As a physician, Jon Root evaluates investments in the medical field with a practitioner's eye. A common investment criteria when evaluating business opportunities in the biotechnology or medical devices fields is: does this solution meet, or begin to address, an unmet clinical need? Jon goes beyond that: is the innovation easily usable?
"The greatest idea in the world will not be successful if it's not practical to use," says Jon.
Jon spent nine years in clinical practice before joining USVP in 1995 as a Ewing Marion Kauffman Fellow in venture capital. He became a general partner in 1997. Before USVP, Jon was on the faculty and clinical staff at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in New York City. There he was an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Director of the Neurology-Neurosurgery Intensive Care Unit. He is board certified in neurology.
"Efficacy always dictates the doctor's choice of procedure or method," Jon notes. "It's critical to gain feedback from the people who will actually use your product," he says. Whether it's less invasive biopsy procedures or simple changes that make a tissue closing easier, considering the doctor as well as the patient helps optimize product design, Jon adds. "If an easier way is just as effective, there is opportunity for companies to make a difference. If a drug is as effective taken orally versus intravenously, the doctor will probably choose a pill -- if it's available."
Jon is currently on the boards of USVP portfolio companies Articulinx, Cleave Biosciences, eFFECTOR Therapeutics, Inari Medical, Omada Health, OncoMed (Nasdaq: OMED), and Sequent Medical; he is active with USVP's investment in Castlight Health (Nasdaq: CSLT). Jon is a former board member for the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA).
Jon maintains relationships with leading medical schools on both coasts and enjoys helping entrepreneurs make meaningful connections. He helps entrepreneurs connect with leading specialists to gain input on product design issues.
Jon holds an A.B. in Economics from Dartmouth College, an M.D. from the University of Florida College of Medicine, and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.
Jon enjoys golf, plus he likes to swim and ride bicycles with his wife and two sons.