Investing in the Future of Digital Health with Deena Shakir

Deena Shakir is a Partner at Lux Capital, where she has led a number of investments across stages and sectors, including in women's health (Maven Clinic, Alife, Adyn), digital health infrastructure (SteadyMD, H1), health equity (Waymark), and foodtech (Shiru), and fintech (Mos and Ramp).

Prior to joining Lux, Deena was a Partner at GV (formerly Google Ventures). Before tech and venture, she was a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of State under Secretary Clinton, where she helped launch President Obama’s first Global Entrepreneurship Summit in 2010.

Twitter: @deenashakir

Here are the questions we discussed:

  1. How your experience as an Arab woman helps you to empathize with early stage founders when you are writing their first institutional check?

As a former founder, journalist and someone who worked in White House, how did that experience shape your investment thesis in the early stage venture market?

  1. You joined Google Ventures and then Lux Capital as one of the first few women Partners in the fund. The number of women GPs in a VC fund grew from 7% in 2020 to almost 28% now, while the majority of the firms 65% of them still don’t have female GPs. What advice do you want to give to VC funds who want to attract and empower female entrepreneurs/investors like you in the Partner role?

  2. Joining a Partner role in an existing VC fund can come with all different terms and opportunities. How do mid career women entrepreneurs and investors like you should navigate such career aspirations.

  3. Venture Capital is one industry that has not been disrupted. As we are seeing more people bringing movement into this industry, how do you see biases and prejudices that played in the past come in effect for people like you who are catalysts for change? What was your experience and where do you think is the systemic problem when it comes to funding more women founders?

  4. What does the diversity mean in your fund and portfolios that you are investing in?

  1. VC/Investing is a relationship based industry and are highly transactional. How do you help early stage founders in raising later stage rounds and your involvement as a board of director?

  2. In a fund like Lux Capital with AUM of 4 billion, what differentiates Lux from most of the other large funds that are out there in terms of taking position from incubation to following on till growth and late stage? What is the inherent strategy behind this? Is it mostly ownership or market share?

  3. What are your thought process on startup performance data? How do you analyze that during due diligence from early stage to growth stage investment.

  4. Valuation: What positions have you taken against inflated valuation and also the valuation correction?

  5. VC investing is all about identifying patterns in time. Yet some of the bigger ideas are unpredictable and sometimes those investment decisions can be non-consensus among Partners. What does a good process look like in a fund’s investment committee to make sure you do not miss on great founders and what kind of SWOT analysis do you do?

  1. To invest in unpredictable big ideas one has to learn and see things differently, analyze markets that others are finding it non-sexy to invest in. VC is not a job but it is a lifestyle. What are the learning habits you have acquired? How do you analyze various thinking models?

  2. My last question, as a mother of 2 amazing kids, how do you manage work life balance? What are your top 3 tips that you want to give young mothers and parents managing children and doing venture?