Venture capitalists have largely ignored Type 1 diabetes, backing just 7 related U.S. startups since the beginning of 2015. Instead they've focused their diabetes dollars on Type II, a metabolic disease whose cause is largely understood, whereas Type 1 is a more complicated autoimmune condition with fewer patients.
Why it matters: Around 1.25 million Americans suffer from Type 1 diabetes and, at current rates, that figure could hit 5 million by 2050. It currently costs the U.S. healthcare system around $14 billion annually, and costs the typical Type 1 patient 13 years off their life.
Dedicated effort: Enter JDRF, the country's largest non-profit focused on Type 1 diabetes. Two years ago it reached out to Bain Capital's Sean Doherty, to see if he'd help put together a business plan to help relevant startups get funded. Doherty had been running JDRF's Boston chapter since 2002, when his young son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and sat down with a Bain Capital colleague (who also had T1D) to develop what is now a $50 million venture philanthropy fund that plans to back dozens of companies.