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How To ID Innovation Like a Venture Capitalist

If you told someone in 2000 you were a venture capitalist, they probably wouldn’t know what exactly you did for a living. Fast forward to today in the age of Shark Tank, telling someone you’re a venture capitalist is an instant cue for them to pitch you their million-dollar idea.

But, you might be surprised to hear that appeal to an investor is about way more than how much money you’ll make them–it’s about the impact you’ll leave on the world.

At least that’s the philosophy for Wayne Kimmel, local entrepreneur, venture capitalist, philanthropist and author of Six Degrees of Wayne Kimmel. His company SeventySix Capital sees dozens of great ideas day in and day out, so how does he know when one truly rises to the top? Passion, persistence, and a spark of innovation, he says.

For Kimmel, it’s not so much about the idea as much as it is the people and the mission that sparked their idea. Innovative ideas need to be powered by people who are not only smart but are “nice,” a simple but important quality that can often go overlooked in the bustle of big business.

“They have the hustle to make things happen,” says Kimmel of his entrepreneurs. “We want to invest in entrepreneurs who can see things others can’t see right now.”

Empowering people of all these qualities is a big source of pride for Kimmel and his team. From StartUp Health, a current investment, fueling hundreds of small companies’ ideas to improve and streamline global healthcare, to Take Care Health, a successful investment bought by Walgreens that provides access to clinics in pharmacies nationwide. Kimmel isn’t just “paying” entrepreneurs, he’s paying it forward.

“Innovation is when you see the world you want to live in before anyone else,” he says. “You see it and you know you can make it happen.”

That’s why Kimmel invests in people who are not “just taking the next step, they’re ready to leap.” Because if there was ever a time technology and processes could be used and innovated to fight obesity, cure cancer, or simply live better–it’s now.

Each month, UnitedHealthcare is celebrating Philadelphia’s true trailblazers. Click here to learn more about these local innovators.