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Tuesday, Feb 27, 2024

Section 32 Adds 2 Key Leaders

Section 32, a venture capital firm with headquarters in San Diego, and offices in San Francisco and Boston, has added to its roster two big names in the life science sector.

Andy Harrison, who held former executive leadership roles at Google, joined as managing partner of Section 32. Susan Hager, who held senior leadership roles at EQRx and Foundation Medicine, joined as chief investor relations and communications officer.

“I’m thrilled to join this team of world-class investors and company builders, while bringing my investing and operational experience to our portfolio companies and future investments, as Section 32 continues its exceptional growth,” said Harrison.

“I’m excited to join this team, who share my passion for the possibilities at the intersection of health and technology that ultimately drive innovation and long term impact on human health,” Hager said. 

The addition of Harrison and Hager builds upon a strong year for the Encinitas-based firm.

The firm’s mission is to improve the human condition by accelerating the discovery, development and distribution of important technologies and life-saving medicines.

A nod to the Star Trek universe — Section 31 — the firm’s investment thesis is decidedly futuristic. The company focuses on biotechnology, advanced diagnostics, precision medicine, cybersecurity and machine learning, to name a few areas.

Notable Deals in San Diego

Founded in 2017, the VC firm was started by Google Ventures founder Bill Maris and former Foundation Medicine Chairman Dr. Michael Pellini, which invests in technology and life sciences companies. Since inception, the team has more than doubled in size employing 16 staffers.

Section 32 was an early investor in Medcrypt, a company developing cybersecurity software for the medical device industry. 

Other Section 32 investments into San Diego companies include Aspen Neuroscience, XOKind, Cradle Genomics, Medcrypt, and Cue Health. In all, Section 32 has invested in 50 companies.

The four-year-old firm has already seen six exits so far, including surgical robotics company Auris, which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson for $3.4 billion, and immuno-neurology startup Alector, which went public for $176 million in 2019. Biopharma startup Fulcrum Therapetuics, immunology startup Vir Biotechnology and cybersecurity startup Crowdstrike also went public that same year.

Brings Experience from Google

Prior to Section 32, Maris spent eight years building Google’s corporate venture arm — GV. Months later, Pellini joined him as a partner with the firm, after serving as CEO and chairman of molecular diagnostics company Foundation Medicine. 

GV was one of the hottest venture funds in Silicon Valley under Maris’s leadership. He grew the team from one to over 70, with seven offices on two continents, and 500 investments. Maris managed over $3 billion in management and investments Uber, Nest, Slack, and 23andme, among others.

Before GV and Section 32, Maris founded Calico, a multi-billion dollar company whose mission is to understand and influence the genetic basis of aging.

“The vision for Section 32 was always about assembling a team of professionals at the top of their game,” said Maris. 

“I’m excited to welcome Andy and Sue, two highly respected and experienced leaders to round out the team. We remain focused on our mission to push the boundaries of what is possible in technology and healthcare,” he said. 

It most recently closed its third fund last year. Amount undisclosed, however Section 32 reported targeting to raise $350 million, according to SEC documents filed on April 14. For its first two funds, the firm raised $160 million and $199 million. Total assets under management tops $1 billion.

Today, Section 32 is one of the few institutional tech investors in the county.


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