Elena brings over a decade of experience in investing in and building biotechnology companies. Prior to SoftBank Investment Advisers, Elena held investing, corporate development, and operations leadership roles at Kearny Venture Partners, FLX Bio, Carmot Therapeutics, and NanoString Technologies. Elena holds a BA with Honors from Swarthmore College, an MS from Johns Hopkins University, and an MBA with Highest Honors from Harvard Business School.
- Deep Genomics
- Devoted Health
- Encoded Therapeutics
- Hexagon Bio
- Variant Bio
- Vividion Therapeutics
How did you first become interested in science and entrepreneurship?
I always wanted to be a scientist, and I became curious about the path that connects basic research to biotechnology products. That interest led me to a job with a biotech venture capital firm. I was able to work closely with entrepreneurs and help them bring things from idea to execution to impact. My experience gave me a lot of empathy for what it takes to commercialize biotechnology products.
What excites you about the Vision Fund opportunity?
I’m inspired by harnessing nature's machinery to accomplish a goal that can't be achieved with engineering alone. Many of the most interesting investments we’ve made involve leveraging natural systems—using cells or genes—for a desired outcome. It’s exciting to learn from the scientific expertise that our founders bring.
What do you appreciate about your colleagues?
I love our team’s diversity of backgrounds. When you have people who've had different experiences or who see things differently, you get much stronger results. I also appreciate our sense of our own limitations. We know we don't have all the answers, so we make a point of being open and listening carefully to founders.
What do you like to see in founders?
I’m excited by founders who are willing to go against conventional wisdom to have an outsized impact. I like when start-up leaders see problems that haven't been solved and think to themselves, I can do that. I’m always hoping to meet founders with a passion for transformative science who are working on problems that address significant unmet medical needs. When founders go after hard technical challenges with the goal of saving lives, they can deliver meaningful change.
What keeps you grounded?
With our clinical-stage companies, such as Guardant and Pear Therapeutics, we’re able to hear real patient stories and learn how an actual patient's life was changed by one of their innovative products. It’s one of the most exciting things about this job.