Nita Sommers, Khosla Ventures, on digital health’s transformation in three decades


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Nita Sommers is an Operating Partner at Khosla Ventures focused on health care. Nita has spent over 20 years working in the health technology sector, with a passion for early-stage, high growth companies transforming health care. She was an early member of the R&D team at athenahealth, which went public in 2007. Additionally, she was one of the first executives at Castlight Health and later managed the company’s IPO in 2014. At Castlight Health, Nita led the company’s early sales efforts and later ran strategy, business development, corporate development and investor relations. Most recently, she was President of Honor, where she was responsible for all aspects of growth including sales, marketing, customer success, business development and corporate development. In addition to her work at start-ups, she also spent several years consulting with McKinsey’s health care practice and working across a number of healthcare industry sectors while with McKesson. Nita enjoys working with early stage companies on growth strategy and execution, including product strategy, commercial strategy, sales management, business development and organizational development. Nita has an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.A. from Harvard University. In this episode we discussed: • Nita’s experience leading, exiting, and advising first-wave (1990s: athenahealth), second wave (2000s: Castlight) and third+ wave (2010+: Honor, others) digital health companies spanning three decades of health tech • What we can learn from these companies’ ascent, as history repeats itself: finding unmet need in a large market, narrowing in on a core set of business challenges, and proving value, not just scaling for scale’s sake • What makes the Operating Partner role unique in venture capital, and why her position at Khosla Ventures is distinctive across the healthcare fundraising landscape • Tactical advice to women on breaking the glass ceiling as an executive or venture partner

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