Nicole Walker leaves her role as a managing director and partner at Baird Capital to join Arboretum Ventures, which was co-founded by Jan Garfinkle. Nicole is now a managing partner with the health care venture firm. In a statement, Nicole said, “I love to punch alongside entrepreneurs building transformative solutions to the hard problems within healthcare. 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.”
Nicole joined Baird in 2013 from Abbott Ventures. During her time at Baird, she backed such companies as Elucent Medical, Oncology Analytics, Amphora Medical, NeoChord, MI Bioresearch, which was acquired in 2019 by Covance Laboratories, Inc., and NeuMoDx Molecular, which was acquired last year by QIAGEN. NeuMoDx was also a portfolio company of Arboretum and Jan. Nicole also co-led Baird’s Series A investment in Strata Oncology with Arboretum, with Jan serving on Strata’s board. Additionally, Nicole has served on the board of the National Venture Capital Association, which Jan chaired between June 2019 and June 2020.
Also in a statement, another Arboretum managing partner, Dr. Tom Shehab, said, “We couldn’t have asked for a better complement to our team at this moment than Nicole. We are thrilled to have such a recognized, seasoned investor on our team whose personal mission and professional roots so closely align with our own. Nicole’s professional background, respect within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and her extensive network are significant assets for identifying and supporting exciting portfolio companies.”
Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., Arboretum was founded in 2002 by Jan and managing partner Tim Peterson. The firm currently manages $700 million in capital across five investment funds. Its most recent fund closed in 2019 at $250 million.