BioHealth Capital Region Women Making Waves in Venture Capital

Improving access to venture capital for life science entrepreneurs and emerging biopharma companies in the BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR) is a top priority. However, elevating the region’s funding profile is not the only type of access undergoing a transformation in recent years.

Like many biopharma boardrooms, the world of venture capital has historically lacked diversity and, specifically, the presence of women in leadership roles.  

The BHCR has made significant progress in generating VC interest in regional companies; events like BioHealth Innovation’s annual Investment Forum and conferences hosted by TEDCO and the Maryland Tech Council have contributed to increased access to venture capital private equity. 

And now, we’re starting to see more and more women in venture capital positions of influence. 

Both the venture capital access and gender gaps are beginning to close. Necessary changes won’t happen overnight, but both lines of progress are truly exciting and promising developments for the region and the entrepreneurs and young life science companies that call it home.

In 2019, BioBuzz produced a feature story called “Five Female Investors Who Are Making Their Mark in Life Science.” The story highlighted prominent women investors active in the BHCR, including Kyparissia (Kyp) Sirinakis, Co-Founder, Managing Partner at Epidarex Capital; Claire Broido Johnson, Managing Director, Maryland Momentum Fund; Sara Nayeem, Partner, New Enterprise Associates (NEA); and Arti Santhanam, Executive Director, Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII). 

Today we’re profiling several other female leaders at investment funds that play a key role in shaping the investment landscape within the BHCR. 

Monique Adams, 757 Angels

Monique Adams is the Director of 757 Angels, located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. 757 Angels is a select network of over 100 business and community leaders in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia; the consortium provides investment capital, strategic advice, and mentoring to selected startup and early-stage companies to help them achieve market leadership. Adams has led the organization since 2015.

Since its founding, the organization has grown into one of the largest angel investment groups in the U.S., with over 100 members/investors. 757 Angels has invested over $45M of capital in startup and early-stage companies. Monique has recently been named to the Inside Business Power list; she was a 2017 recipient of the Women in Business Award and was a 2019 inductee into the Junior Achievement Hampton Roads Business Hall of Fame.

In March 2021, 757 Angels was recognized for the second straight year as a Top 10 Angel Group in North America by the Angel Capital Association’s Angel Funders Report.

Adams brings an extensive financial services background with senior finance positions to her role as Executive Director. She held senior finance positions at Bank of America’s predecessors in Norfolk and JP Morgan Chase in New York City and Los Angeles. Adams is a graduate of the University of Southern California.

Emily English, Baltimore Venture Partners

Emily English is a Venture Partner at Baltimore Venture Partners (BVP). BVP’s mission is to accelerate biomedical innovation and entrepreneurship in Baltimore through partnerships with leading venture capital firms. The organization has existing partnerships with Sirinakis’ Epidarex Capital, Canaan Partners, Catalio Capital Management, Hatteras Venture Partners, RA Capital, and Town Hall Ventures

English is familiar with the world of academic research, the complexities of tech transfer, and the challenges faced by startups and emerging companies when it comes to funding. English is the former CEO of Johns Hopkins University spinout Gemstone Therapeutics. She is also an alumnus of the University of Maryland (UMD). Currently, She serves on the Advisory Board for UMD’s Department of Engineering and the Board of Directors for the BioTechnical Institute of Maryland, Inc. 

In her role, English will develop strategies to optimize clinical impact and shareholder value; she will operate as a liaison with clinical key opinion leaders to understand unmet clinical needs and issues affecting the adoption of new therapies. She will develop strategies around regulatory reimbursement and commercialization. Also, she will work both in equity capital and non-dilutive fundraising spaces while focusing on cross-functional program management and company scale-up.

Lindsay Ryan, University System of Maryland

Lindsay Ryan is the Venture Development Director for the University of Maryland System’s (USM) Office of Economic Development where she supports the Maryland Momentum Fund; A pre-seed to late-seed stage investment fund launched in 2016 with a $10 million commitment from the University System of Maryland (USM).

The Maryland Momentum Fund helps early-stage USM-affiliated companies bridge from grant funding and angel investment to a Series A round of investment. 

She joined USM after establishing and running a USM-affiliated incubator. Lindsay is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial researchers. Her career has spanned multiple industry sectors, giving her a depth and breadth of experience that will be invaluable to the BHCR companies she supports. 

Lindsay began her career at the National Science Foundation’s Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships, which is home to innovation and startup grant funding programs like the Small Business Innovation Research and I-CorpsTM programs. Lindsay is an Advisory Board Member for the Capital Region Chapter of the non-profit Women In Bio and a Board Member at the Maryland Business Innovation Association and Innov8MD

Olga Maltseva, Catalio Capital Management, L.P.

Olga Maltseva is the Head of Operations for Catalio Capital Management (Catalio), located in Baltimore, Maryland. Maltseva joined Catalio in November 2020. Catalio focuses on biomedical technology companies developing next-generation drugs, devices, and diagnostics; the organization works closely with each portfolio company to build and grow the business from inception to exit.

Maltseva leads all firm non-investment areas, including operations, legal, compliance, communications, information technology, and more. She reports directly to Catalio’s Co-Founders and Managing Partners George Petrocheilos and Dr. Jacob Vogelstein.Olga is an operations leader who has dedicated the last decade of her career to venture-backed startups and private equity and venture capital. She recently worked at Healytics, a genetic data startup, where she led the company’s initial commercialization work and raised its first angel and institutional capital. Before Healytics, Olga led the operations, sales, and marketing teams at Protenus, a health data analytics company. Prior to her work in health technology startups, Olga was Head of Communications for Camden Partners, a private equity firm based in Baltimore. She also served in government and politics, including as a U.S. Senate Press Secretary during the conception and passing of Dodd-Frank.

We feel that the increase of women in prominent roles such as these represent encouraging signals of steady, ongoing progress within a field typically dominated by men. 

BioBuzz is committed to covering this topic and will continue to follow developments and new stories from across the region.

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Steven Surdez

Principal at StoryCore
Steve has over 20 years experience in copywriting, developing brand messaging and creating marketing strategies across a wide range of industries, including the biopharmaceutical, senior living, commercial real estate, IT and renewable energy sectors, among others. He is currently the Principal/Owner of StoryCore, a Frederick, Maryland-based content creation and execution consultancy focused on telling the unique stories of Maryland organizations.