Nicole Walker Named Managing Partner of Ann Arbor’s Arboretum Ventures

Nicole J. Walker
Nicole J. Walker // Photo courtesy of Arboretum Ventures

Health care investor Nicole J. Walker has been named a managing partner of Arboretum Ventures, an Ann Arbor-based health care venture capital firm.

Walker has more than 25 years of experience in the industry, emphasizing the use of innovation to improve the access, cost, and quality of care to those in need. She has led teams in the U.S. and Asia.

“I love to punch alongside entrepreneurs building transformative solutions to the hard problems within health care,” says Walker. “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.”

Walker was most recently a managing director and partner at Baird Capital, where she co‐led the team’s health care investments since 2013. While at Baird, she led the firm’s Series B investment into Arboretum portfolio company NeuMoDx Molecular, a next generation PCR testing platform. Walker also co‐led Baird’s Series A investment with Arboretum into Strata Oncology, an oncology‐focused precision medicine company that uses genomic testing to match patients with effective therapies.

She has worked on the board of directors at Arboretum, where role, she supported Jan Garfinkle and Dan Kidle during the company’s acquisition by QIAGEN last year.

Before Baird, Walker was investment director at Abbott Ventures and Abbott Biotech Ventures and a principal with ONSET Ventures.

Originally trained as a mechanical engineer at Stanford University, Walker started her career as a process engineer with Advanced Cardiovascular Systems/Guidant. She also holds dual degrees in management and operations from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better complement to our team at this moment than Nicole,” says Dr. Tom Shehab, managing partner at Arboretum Ventures. “Nicole’s professional background, respect within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and her extensive network are significant assets for identifying and supporting exciting portfolio companies.”

Founded in 2002, Arboretum is an early-stage firm focusing investments on medical devices, life science tools and diagnostics, and tech‐enabled care delivery that support improved and less costly solutions to chronic health problems. Arboretum currently manages $700 million in capital across five investment funds, with the most recent fund closing in 2019 at $250 million.

Walker is an adviser to Springboard Enterprises, an accelerator program dedicated to building high‐growth, technology‐oriented companies led by women. She also serves as a board director on the National Venture Capital Association, the Mid‐America Healthcare Investor Network, Minnesota Medical Alley, and the Alzheimer’s Association.