Welcome to Z-Log!
Welcome to the inaugural post of Zaffre’s new Blog – Z-log! We at Zaffre are committed to investing in the future of quality healthcare. We live, breath, and sleep healthcare – figuratively AND literally. As the investing arm of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, we pride ourselves on the fact that we are part of one of the most forward-thinking, innovative health plans in the country. We lead in payment reform, network design, value-based care, and many other areas. But how is Zaffre differentiated from independent investment firms? We believe we are uniquely positioned in three ways:
Zaffre’s principals have decades of healthcare experience – with particular expertise in payers and value-based care – that we bring to bear. We help our portfolio companies develop strategies to target payers and position their businesses to target organizations that have adopted value-based payment models. Equally important, Zaffre provides access to the employees and executives of BCBSMA. This allows our portfolio to tap into deep expertise in a myriad of health plan areas: medical policy, payment policy / reimbursement, claims analytics, and care management to name a few.
Long-term Time Horizon
Unlike independent venture capital or private equity firms, Zaffre does not have an LP base to cater to, nor do we have a defined investment time horizon during which we have to return capital. As such, our focus can be on helping our portfolio companies grow and scale their businesses at an efficient pace rather than pressuring them toward a liquidity event. While, ultimately, generating a financial return from our investments is important, developing a long-term strategic partnership and broader value creation (lowering costs, improving quality, and improving access) are equally, if not more, significant.
Access to a Robust Network
Zaffre is a true business development partner to our portfolio companies. While we never guarantee we can close sales for them, we absolutely help to get our portfolio companies access to the “front door” and in front of the right decision makers / influencers at BCBSMA. Additionally, we have strong relationships across the broader Blues network, so more often than not, we can get you in front of the right folks at our sister Blue plans. We also have the ability to get our portfolio companies access to our provider partners most of which are under up and downside risk sharing arrangements. This can be extremely valuable to companies selling into organizations in value-based payment arrangements. Finally, BCBSMA’s employer accounts are always looking for innovative health plan offerings, so our portfolio companies may have the opportunity to pilot or sell directly to those accounts.
Zaffre is confident in our ability to add value to early and growth stage companies and the healthcare ecosystem more broadly, and we believe we are well-positioned to help improve the companies in which we invest. That said, we also greatly value what independent venture capital and private equity firms contribute to the start-up ecosystem and we happily partner with likeminded organizations to co-invest in and grow companies.
Author: Steve Agular, Managing Director