A late-evening phone call in February 2014 ─ that came just 30 minutes before the 9 p.m. deadline for submitting his rank list for a medical residency program match ─ catapulted U-M dual-degree student Reda Jaber, MD/MBA ’14, into a career in venture-capital investment. The caller was Simon Boag, who offered Jaber a director’s job at IncWell Venture Capital, a Birmingham, Mich.-based, early-stage venture-capital firm launched by former Chrysler Group CEO Tom LaSorda in 2013. Jaber had planned to become a doctor, but took only 15 minutes to make a decision that would change his life. “I realized there are other ways to help patients and people than as a traditional physician,” he says. He accepted Boag’s offer to start work after graduation. One year later, in April 2015, Jaber was promoted to a partner in the firm.
“I’m involved in the whole process of investing in start-up companies with disruptive technologies, starting with sourcing deals, then conducting initial reviews, performing due diligence, reviewing term sheets and later on, participating in advisory services for our portfolio companies,” says Jaber, who specializes in the health-care and medical-devices areas. “My Zell Lurie Institute background definitely put me in the position to succeed in this role.” The real-world entrepreneurial experiences he gained from participating in the Michigan Business Challenge, the Mayleben Venture Shaping and Dare to Dream grant programs and a New Venture Creation class helped him “think like an entrepreneur while I was in school” and learn what makes a start-up company investable. A Marcel Gani summer internship at Stage 2 Innovations, a $100 million private-equity fund co-founded by LaSorda in 2011, ushered Jaber into the world of venture investing and served as a stepping stone to IncWell. “I had a chance to work with Tom LaSorda and Simon Boag at Stage 2 Innovations before they left to start IncWell, so they already knew my work ethic and what I could bring to the table,” he explains.
Jaber says he’s excited about the opportunities presented by a venture-investing career track. “I think we’re on the edge of a big technological wave in the medical industry, and I want to be part of it,” he remarks. “I’m in a great position here at IncWell to play a formative role in shaping the future of medicine.”