Black History is American History. Measuring investment success by societal progress. Oh, and tennis…with Candace Richardson. || EP. 150

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Laurie McGraw is speaking with Inspiring Woman Candace Richardson of General Catalyst.

Candance talks about her investing philosophy, why measuring portfolio success based on societal impact is important, what Black History Month means to her, and then we also talk some girl math – as in when closing the gender health gap has a $1T global impact ….WHY is it that we saw investment in women’s health companies cut in half in the last two years??.  Spoiler alert – the answer is complicated… Well, actually, it is NOT that complicated.  One of the solutions to squaring that circle includes having more women on the funder side of the table.

But first, let’s start at the end and let’s talk tennis!!
Why tennis?  Because Candace loves tennis.  Not just a fan, but a previously competitive player, now turned teacher and coach.  For the past seven years, Candace has been teaching tennis at the Kings County Tennis League, an organization that uses tennis and education to spark the potential in kids living in Brooklyn public housing.  And when Candace talks about what it means to her to be teaching tennis to young kids (4-8 yo), she describes it as “one of the most fulfilling things she has ever been a part of.”

This level of personal commitment speaks to the underpinning of her investment philosophy.  We can bend the cost curve in healthcare, if we direct care to those who need it most.  We can improve outcomes and have financial returns when we focus on historically underserved populations (ie Cityblock Health).  We can hold ourselves accountable for societal impact (Homeward Health’s recent B Corp designation).

And as someone who grew up as someone very interested in history and current events…..expecting to be a journalist…..demanding her parents take her to CNN headquarters just because….Candace also talks about what Black History Month means to her.

“It’s American history and it serves all of us if we have kind of a clearer picture of kind of what got us to where we are today, so we can make sure the future is brighter.
And I think that future gets so much better, much brighter, when we have more people, more women, more black women, more people around important tables making big decisions.”

Guest Bio:

Candace Richardson
Principal, General Catalyst

I grew up in Asheville, North Carolina watching the news every night believing I would become a journalist, keen to have a grasp on what was happening around the world and why. After moving to NYC for college I continued on this pursuit academically, studying economics, philosophy and history but my career aspirations evolved, and like many at that age I entered an exploratory phase professionally. After discovering that my mother had been a political activist in Ethiopia before she emigrated, I traveled there with her to create an oral history project on the role of secondary students in the Ethiopian Revolution, and that got me thinking about a career in academia. I also spent time at a think tank to explore economic policy at the federal and state level. In the end, I received and followed wise advice that a career in finance would keep me connected to current events, and the integral role capital markets play in shaping them, while affording me the opportunity to make a difference in the world.

Beginning my career at Goldman Sachs, I got a fast, immersive education in healthcare finance across the capital structure. I furthered my interest at Town Hall Ventures, where I was able to work closely with companies that serve medically vulnerable and historically underserved patient populations. And because the firm was relatively small, I was able to contribute across a range of essential activities, from raising a fund and portfolio management to observing boards.

General Catalyst has a tremendous opportunity and influence in healthcare, including how care is delivered and paid for successfully, and equitably, for all stakeholders. The firm also has deep technology and consumer experience that is essential to the transformation of healthcare from a “sick care” system to a more proactive and resilient Health Assurance system designed to make quality care more affordable and accessible to help people stay well.

It’s probably no surprise that I enjoy tackling big problems that require extensive collaboration to dissolve barriers and create new solutions. I think of it as a combination of lofty and grounded, creative and practical. It’s the same in my personal life, where you can find me painting one day and teaching tennis to kids the next.

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