Provident Healthcare Ventures launches with a $25 mil fund

by Olga Deshchenko, DOTmed News Reporter | November 08, 2010
William Shepard,
managing director of
Provident Healthcare Ventures
Since the investment banking firm Provident Healthcare Partners announced the launch of its first venture fund last week, William Shepard's phone has not stopped ringing.

Dubbed Provident Healthcare Ventures, the new venture fund with $25 million of committed capital will finance early-stage, middle-market health care companies with investments ranging from $250,000 to $3 million. PHV plans to inject capital in a number of growing health care sectors, such as health homecare, hospice, infusion therapy and disease and therapy management.

Shepard, managing director of PHV, told DOTmed News he's received close to 200 phone calls with inquiries about the fund opportunities since the announcement.

"Right now, what I am doing out of respect for the volume of calls I've had is attempt to return every single phone call that has been left on my phone to every single CEO, regardless of what space they're in or what type of opportunity they're presenting to Provident Healthcare Ventures," said Shepard.

The development of the venture fund has long been a plan of PHP, which specializes in merger and acquisition advisory, strategic planning and capital formation for emerging health care service companies. Over the past 15 years, the Boston, Mass.-based firm has received numerous inquiries for capital to help companies grow, said Shepard.

The venture fund was realized when PHP's managing partner Bob Ciardi called around to see if there was a possibility to internally raise the fund. PHV was established as an "evergreen fund," a model that allows for the successful exit or sale of companies to be reinvested in other opportunities.

PHV will employ the expertise and skills of PHP's team, which has managed more than 100 transactions with values ranging from $5 to $500 million since 1998.

"We are leveraging the enormous talents and the track record of PHP and leveraging that will new capital," Shepard said. "We believe the best way to show not just our enthusiasm but commitment to this is by using our own capital to establish what we believe will be a successful record and to be able to grow the fund to bigger and better things in years to come."

PHV plans to invest in four to six companies per year. The fund will evaluate the capability of the management team, the use of the capital and the growth potential of the companies that express interest in the available funding.

"I believe we are in a health care space, in a capital range of $250,000 to $3 million that will warrant success if we can partner with the right companies and the right people," Shepard said.

Shepard is currently in the process of returning all the calls and is yet to find a company he wants "to go full steam ahead in," he said.