MassDevice Q&A: Robert Creeden of Partners Innovation Fund

December 30, 2009 by Brian Johnson

Robert Creeden, managing director of Partners Innovation Fund, on reviewing business plans and the state of innovation.

Bob Creeden

Robert Creeden knows a little something about how to invest in early-stage companies. A former vice president at the Massachusetts Technology Development Corp. and a general partner at Egan-Managed Capital, Creeden has spent countless hours on due diligence for new ventures.

But it's his current position, as one of the managing directors of the Partners Innovation Fund at Partners Healthcare that puts him in the catbird seat at one of the healthcare industries busiest idea factories. The $35 million investment fund Creeden manages was formed almost three years ago to help push innovations being developed at institutions in the Partners system out of the lab and into the real world. So far the fund has invested in about 11 different technologies, including Daktari Diagnostics Inc., an Arlington, Mass.-based startup working to develop a quick and easy-to-use device to test for HIV/AIDS, which completed a $2.8 million funding round in Sept. With the help of the Partners fund, the company attracted investors not only from a wide swath of wealthy individuals in the region, but significant corporate and venture capital support as well.

MassDevice caught up with Creeden to get his take on the current state of venture funding, the secrets he's picked up along the way and any tips he might have for would-be entrepreneurs.

MassDevice: Your bio says you have reviewed more than 2,000 business plans and invested in more than 40 companies. Have you developed a formula for how you evaluate a business opportunity?

Robert Creeden: There isn't one particular formula. Throughout my time at MTDC and Egan, there was a process and procedures put in place for doing diligence that were pretty well-used throughout the industry. Here at Partners, where we started everything fresh, I brought those procedures, policies, guidelines and methods with us.

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