Cigna launches new $250M venture capital fund

Cigna is expanding its reach in the venture world, announcing on Wednesday the launch of a new $250 million venture capital fund called Cigna Ventures.

The Bloomfield, Connecticut-based health insurance giant said it intended to focus the new corporate venture fund on "transformative and innovative healthcare companies." 

The venture fund—created to help Cigna identify and sponsor early-state innovation—will focus on analytics, digital health and retail and care delivery, they said. 

Cigna indicated the fund would invest in startups and growth-stage companies that are "unlocking new growth possibilities in health care and will bring improved care quality, affordability, choice, and greater simplicity to customers and clients."

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“The venture fund will enable us to drive innovation beyond our existing core business operations, and incubate new ideas, opportunities and relationships that have the potential for long-term business growth and to help our customers," said Tom Richards, senior vice president and global lead, strategy and business development at Cigna, in a statement.

Already, Cigna has existing venture plays, including collaboration with five venture capital partners and an equal number of existing direct investments. These include leading the C1 round of financing with Omada Health, investments in Prognos, Contessa Health, MDLIVE and Cricket Health.

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Cigna's investment in Omada included a $50 million investment and a partnership in a diabetes prevention program that showed participants were hitting a 4% to 5% weight loss target with a medical cost savings of $500 to $1,000 per member. Officials said Cigna’s investment was also due to Omada’s focus on “operational innovation” that focused on making the product consumer friendly and going the extra step to bill as a provider.

“Our partnership with Cigna has been about so much more than capital,” said Sean Duffy, co-founder and CEO of Omada, in a statement. “The ability to collaborate with, learn from, and integrate deeply with a health services company so dedicated to delivering a 21st-century care experience to its customers and clients has enabled us to accelerate innovation, advance our capabilities, and grow our customer base.”