Aequitas Partners
Q4 2019 > VOLUME 9

So here we are again. Another Q4 newsletter, in a year that went by in a split second. This was a huge year for our team, as we added some incredible team members, doubled the size of our offices, and made a number of investments through our search work that we’re extremely excited about. To wrap up the year, we sat down with Kevon Saber, the CEO of one of our newest portfolio companies – GoCheck Kids, to talk about how he’s building a global platform to screen for pediatric eye disease. Nina puts an end-of-year wrap on her quarterly Coffee Chats series, and Jess Horn and Emily Bak take us through the opening installment of what we hope will be a recurring edition of AQP Book Club. Hopefully you’ve recovered from HLTH by now, and in just enough time to start scheduling your meetings for JPMorgan. Looking forward to seeing you there!

— Tim Gordon, Founder & Managing Partner

An Interview with Kevon Saber, CEO of GoCheck Kids

By: Tim Gordon
An Interview with Carolyn Witte, Co-Founder & CEO of TIA

Kevon Saber is the CEO of GoCheck Kids, a digital health platform designed for the advanced screening of vision impairment in children globally. The company is based in Nashville, and is currently screening children on 4 continents. We sat down with Kevon to talk about the business, his vision, and what it’s like to scale a global digital health company.

Tim: GoCheck Kids is on a pretty incredible mission. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about the company.

Kevon: The company was started by Dr. David Huang who actually invented the most widely used diagnostic in all of ophthalmology. He recognized that most children in America weren’t being screened for the most prevalent disability in the country – vision impairment – because of the absence of an affordable screening tool. He decided he was going to leverage his expertise in biomedical engineering and ophthalmology (he’s got four degrees in those two areas) to invent a product that is actually affordable. GoCheck Kids is a third of the price of the competition and as a result has made vision screening affordable for pediatricians in the U.S. and globally. Our goal is to catch every kid with vision impairment (that’s one in five kids in the U.S.), so that they can see and learn, and ultimately fulfill their potential.

Tim: You were brought into the company as the CEO a little over two years ago from a career outside of healthcare. What drew you to this business?

Kevon: I had said to myself and to my friends for years that I wanted the rest of my career to focus on elevating human flourishing. And I hoped to bring together my background in technology and entrepreneurship for a cause that ultimately would make a big difference in the lives of many people. Preventing the most prevalent disability for children in many countries, GoCheck Kids fit my first criteria. I was also really impressed with the quality of the team. They were the kind of people I would hope to recruit to found a company, but they were already assembled, which of course makes everything go a lot faster. Thirdly, I talked to twenty of their customers, and their enthusiasm for GoCheck Kids’ affordable impact on seeing, learning, and the rest of life was galvanizing. Those three factors were intoxicating and I couldn’t help myself.


Coffee Chats With Nina: Understanding

the Entrepreneurial Mindset

By: Nina Mermelstein
Coffee Chats With Nina

Part IV of an Ongoing Series – Heavily Caffeinated & Highly Enlightened

Two years! I truly can’t believe that I’m already approaching my two-year mark as a member of the Aequitas Partners team. It feels like it was just yesterday that I moved into my first closet-sized NYC apartment and received a phone call from Tim Gordon. He offered me an opportunity to join his team, that I now consider family. To some people, two years might not seem like a long time. However, upon reflection, I can confidently say that this has been the most transformative timespan for my own personal and professional development in my life.

My skilled colleagues, our innovative clients, and the thousands of impressive candidates I’ve interviewed have all contributed to my development in this field. But I must attribute an important part of my recent growth to the insights I’ve gained from the highly-driven healthcare technology entrepreneurs who have opened up to me during my Coffee Chats. Last year, I set out to better understand the entrepreneur’s mindset and hear stories straight from the source about what it takes to build a digital health business from the ground up – and that’s precisely what I got! I was gratified by these leaders’ willingness to participate in my Coffee Chats with Nina series and the level of genuine authenticity in their shared stories. I had the chance to dive into some pretty touchy subjects and they didn’t hold back one bit. I heard unfiltered accounts of their experiences including all the ups and downs; everything from the first moments when they knew they had novel concepts to the times they thought they were going to fail.

For this final article of 2019, I’m taking a look back at some of the key insights and highlights from my discussions over the course of this past year. I’ll also share some thoughts on what 2020 might have in store for this series.


AQP Book Club:

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande

By: Jessica Horn & Emily Bak
Reflecting On Our First 5 Years

We are so excited to make our first contribution to Aequitas’ quarterly newsletter! As the newest additions to the team, we’ve spent some time over the course of our first year here trying to further educate ourselves on our industry to add value to our clients and candidates alike. Both avid readers, we decided to choose a healthcare related book to book-club internally. We settled on Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the book, first of all, READ IT! It’s excellent. Atul Gawande is a general surgeon, and the CEO of Haven, and does a deep dive into the evolution of our country’s approach to treatment and care for the elderly and dying population. As science and medicine have advanced, people are living longer, but more often than not, suffering more. Treatment has become very institutionalized and he illustrates what care looks like today through personal stories and those of his own patients and peers. Needless to say, this sparked a lot of interesting dialogue between us and our team. We talked a lot about our own healthcare journeys and realized how fortunate we are to be exposed to so much innovation in our work. We feel grateful to work with companies that are striving to create opportunities for the future of healthcare and we want to open up the conversation to all of you.


AQP Journal

Blurb: Shoe Dog, Phil Knight’s memoir, offers a candid look into the beginnings of one of the most notable, global brands and the uncertainties and setbacks he faced along the way. Knight shares challenges he had to overcome as an entrepreneur of a start-up: scrambling for funding to keep his company afloat, the importance of surrounding yourself with great people, and maintaining conviction in what you’re building against all odds.
The Checklist Manifesto
922 increase in the # of total unique investors in healthcare between 2012 and 2018
295 increase in the number of deals done annually between 2012 and 2018
10 The number of deals that represent $985M in invested capital through 1H 2019
Aequitas Partners
New York, New York
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