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Oct 12, 2017

I talk with Scott Barclay today. Scott is a partner at Data Collective (DCVC), an early-stage fund that makes venture capital investments in data scientists and entrepreneurs working on hard big data problems. We discuss what it takes for an entrepreneur to succeed in the healthcare ecosystem today, including an essential ingredient: Empathy.

Data Collective is a $1bn+ venture capital firm focused on early-stage investing in deep tech and data compute, based in Palo Alto and San Francisco but investing globally. Scott focuses on health and data and leads the firm's practice in Computational Care, envisioning and funding the future of special early-stage teams working on hugely ambitious problems in how health care is provided and applied with data and empathy. Current board or investment roles include Karius, Element. AI, Unity Medical, Enzyme, Medical Informatics, Noteworth, SafelyYou, PatientBank, BlueTalon, InnaMed and Subtle Medical.

By background, Scott is a serial angel investor and adviser in health and data
start-ups. Scott helped create and scale the first massive digital health platform 
(Surescripts) and served CVS Health as a GM and innovation leader across the company's health care and retail assets. Previous stints include the Boston Consulting Group, starting a capital markets desk in London for Banc of America Securities, and an MBA from Insead. Scott grew up in rural Virginia and worked many summers in a manufacturing plant, and graduated from the University of Virginia where he was militantly liberal arts and math and science. 

00:00 What Data Collective is.
01:30 Scott’s time as Director of Strategy at Surescripts.
03:45 E-Prescribing.
07:30 Identifying problems and asking why we can’t handle those problems differently.
08:05 “There is no innovation without execution.”
09:00 Having empathy for the problem.
10:00 Why this isn’t a place for incrementalism.
12:30 “We don’t have an Elon Musk of how we provide healthcare.”
15:00 Why we need empathy when solving problems in the provision of care.
16:00 Three business models that work, and where empathy sits in each one.
25:25 Virta Health as an example for modeling successful healthcare provision.
26:30 Carrum Health and Bundled Health Care.
29:40 The problems Scott is ready to see solved and invest in.
30:15 “None of us can see the whole forest and also experienced all of the nooks and crannies of that forest floor.”
33:00 “The lever that we believe in is the spirit of the entrepreneur.”
35:50 You can learn more at or by emailing