McConnell Back in Health Care

Tom McConnell has a new gig. After spending the last 19 years as general partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA), McConnell announced last week he has been named GP of Vanguard Ventures, a Palo Alto-based venture capital firm specializing in seed and early stage technology investments.

At Vanguard, McConnell will mainly oversee investments in medical devices, although he said he would participate in some IT deals. McConnell, who will still represent NEA on various boards for the remainder of the year, officially began working with Vanguard June 1. McConnell had previously worked with Vanguard GP Dan Eilers when the two were at Apple Computer in the early 1980s.

McConnell’s departure from NEA was not a surprise. The firm made a few cuts in its GPs ranks for its new $1 billion fund that it closed earlier this year. But the change brings McConnell back to an area of investing he hasn’t been involved with for five years.

For the first 14 years at NEA, McConnell was focused on health care deals, but shifted over to IT in 1999. He says he’s happy to be back in health care, although he notes it’s gone through some changes.

“Medical devices is a lot larger of an industry now then when I left in 1999, with lots more competition, and the valuations are certainly higher,” he says. “But I’m sure we’ll be able to find plenty of robust deals to get involved in.”