As a founder, I loved working with the DFJ Growth team because they understood the ups and downs that every entrepreneur goes through. I try to help entrepreneurs in the same way – by believing in their big vision, helping to open doors and recruit the best talent in the world, and always remembering that building a great company is simultaneously one of the hardest and the most rewarding things you can do.Justin Kao is an entrepreneur and investor who is passionate about transforming healthcare. In 2015, he co-founded Helix (a DFJ Growth portfolio company) and served as founding CEO. Later, as Chief Business Officer, he led business development, marketing, clinical, and partnerships. He also architected the company’s shift in strategy to focus on health systems, payers, and life sciences companies, and he was key to Helix's COVID-19 efforts, resulting in Helix becoming a significant provider of COVID-19 diagnostic tests and viral surveillance in the US.
I’m drawn to hard problems, and improving healthcare is one of the hardest. I feel honored to partner with founders who are fierce and optimistic about solving one of the biggest issues of our time. When your ultimate mission is keeping billions of people healthy, it’s easy to get up in the morning.
Justin loves to work with founders who operate at the intersection of life sciences and technology. In particular, he is drawn to companies that generate and use data to improve healthcare, whether it be helping providers deliver the right care at the right time, modernizing the antiquated “back office” of how healthcare is tracked and paid for, engineering more efficient therapeutic development, or better matching patients to the right drugs or trials. He is also interested in disruptive approaches to real-world evidence, digital health, precision medicine / omics, and the convergence of consumerization and health. Current portfolio companies include Osmind, where he sits on the board.
Prior to DFJ Growth, Justin was a partner with Khosla Ventures, where he led investments in companies such as Earli, Robin Healthcare, and Atman Health. He also worked in the healthcare group at Warburg Pincus, where he invested in Silk Road Medical (NASDAQ:SILK), Outset Medical (NASDAQ:OM), JHP Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Par Pharmaceuticals), Constitution Medical (acquired by Roche Diagnostics), Accriva Diagnostics (acquired by Werfen), Singular Bio (acquired by Invitae), and SOC Telemed (NASDAQ: TLMD).
Justin started his career at the Boston Consulting Group, where he worked with companies in the tech and healthcare industries. He also spent time at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, where he played a key role in the acquisition of Proteolix.
Justin holds a BS in chemical engineering (with distinction) and an MS in bioengineering from Stanford University. He also received a JD from Stanford Law School and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar.
He is an avid sports fan, especially for his hometown Lakers and Dodgers, and loves reading science fiction and fantasy. On weekends, he can often be found treasure hunting at Costco, indulging in a boba, or chasing around his three children (one human, two canine).