While early-stage startups need infusions of capital to develop and grow before they reach profitability, that investment funding alone is typically not enough for companies to succeed. They also need a significant level of other types of resources and support across a variety of areas, especially small teams still in a building phase with critical gaps in organizational roles and functional expertise.
At Johnson & Johnson Impact Ventures (JJIV), an investment fund within the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, our goal is to actively support the healthcare companies in our portfolio and address some of those resource gaps. As the world's largest and most diversified healthcare products company serving more than one billion patients each day, Johnson & Johnson is uniquely positioned with a vast array of potential resources. With more than 150,000 employees around the world, there is a wide network of market knowledge and subject matter expertise for JJIV to engage.
One of the ways that we leverage that network is through an employee engagement strategy called Talent for Good. Talent for Good, a uniquely innovative global employee engagement approach, strives to enrich the lives of employees and communities around the globe while being a catalyst for positive change. Through Talent for Good’s secondment program, employees may be recruited and matched with a JJIV portfolio company and spend several months working with the company in a formal placement that complies with applicable laws and regulations. Highlighted below are several of these engagements which demonstrate the breadth and impact of this support.
Mohit Agarwal, a Site Production Planning & Logistics Lead at Johnson & Johnson MedTech in India, is participating in a six-month secondment with JJIV portfolio company SwipeRx. He is working with their Fulfillment and Operations team to help launch one of the largest retail pharmacy distribution centers in Indonesia, assisting the team to improve the design and processes of this new 5,000 sq. meter warehouse.
“Through this assignment, I am trying to make a positive long-term sustainable impact on people's lives and communities as well as bringing Our Credo to life,” says Agarwal. He recently returned from a week in Jakarta with the SwipeRx team in-person discussing problem statements, potential solutions, analysis of data, trials, and a review of layouts of fulfillment centers. Having completed multiple trials using diverse data sets and time-motion studies to identify suitable picking strategies, the team is feeling encouraged with the new plans.
South Lake Medical Center
At South Lake Medical Center (SLMC) in Kenya, we are in our third year of placing seconded employees. In 2021 SLMC’s CEO Liza Kimbo identified a need to build the management capacity and financial planning of the company. To provide this support, three Johnson & Johnson mentors with relevant skill sets were paired with the SLMC team to accelerate the strategic work being done at the medical center.
“When you're a small team involved in a hugely challenging endeavor, you need marketing, strategic planning and strong supply chains. All of these are things larger corporations have already figured out. To me, the expertise that Johnson & Johnson mentors provided was of immense value. This kind of corporate know-how is essential,” says Kimbo.
In 2022 two additional Johnson & Johnson employees were placed with SLMC. Omar Zanela, 360 Solutions Senior Manager from Johnson & Johnson Mexico, supported SLMC to design a structured process to collect insights and feedback to make improvements in customer service and experience. Ian Paton, External Operations Manager at Johnson & Johnson MedTech in Switzerland, assisted SLMC to develop skills and systems to enhance financial reporting, management and acquisition of funds, and control of expenditure to improve the overall financial department performance. This year Karen Shaw, a Strategic Customer Group Director at Johnson & Johnson MedTech in the US, is building on the work from Ian Paton and will continue providing mentorship to the SLMC account manager team on financial reporting and control.
For Flare, another Kenyan-based JJIV portfolio company, we were able to leverage two colleagues with deep sales experience to support their business development and account management team to increase capacity and performance. Grant Nijland, National Sales Manager for Immunology at Janssen South Africa and Kimberly Usitalo-Bowden, National Sales and Marketing Manager at Johnson & Johnson MedTech in Canada, traveled to Kenya last year to lead a week-long training session on the ground with the Flare sales team covering skills and approaches to successfully build a customer pipeline and provide additional value to existing clients.
In the US, a team of Johnson & Johnson data scientists and analysts recently kicked off a project with Certintell, a care management company enabling providers to support underserved patients through telehealth. The Johnson & Johnson employees are tasked with reviewing current practices and advising on the key performance metrics for Certintell to report on patient population data and trends from its Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) services. Having strong data reporting and visualization will help Certintell to support Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in applying for grant funding and develop more case studies and white papers to enhance medical research in this space.
This model of employee engagement is just one of the ways that we are providing support to the portfolio companies in JJIV. It illustrates that pairing the right knowledge and expertise at a needed time in a company’s growth cycle can be a powerful catalyst for these startups—saving them time, money, and in some cases, helping to avoid serious pitfalls. We believe this level of additionality is not only a strong supplement to our investment funding, it’s also a privilege to work alongside impact entrepreneurs with bold visions to improve health for humanity.
Talent for Good aims to activate 150,000 global J&J employees to grow personally and professionally by applying their time and expertise to build healthier communities around the world. From donations to fully immersive assignments with global partner organizations working on the front lines of health, Talent for Good offers more than 20 customizable programs for employees at all stages of their careers to create meaningful change and a healthier, more equitable world.