ANN ARBOR, MI – Arboretum Ventures, a leading healthcare venture capital firm, is excited to welcome nationally-recognized healthcare investor Nicole J. Walker to its team as a Managing Partner.
For more than 25 years, Nicole has successfully partnered with entrepreneurs to modernize and transform the healthcare industry. She emphasizes breakthrough innovations to improve access, cost, and quality of care to those in need. Her unique strategies, perspective, and inimitable style were hone early in her career while leading teams in the U.S. and Asia.
Well known throughout the venture industry, Nicole strongly believes in the power of teams and the importance of bringing diversity to leadership ranks when building effective organizations. “I love to punch alongside entrepreneurs building transformative solutions to the hard problems within healthcare,” Nicole comments. “I also value nurturing fantastic teams and great businesses within our communities. I am extremely excited to join Arboretum Ventures, a firm that values and understands how to do both.”
Nicole joins Arboretum Ventures from Baird Capital, where she was a managing director and partner,
having co‐led the team’s healthcare investments since 2013. Her notable investments and board roles for
Baird include category‐defining companies such as Elucent Medical, MI Biosciences (acquired), NeoChord,
NeuMoDx Molecular (acquired), and Strata Oncology.
Nicole has a long‐standing relationship with the Arboretum team. While with Baird, she led the firm’s
Series B investment into Arboretum portfolio company NeuMoDx Molecular, a next-generation PCR
testing platform, and joined the board of directors. In this role, she worked closely with Jan Garfinkle and
Dan Kidle through the company’s acquisition by QIAGEN in 2020. Nicole also co‐led Baird’s Series A
investment with Arboretum into Strata Oncology, an oncology‐focused precision medicine company using
genomic testing to match patients with effective therapies.
With Nicole joining the partnership, Arboretum will further strengthen its successful team of experienced
healthcare investors who have built a portfolio of transformational medical device, diagnostic, and tech‐
enabled care delivery companies. Arboretum’s notable successes include Accuri Cytometers, Inogen,
NeuMoDx Molecular, nVision, NxThera, Rethink, and Swift Biosciences. “We couldn’t have asked for a
better complement to our team at this moment than Nicole,” notes Tom Shehab MD, Managing Partner,
Arboretum Ventures. “We are thrilled to have such a recognized, seasoned investor on our team whose
personal mission and professional roots so closely align with our own. Nicole’s professional background,
respect within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and her extensive network are significant assets for
identifying and supporting exciting portfolio companies.”
Prior to Baird, Nicole was an investment director at Abbott Ventures and Abbott Biotech Ventures, helping
to stand up the original organization for the corporation. She also served as a principal with ONSET
Ventures. Originally trained as a mechanical engineer at Stanford University, Nicole started her career as
a process engineer with Advanced Cardiovascular Systems/Guidant, where she spent ten years advancing
through increasing roles of responsibility in product development, marketing, and strategy while
completing dual degrees in management and operations from the Kellogg School of Management at
Nicole is proud to serve as an advisor to Springboard Enterprises, an accelerator program dedicated to
building high‐growth, technology‐oriented companies led by women, to the Diversity & Inclusion Advisory
Council – MATTER Chicago, and to Women in Bio – Chicago. Additionally, she serves as a board director
with the National Venture Capital Association, the Mid‐America Healthcare Investor Network, Minnesota
Medical Alley, and the Alzheimer’s Association. Nicole has been recognized as one of the industry’s most
active and engaged investors by “The Tech Crunch List 2020” and by Crain’s Chicago Business “Tech 50”
for 2018 and 2016.
About Arboretum Ventures
Arboretum Ventures is an early‐stage venture capital firm specializing in the healthcare sector. We focus
on investments in medical devices, life science tools & diagnostics, and tech‐enabled care delivery. Our
guiding vision is to identify transformative healthcare companies that are developing improved and less
costly solutions to large, chronic health problems in a capital‐efficient manner. Founded in 2002 and
located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we currently manage $700 million in capital across five investment funds
with our most recent fund closing in 2019 at $250 million.