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September 22, 2023

Leading Health Care Entrepreneurs and Investors Share Secrets of Success

Leading Health Care Entrepreneurs and Investors Share Secrets of Success
by Nashville Health Care Council | Aug 18, 2011

NASHVILLE – A large network of sophisticated investors and entrepreneurs focused on the health care sector have developed a collaborative environment that fuels an abundance of highly successful companies and in the process has established Nashville as the leading health care economy in the United States as illustrated by a panel of industry leaders.

More than 250 Nashville-area health care industry and venture capital executives attending an annual forum hosted by the Nashville Health Care Council and Nashville Capital Network (NCN) heard from leading health care entrepreneurs about the important partnership between developing ideas and working together with capital partners to develop them into strong companies.

“Nashville’s entrepreneur and investment network is unparalleled and its established track record in creating leading health care companies has been widely acknowledged on an international level,” said Council President Caroline Young. “This afternoon’s panel members are well-known leaders in bringing cutting-edge ideas to market, and shared candid perspectives on the entrepreneur-investor relationship with our members.”

Moderated by Ron Samuels, chairman, president & CEO of Avenue Bank, the forum showcased collaborations by Robert A. Frist, Jr., CEO of HealthStream, and David Swenson, founding general partner, Coleman Swenson Venture Capital and venture partner, SSM Partners; and Herb Fritch, chairman and CEO of HealthSpring, and Fred Goad, partner in Voyent Partners, LLC.

For more than 30 combined years, Nashville-based HealthStream and HealthSpring have been among the most recognized names in the city’s $70 billion health care industry cluster, and are counted among the city’s 18 publicly traded health care companies. HealthStream, a leading provider of learning and research solutions to health care organizations, was co-founded in 1990 by Frist. Fritch acquired health plan Health Net in 2000, soon after changing the name to HealthSpring, now one of the largest Medicare Advantage coordinated care plans in the U.S.

Watch panel members’ suggestions for entrepreneurs seeking capital.

“Access to expertise, both in the clinical and funding sectors, is a critical factor that makes Nashville a unique generator of successful health care companies, and has contributed to the creation of innovative and sustainable businesses,” said Fritch.

Goad added, “Nashville health care companies have a reputation for finding better ways to deliver care more efficiently and effectively. That strong track record is a product of the collaboration between entrepreneurs and their supporters that sharpens good ideas into some of the best.”

“There is an amazing network of investors who serve as development partners by contributing experience, strategic direction and management insight in addition to providing the financial resources to ensure that ideas can flourish,” said Frist.

Swenson continued, “Through the years Nashville has developed a well-deserved reputation as a rich environment for health care expertise and a collaborative spirit. These are key ingredients when entrepreneurs and investors are working together to turn back-of-the-napkin ideas into reality.”

Many Nashville venture capital firms have extensive health care industry knowledge through the support of various health care entrepreneurs or their own experience in the health care industry.  This long history of health care industry leadership and entrepreneurial growth is best illustrated by the Council’s Health Care Industry Family Tree poster, reaching back to the founding of HCA in the late 1960s.

“Nashville is fortunate to have a robust network of experienced health care investors who not only put capital into companies, but work with the entrepreneurs to make ideas better and increase their likelihood of success,” said NCN Executive Director Sid Chambless. “That’s the ecosystem that exists in Nashville and it makes a big difference in the direction and outcomes of companies.”

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings served as Presenting Sponsor of the program with Avondale Partners, KPMG and Revive Public Relations as Supporting Sponsors.

About the Nashville Health Care Council

The Nashville Health Care Council, founded in 1995 as an initiative of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, is an association of health care industry leaders working together to further establish Nashville’s position as the nation’s health care industry capital. Worldwide, Nashville’s health care industry generates over 400,000 jobs and more than $70 billion in annual revenue, and is Nashville’s largest and fastest growing employer. For more information on the Council, please visit

About the Nashville Capital Network

Nashville Capital Network accelerates the development of early stage companies by nurturing the most promising entrepreneurs and connecting them with knowledgeable, experienced investors.  The NCN Angel Group is Tennessee’s leading angel investor group.  Its $5.2 million co-investment fund leverages the experience and domain knowledge of its roster of angel investors to support promising early-stage ventures.  NCN is a partner in Tennessee Angel Fund, a statewide angel fund launched as part of the TNInvestco program.  For more information on NCN, go to


Photo credit: © 2011


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