Episode 34
Countdown to Day Zero
with Aaron Martin, Todd Cozzens, Lynne Chou O'Keefe

November 4, 2021


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Aaron Martin
EVP, Chief Digital Officer, Providence Managing Digital Partner, Providence Ventures

Aaron serves as Executive Vice President, Chief Digital Officer, Providence and Managing General Partner of PV. He is responsible for leading Providence to become more consumer-focused and technology-enabled in a new world of healthcare.

Aaron has more than 20 years of experience in strategy and technology. Prior to joining Providence, he worked at Amazon and led the team that transitioned traditional publishers from a physical books business to Kindle. Prior to that, Martin served in executive and board positions with a number of successful start-ups, one of which he co-founded. He worked in healthcare for most of his early career. At McKinsey & Company’s healthcare practice, he advised senior executives in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry on mergers and acquisitions and post-merger integration.

Aaron holds a Master’s of Business Administration in finance and healthcare management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Todd Cozzens
Co-founder & Managing Partner, Transformation Capital

 Todd Cozzens brings to Transformation Capital more than thirty years of experience in the digital health industry that includes founding, operating, building, investing in and exiting innovative and market leading companies.  He has a history of creating value both as an operator and as an investor co-founded Transformation Capital and its predecessor management company, Leerink Transformation Partners LLC, in 2016 and serves on the boards of two Fund I portfolio companies: PatientPop and LetsGetChecked (Chairman), and one Fund II company, SWORD.   Todd was formerly on the board of PatientPing before its sale to Appriss in 2021 for $500M and on the board of Health Catalyst for 6 years until a year after its IPO in 2019.

Previously, Todd co-led digital health investing at Sequoia Capital with Transformation Capital Managing Partner Mike Dixon. Todd joined Sequoia Capital in 2012 and helped build several breakthrough companies in digital health alongside Mike where they both were board members of Health Catalyst (IPO in 2019), AirStrip and MedExpress (sold to UnitedHealth Group for over $1.5 billion).   He was also on the board of ZirMed (acquired by Bain Capital in 2017 for over $800 million) and SCIO Health Analytics (acquired by EXL Service in 2018).  Todd remains on the board of Natera (IPO in 2015, current market cap of approximately $9.8 billion).

Prior to investing, Todd was a founder, CEO and operator of two digital health companies taking one public (Marquette Medical) and later selling it to GE and founding, seeding and leading the other (Picis) as CEO and selling it to UnitedHealth Group.

Picis was a specialty electronic medical records business that became a worldwide leader in high-acuity electronic medical records, automating operating rooms, intensive care units and emergency departments of more than 2,000 hospitals in twenty-three countries. Todd co-founded and provided seed capital for Picis and the company was acquired by UnitedHealth Group in 2010 as the company was preparing to file to go public.

Following the acquisition of Picis, Todd joined UnitedHealth Group, the largest commercial health insurer in the world, and helped form its Optum subsidiary, which, today, at over $120 billion in annual revenue, has become one of the most important companies in the digital health landscape, as well as an active acquirer of growth equity-backed digital health businesses.

Before his role in strategy and M&A at Optum, Todd also started a new business unit, Optum Accountable Care Solutions, to enable health systems to bear actuarial risk and transition to value-based care and served as Chief Executive Officer of the unit, which built a revenue base of more than $400 million in 18 months.

Earlier in his career, Todd was the president of a division of Marquette Medical Systems Inc., where he led international sales expansion from 2% to 40% of that company’s revenue.  Todd also co-led Marquette Medical’s initial public offering and assisted in its subsequent sale to GE for more than $800 million.

During Todd’s operating tenures at Marquette Medical and Picis, he was directly involved in raising more than $400 million in venture capital, growth equity, private equity and institutional capital and led six acquisitions which helped further differentiate and grow the parent companies.

Todd graduated from Marquette University, and completed Harvard Business School’s Program for Management Development.

Todd was a member of the US Sailing Team for three Olympiads, reaching a No. 2 worldwide ranking and winning several North American and European championships, two Bacardi Cups and a gold medal in the Pan American Games.

Todd gave up grand prix sailing competition to focus on his other babies – the companies he founded and led and his family, wife Carme, daughters Chloe and Chantal. He has been trying to replace sailing with golf for ten years but admits that course records where he plays are in absolutely no danger of being broken when he’s playing.


Lynne Chou O'Keefe
Founder & Managing Partner, Define Ventures

Lynne Chou O’Keefe is the Founder and Managing Partner of Define Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm focused on investing in digital health companies redefining healthcare. Define Ventures focuses on incubation, seed, Series A, and Series B stage digital health startups (www.definevc.com). Lynne has partnered with entrepreneurs to help them build category defining digital health companies, such as Livongo (NASDAQ:LVGO), HIMS (NASDAQ:HIMS), Unite Us etc. Previous to Define Ventures, Lynne’s experience includes both healthcare operating, investing, and finance roles. Previously, she was a Senior Partner at Kleiner Perkins focused on digital health and connected devices early stage investing. Before joining Kleiner Perkins, Lynne worked at Abbott Vascular and Guidant in multiple roles launching over ten product families in the US and internationally. Lynne was responsible for building the global commercial strategy and therapy development as well as playing a key role in the clinical, reimbursement, and operational strategy for these therapies. Earlier in her career, Lynne worked at Apax Partners with a focus on software venture capital investing. In addition, Lynne worked at Goldman Sachs in the Mergers and Acquisitions group and worked on multiple multi-billion dollar acquisitions and sell side transactions in various industries. Lynne has been named WSJ’s Women in Venture Capital to Watch in 2020. Lynne earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.


Episode Highlights

The full episode appears on The Gary Bisbee Show, and it can be viewed on YouTube or heard on your favorite podcast platform.

For this episode, we are highlighting advice from founders and innovator in honor of our new show Day Zero, which


What advice do you have for leaders early in their career?

Todd Cozzens: Make sure that you’re solving a needed problem. Get out there and talk to your prospective customers. If you’re selling a new value-based care analytics tool, get into every aspect of what that means. Talk to the CFO of the hospital, who is probably still dependent on fee for service. Talk to caregivers, understand the problems they’re experiencing every day. The most successful entrepreneurs are sponges for that type of information.


What makes a good startup CEO?

Aaron Martin: It’s one thing to fail quickly and not burn a ton of money. That is pardonable all the time. It’s a lot harder to fail and burn a ton of money because you keep telling yourself and investors a story that’s just not true. In some cases, to their defense, the data is ambivalent, but in a lot of cases, it’s clear. It’s that you don’t want to wake up and smell the coffee, and you figure you’re going to figure it out along the way.

Truth-seeking is absolutely critical for CEOs. If you look at our portfolio, that is a commonality across all of our CEOs. In every conversation they’re very fact based. They’re trying to focus on what is the truth about the gravitational pull that is going to ultimately move healthcare.


What do you find most fulfilling about being a founder?

Lynne Chou O’Keefe: The idea, it takes over your whole vision. As the founder and the creator, it is everything and you can never turn it off. It’s always about, how do we build to the next level and bring the vision to a reality?

It’s funny how people congratulate you along the way. People say, “wow, you’ve raised three funds.” And I go, “No, this is just the beginning. Can’t you see it?” This is so big, it’s so all encompassing. Maybe I’ll never get to the point where I pat myself on the back. There’s yet another thing as our vision grows and expands to what we believe it could be. I think this is why we are all here: we want to redefine healthcare. We want the vision of healthcare to change. And we feel this utmost responsibility, it has to be done now.

As the founder and creator, when you have an idea, it takes over your whole vision and you think 'we have to do this now. We have to execute faster.' You're always on, building to the next level.


Gary Bisbee, Jr. 00:48

At Think Medium, we create personalized insights for healthcare leaders. As we explore the new health economy on the Gary Bisbee Show and Her Story, we’ve reinforced our belief that healthcare is brimming with new entrants and innovation. And behind many innovations is a founder, a person with ambition, goals, dreams and wisdom to share. So we’re excited to announce that we’re launching a new show on November 16, called Day Zero. Day Zero is dedicated to widening our insights to learn more about the journey, leadership and impact of founders. In honor of our new show, we compiled advice from three founders who have each founded multiple companies, and who we’ve previously interviewed, it’s a sample of what to expect on Day Zero. First is Aaron Martin, Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer of Providence, and Managing Partner of Providence Ventures. We’ll then hear from Todd Cozzens, Founder and Managing Partner of Transformation Capital. Next up is Lynnr Chou O’Keefe, Founder and Managing Partner of Define Ventures. Let’s begin with Aaron.

Aaron Martin 02:01

When you’re kind of starting a business, a lot of the work is just the basic block and tackling of putting the infrastructure in place, trying to generate demand, you know, getting customers to use the platform. So there’s a lot of signal to noise issues. And so I think knowing a lot of that upfront matters, and then also, go to a place like an Amazon or a big organization like Providence, which is great around teaching the servant leadership ideas. Go somewhere where you can really learn leadership, work for a great startup leader, but I think the leadership piece and the management piece is really helpful before you go and raise money and before you go start a business. I’m all about kind of, you know, preparation and getting ready for that because I cringe all the time about like some decisions I made in my first startup, you know, that had I done it in a different sequence, I would have been like, oh, that’s like a no brainer. Don’t do that, right?

Gary Bisbee, Jr. 02:57

Aaron reminds us that it’s okay to make mistakes. However, it’s more efficient to have business acumen up front, rather than having to learn from your mistakes. Next, we’ll hear Todd Cozzens’s advice for early stage entrepreneurs.

Todd Cozzens 03:13

First of all, make sure that you’re really solving a needed problem. And I would say, in your early days, you may have a great idea. I would get out there and talk to who your prospective customers might be, will be. If you’re selling a new value based care analytics tool, I would get into every aspect of what that means. And I would talk to people at payers that are still, you know, talk to the CFO of the hospital, who’s probably still got a huge dependency on fee for service. I would talk to caregivers in ICUs, oncology departments, etc. Understand, really, the problems that they’re experiencing every day, and get a lot of advisors around you that really understand this space. I see the most successful entrepreneurs in this space are sponges for that type of information.

Gary Bisbee, Jr. 04:03

Todd emphasizes the importance of seeking different perspectives to inform innovation. Let’s turn back to Aaron Martin, who highlights an important characteristic of successful entrepreneurs seeking the truth.

Aaron Martin 04:17

Where you see startups fail a lot is, you know, it’s one thing to fail quickly and not burn up ton of money. That is pardonable all the time. It’s a lot harder to kind of fail and burn a ton of money because you kind of keep telling yourself and investors a story that’s just not true, right? And in some cases, to their defense, the data is ambivalent, but in a lot of cases, it’s clear, it’s just that you just don’t want to kind of wake up and smell the coffee and you figure you’re gonna figure it out along the way and find the real opportunity, right? That truth seeking, I think, is absolutely critical for CEOs and if you look at our portfolio, that is a commonality across all of our CEOs, which is, you know, in every conversation they’re very fact-based and they’re very trying to focus on, what is the truth about, you know, the gravitational pull that is going to ultimately end up in healthcare moving in this direction or that direction.

Gary Bisbee, Jr. 05:11

To wrap up, we’ll give you a sneak peek of what you hear on Day Xero from Lynne Chou O’Keefe.

Lynne Chou O’Keefe 05:18

It was my point about having the idea. And then it just takes over your whole vision and viewpoint. And that point of that palpability of, like, we have to do this now, we have to execute faster, we have to learn from the past, but create our own vision of the future. And as the founder and the creator, you just, it is everything and you can never turn it off. It is always on. And it’s always about how do we build to the next level, to the next level, and bring the vision to a reality. And every part of the way and it’s so funny how people can congratulate you along the way. You know, people say, oh wow, you’ve raised three funds. And I go, no, this is just the beginning. Like, can’t you see it? This is so big. It’s so all encompassing. And maybe I’ll never get to the point, and Suchi, it sounds like for you too where we pat ourselves on the back. Like there’s just yet another thing as our vision grows and expands to what we believe it could be. And I think this is why we are all here is because we want to redefine healthcare. We want the vision of healthcare to change. And we feel, like, this utmost responsibility. It has to be done now. This is our time.

Gary Bisbee, Jr. 06:31

Founders are driven not by how the world is, but by how they believe the world could be. They’re truly a source of passion and inspiration. On Day Zero, you’ll hear the engaging voices of founders as they tell their stories from their perspectives, and in their own words. We hope you’ll join us and we look forward to your feedback and suggestions.

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