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LifeLine Ventures: The $100 million, one (anonymous) investor fund

LifeLine Ventures seems pretty much like any other venture capital fund except for one thing: the $100 million fund was sourced entirely from one investor. Not surprisingly, the Farmington Hills, Michigan-based fund’s managing director Ranjit Kommineni declined to identify that investor. (Kommineni is likely the envy of VCs everywhere for his one-stop fundraising.) “We’re more […]

LifeLine Ventures seems pretty much like any other venture capital fund except for one thing: the $100 million fund was sourced entirely from one investor.

Not surprisingly, the Farmington Hills, Michigan-based fund’s managing director Ranjit Kommineni declined to identify that investor. (Kommineni is likely the envy of VCs everywhere for his one-stop fundraising.)

“We’re more business guys; we’re not the typical investors,” Kommineni said of  LifeLine. “Since we’re funded by one private individual, we’re not in a hurry to get into a deal. We’re patient and would rather get into the right company.”

Though the fund launched in 2009, it’s only found the “right company” twice, but Kommineni said LifeLine has a couple term sheets out and is looking to make more investments soon.

LifeLine’s portfolio consists of Columbus, Ohio-based CardiOx, a heart-test device startup, and New York-based UltraLinq, a health IT firm. UltraLinq runs a cloud-based software service that allows for easy sharing and managing of medical images among physicians. LifeLine recently led an $8 million series C round for CardiOx, which is developing a noninvasive way to detect right-to-left heart shunts — a defect known as a patent foramen ovale or PFO.

LifeLine’s sweet spot for investment is mid-stage device and diagnostics companies that already have a prototype and human data to back up their efficacy, but need more funding for pivotal trials and commercialization, Kommineni said.

LifeLine prefers to invest between $2 million and $10 million per company,  but has no problem if the upper end of that range gets a little higher.

“If we’ve invested $8  million in a company and tomorrow they need another $4 million to go to market, why would we not fund them if we still believe in the management and the product?” he said.

LifeLine plans on investing in eight companies or so over the life of the fund.

It’s no accident that the $100 million fund has kept a low profile, Kommineni said.

“If we were really well-known and went out and advertised, our team would spend more time reading about opportunities we don’t like,” he said. “This way we can approach companies we like. It’s by design that we’ve chosen to be under the radar.”

Kommineni said his message to healthcare entrepreneurs who hit LifeLine’s sweet spot is simple: “If they meet the criteria and they want faster value creation, we are the guys.”