In Conversation with Veronica Jow, Founder and Physician at Avid Sports Medicine
As a board-certified Internal Medicine and Sports Medicine physician, Dr. Veronica Jow empowers her patients through the use of empathy, education, and partnership. With a background in medical anthropology and a passion for movement as medicine, Veronica treats everyone from elite athletes to underserved communities in the San Francisco area.
Veronica has over fourteen years of experience in the traditional healthcare setting, as well as experience working with healthcare start-ups. Leveraging her knowledge from working with start-ups that have tried to tackle the medical system before, Veronica now sets her sights on building The Avid Platform, an online resource that solves the challenges faced by people with musculoskeletal conditions.
In this conversation, Veronica Jow and Jenny Kassan discuss their mission-driven approach to funding The Avid Platform.
Why did you choose an alternative to VC-funding to develop The Avid Platform? What approach did you determine would better align with what you wanted to accomplish?
Veronica Jow (VJ): After my previous experience with a venture capital backed company, I was seeking a funding strategy that allowed me to stay aligned with my values and vision for The Avid Platform. I wanted to obtain funding, but not at any cost. I wasn’t sure that was even possible until I met Jenny. The way that Jenny and her team talk about fundraising and mission driven investing is inspiring for both founders and investors.
Jenny Kassan (JK): Given Veronica’s focus on building an online platform, and her being based in San Francisco, many people she talked to assumed she was on the venture capital path, where investors are looking for a fast exit with a high valuation. Veronica’s goal is to make meaningful change in healthcare, so it was clear she needed a different approach. By using a mission-aligned fundraising strategy, we worked together to identify investors that were interested in investing outside of a venture capital model, and honed the messaging to ensure that there was little time wasted with investors who were not the right fit.
What has been the key to successfully securing values-based investors?
JK: For investors that are passionate about investing in a brilliant physician and woman of color working to solve a major problem in healthcare, this total package was a no brainer!
The Avid Platform has very high growth potential, as well as the potential to pay generous returns to investors. We just needed to make it clear that the way investors would get paid would be outside of the venture capital model. I believe that an investment model that relies on building profits and sustainable growth is far more likely to yield healthy returns, rather than a model that relies on the one in a million chance of a big exit. We needed to make it clear that this was not an investment offering that would require investors to sacrifice generous returns, but rather that the returns would come in a different way.
VJ: Jenny’s guidance has empowered me to seek investors where I wouldn’t have thought to look, and because of that, I’ve been able to attract several investors that I feel are totally aligned with my vision.
By expanding the definition of what makes an investor, I’ve been able to help people realize that where they choose to put their dollars is essential to creating the world they want to live in. Investing locally is such a simple and elegant message that resonates with many people.
What is a piece of advice you’d offer to a business owner considering a creative (non-VC) approach to raising capital?
VJ: Using a coach and advisor like Jenny for organization, inspiration, and challenging your own money biases is critical. Non-VC funding is not yet the default model, so sometimes you’ll feel like you’re swimming upstream. Boldness and persistence are needed. It can be a lonely and long road, but with like-minded people around you, it’s easier to stay focused and get results.
About Dr. Veronica Jow
Through medical anthropology courses as an undergraduate at Harvard, Veronica developed an appreciation for the ways that social, cultural, and biological forces influence health and illness. She studied and experienced how the ways we move, think, and feel are interconnected.
Following medical school at Case Western Reserve University, Veronica selected a residency program in Internal Medicine at New York Presbyterian-Cornell because it encompassed a comprehensive view of adult health and illness in one of the busiest and most diverse places in the country. Throughout her training, she gravitated toward the idea of exercise as medicine, and felt most successful with patients who needed help returning to or maintaining an active lifestyle. This led her to pursue advanced fellowship training in Sports Medicine at the University of Connecticut.
Veronica built Avid Sports Medicine in response to the fragmented healthcare model. Avid’s team of professionals created an integrated care model and proprietary protocols that have led to dramatic improvements for their patients. When she’s not working, you can find Veronica running, dancing, roller skating, and parenting her two high-energy kids.