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Meet the investor: Shwan Kazzaz

October 23, 2020

Shwan is a Director of Strategy & Operations, focused on Healthcare. In this role, he builds scalable programs and processes to accelerate the success of our Healthcare portfolio.

Shwan joins B Capital from Collective Health, where he led Strategy, Business Operations, and Commercial Operations. Prior to that, as a consultant at Bain & Company, Shwan focused on growth strategy, organizational design, and performance improvement within the Healthcare practice. Shwan has also held several technology-focused roles within Johnson & Johnson’s Medical Devices and Consumer Products divisions.

Shwan earned a BS in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Shwan, his wife Dina, and their 1.5 year-old son live in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is an avid 49ers fan, a mountain biker, a photographer, and a skier.

What do you focus on at B Capital?

I work with our Healthcare portfolio companies on strategic and operational initiatives central to their growth and scale objectives. That means spending time partnering closely with co-founders to determine the core questions they need to answer to unlock rapid growth, and working side-by-side with them and their teams to answer them. Often, that involves engaging our partners at BCG in an advisory capacity, or to jointly deliver on a project. In addition, I spend a portion of my time on Business Development initiatives, both building the B Capital network and connecting our portfolio companies to potential partners within it.

What attracted you to working at B Capital?

It became clear, early in my conversations with the team, that B Capital is filled with supportive, smart, collaborative, and thoughtful people. That makes for a really great environment. Everyone carries with them a passion for their field that is contagious. For someone with a strong passion for improving healthcare, I knew that my peers would push me and sharpen my thinking. What made things even easier was once I got to know the folks at the firm who focused on Healthcare, we immediately clicked — talking shop and comparing notes on what we were seeing in the space, I knew right away I wanted to have more conversations like that.

The other major factor was the quality of the portfolio. There are some great companies and some very talented founders in the B Capital Healthcare portfolio that I’ve long admired. These are folks that are pioneering new, disruptive models across some of the most exciting sectors of Healthcare, and it’s a pleasure to work with them on a daily basis.

Finally, the role was a perfect fit. What I found appealing early on was that I would get to leverage my startup experience as well as my strategy consulting experience to help founders with their hardest problems. I found that to be a very fulfilling and attractive value proposition, and one that I’ve found to be very real.

If you weren’t in this career, what would you be doing?

I always imagined that if you had to re-roll the dice on my career 10 times, 9 of them would result in me becoming a physician, and only 1 would result in my current path. I have the deepest respect for professionals who have studied for years to be experts in their field, who go to work every day to care for others, and in this current environment — who put themselves at risk to do it. I believe that’s the ultimate act of selflessness and I both admire and envy those who are able to do it.

How have you seen technology innovation impact your function or field?

I often say that “Healthcare” is a big place. In fact, it’s not one place at all, rather a collection of sub-sectors each of which is of the size and complexity to be an industry unto itself. That said, while there are countless examples within each subsector of rapid change as a result of the digitization, one of the broader themes that cuts across them all is the way data and technology have begun to empower patients. For example, platforms like Evidation (a B Capital portfolio company) have already demonstrated how patients can be an active participant in selecting how and when their data is used to advance medical research. Meanwhile, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have finalized a rule guaranteeing patients access to their medical claims data through secure APIs — we have yet to see all the ways in which patients are going to be able to use that information to improve how they engage with the country’s healthcare system. Lastly, patients have had unprecedented opportunities to engage with clinicians in new and exciting ways, for some that might mean a series of micro-interactions through messaging platforms and asynchronous modalities improving health literacy and preventative care. For others, condition management previously only available in a brick and mortar setting is now available in remote settings like detecting heart conditions with the Apple Watch. There remain more questions than answers about how patients will make sense of all the tools and data available to them, but one thing is certain and very exciting — we’re only in the early innings, and deep disruption is inevitable.

What is most interesting or unique about working in venture capital?

I’m most excited by the constant proximity to innovation. I find myself moving from meeting to meeting discussing some of the most interesting and cutting-edge topics in the field. What’s more, is that I continue to have the opportunity to be humbled by the caliber of the founders with whom we partner. Their grit, creativity, and ability to see the world in ways few others can energizes me every day.

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