in achieving our goal of advancing health for all.”

NLC has developed a unique venture building model – characterized by ‘entrepreneurship at scale’ – allowing them to leverage their network and expertise to systematically advance and de-risk more innovative ventures than any other player in the space. The Stepping Stone Fund provides seed capital to new ventures originating from universities, academic hospitals and corporates across Europe. NLC distinguishes itself by getting in at an early stage, whereas many other funds feel forced to invest larger “ticket sizes”, in order to put the growing amounts of capital to work effectively and efficiently. At the same time, the Stepping Stone Fund offers investors the opportunity to spread their investment over a large and diversified portfolio of HealthTech startups, all built and supported by NLC. 

About NLC – Build ventures. Advance health.
Since its founding in 2015, NLC has built a portfolio of over 50 healthtech ventures, making it the largest HealthTech venture builder in Europe. The unique NLC approach – ‘entrepreneurship at scale’ – allows NLC to find inventions, and create and support ventures that have a life changing impact on patients around the world. Led by winning teams, together with a dedicated network and driven by data and learnings, NLC builds more ventures every year.

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