I first met Vineeta fifteen years ago. She was then an undergrad in one of the most challenging graduate-level classes at Stanford—Chem 275, Advanced Statistical Mechanics. Students dreaded this famously difficult class, which I was teaching. Less than a month into it, the grad students came to me with a special request: could they have two separate grading curves? They wanted one for themselves… and one for Vineeta. This wasn’t an act of generosity towards the only undergrad in a grad-level class. It was because they were afraid she’d throw the curve off for everyone else.
Vineeta’s trajectory has only skyrocketed since then. She has had many different roles in the healthcare space: as a physician, taking care of patients; as an operator at tech-driven healthcare companies; and most recently as a venture investor on the GV (Google Ventures) life sciences team. In her academic work, Vineeta has collaborated with researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to apply machine learning to transcription factor binding sequence motif discovery, and at Livermore National Laboratory, working on image reconstruction for a novel semiconductor-based PET imaging system. As part of her MD/PhD at Harvard Medical School, MIT, and the Broad Institute, Vineeta studied genetic causes of common disease using the largest ever collected human genetic datasets, at the leading edge of the exploding genetic profiling space. But being good at deep science is very different than understanding product market fit and the realities of the healthcare system—and Vineeta has uniquely pierced through the complexities of both, understanding people and organizations just as much as she does math and science.
In both her academic and operational roles, Vineeta crosses traditional industry lines and seeks out companies that bring technology to the world of healthcare: as founder of an early start up, MapDx, which aimed to organize and systematically assess the diagnostics marketplace (an idea then far ahead of its time); as an early data scientist at Kyruus (where she first met and worked with a16z General Partner, Julie Yoo); as a management consultant for biotech, pharmaceutical, and medical device clients at McKinsey & Co; and as a Director of Product Management at Flatiron Health, where she led the company’s partnership with Foundation Medicine to integrate real-world clinical and genomic data into national-scale database products to accelerate drug development and research in oncology. As a physician, Vineeta’s experience taking care of patients in a clinical setting gives her a profound empathy for the challenges that patients, caregivers, and providers face daily—and for how product makes it into the clinical world (or doesn’t).
This kind of domain expertise across both the research and care delivery spaces has given Vineeta a rare super power as an investor: a deeply holistic and thoughtful approach to the entire healthcare delivery and biopharma systems. That super power is what drove many of her investments over the past four years as a Venture Partner on the Life Sciences team at GV , where she focused on biotech companies with a data-driven approach. This broad mandate resulted in investments such as Maze Therapeutics (using human genomics for target discovery and validation), Locana (engineering RNA to treat disease), Spero Therapeutics (tackling antibiotic resistance), and more.
There’s a revolution coming, where the previously siloed worlds of biopharma and healthcare, computer science and discovery all combine to drive forward new classes of engineered therapeutics and tech-enabled healthcare delivery. In this revolution, those who can combine deep domain expertise plus the ability to think at a high level across this broad spectrum will be a step ahead of all the rest—a place that Vineeta, frankly, is used to occupying. I’m delighted to announce that Vineeta Agarwala will be joining a16z as a General Partner—where I’m sure she’ll keep right on bending that curve.