Impact Investing for Health Equity: Q&A With SameSky Health CEO Abner Mason
SameSky Health Founder and CEO Abner Mason is on a mission to advance health equity in communities
Abner Mason came up with the idea for SameSky Health in 2013 with a dream of creating a company that is on a mission to advance health equity. From its inception, SameSky Health has been focused on engaging and helping Americans who are marginalized or under-resourced.
To advance that mission, Mr. Mason worked with Momentus Capital, a family of mission-driven organizations that includes Capital Impact Partners, CDC Small Business Finance, and Ventures Lending Technology. Through our impact investing program, SameSky Health received a $5 million venture debt bridge loan to support the growth of the company. We talked to Abner about how this investment is helping SameSky Health in its efforts to address a significant market challenge to help disinvested communities get guidance and navigate a complex health care system.
Q: What do you feel you have achieved the most since starting the company?
Abner: I’m very passionate about the mission of SameSky Health, to create cultural connections for a healthier, more equitable world. I feel fortunate to have built a company where people who are just as passionate as I am about our mission have joined the organization. We’ve built a team of incredibly talented people who are focused on creating a solution that enables equitable health care.
Health equity is at the center of everything SameSky Health does. We have established ourselves as a leading health equity company. We are focused on raising the bar in America for health equity and how we should treat the people we are trying to help navigate our complex health care system.
We have built a leading, scalable health equity technology platform, unlike no other, that enables health plans and other health care stakeholders to comply with new health equity-related requirements that they will have to comply with now and in the future.
Q: The need for funding means that you’ve achieved a certain amount of growth. What challenges/barriers have you faced in terms of attaining funding for SameSky Health?
Abner: One of the major challenges I have run into over the course of my career is trying to raise money as a founder of color. I am optimistic about the future, as I have seen great progress being made from investors in startups supporting new businesses founded by people of color, which has more than doubled since 2020.
Another challenge I have faced in the past is gaining support from investors to raise funds for a solution that addresses low-income, underserved communities, particularly those people who are enrolled in Medicaid. Up until recently, venture capitalists did not understand the Medicaid market or the extraordinary need for advancing health equity. I am very optimistic about the traction in investment and innovation in this space over the past two years to help address health disparities.
Q: Momentus Capital, however, is able to offer something that hopefully can make an impact with a lower risk. Any thoughts on that relationship so far?
Momentus Capital is essential for a company like SameSky Health. The company played a crucial role in helping SameSky Health secure bridge funding as we progress to raise our Series C funding, which is the next step. We are deeply grateful for their flexibility and support of SameSky Health.
Q: Why did you choose Momentus Capital versus another investor? What was the difference maker for you?
Abner: It was clear to us that Momentus Capital values working with partners to impact change in the health care system and drive health equity. This aligns well with our values and mission. Their approach allowed us to easily structure a deal that was fair to everyone given our alignment around advancing health equity. Momentus Capital stands out from others for their flexibility in working with our team and their ability to quickly move toward a transaction to help us continue scaling and driving equity in health care.
Q: How do you think SameSky Health improves the lives of people in the community through health care, and how does proper investment into funding drive these positive aspects?
Abner: SameSky Health has built an innovative solution that combines technology and human touch to deliver a culturally tailored, personalized experience to members of health plans. If the health care industry continues to try to address challenges the same way they always have, we’ll never achieve better outcomes. Innovation and investment in health care IT innovations are so important. Investors need to support startups that are building solutions that will meet the needs of low-income, underserved communities. Investors need to be more proactive in seeking opportunities to work with companies such as SameSky Health.
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