The intersection between biology, healthcare, and computing is an area of innovation that I have been fascinated by for a long time.
From writing my undergraduate thesis on DNA sequencing technologies and the path towards personalized medicine, to leading Shasta Ventures’s investments in Athelas and Color Genomics, I have witnessed the evolution of this category for over a decade. With recent activity such as Roche’s $2.1B acquisition of Flatiron Health, it feels like we are in the first innings of some extraordinary business creation in this sector.
During my explorations in genomics a few years ago, I met Nancy Yu, who was then leading corporate development at 23andMe. Nancy turned out to be an entrepreneur-at-heart, and she connected with Onno Faber as they were both exploring startup ideas. Onno co-founded social product Taptalk a few years ago, but then had a life-changing health experience. He was diagnosed with a rare disease, NF2, and began to search for diagnostic and treatment options.
Onno and Nancy realized there’s an opportunity to do in rare diseases what Flatiron has done in oncology — to aggregate clinical data from patients, and to leverage that data in clinical trials and other use cases for biotech and pharma. This can ultimately lead to the creation of therapeutics, diagnostics, and more, for patients with rare diseases such as NF2.
That’s RDMD, our latest seed investment at Shasta Ventures. We are thrilled to partner with Nancy and Onno in their $3M seed round, along with our friends at Lux Capital, Village Global, First Round’s Healthcare Co-Op, Garuda Ventures, and a number of phenomenal angel investors. We are excited to help them build a business from the ground up that improves the lives of the millions of people on our planet who suffer from rare diseases.
The company is based in San Francisco and building a world-class team across computer science, molecular biology, medicine, and business. If you are excited about a future where treatments get developed for the rarest of diseases, come join us!