The Digitalis Commons provides catalytic capital to support building public-interest technology solutions to complex probems in health.
Our “catalytic capital” focuses on supporting early-stage efforts that are too small or too risky, in product or service markets that are too unproven, and in capital markets that are currently too small and illiquid for traditional investors to participate. Our goal is to grow and de-risk companies such that in future rounds of financing more traditional investors will invest. “To use a baking metaphor, ... catalytic capital is the “yeast” which needs to proof before you add flour for the bread to rise.”
Public-interest technologies focus on social justice, the common good, and the public interest. Examples in the health domain include open-source software and technical standards that can extend the delivery of care to underserved populations, accelerate the personalization of health, or improve our ability to impact social determinants of health.
There are many problems that while difficult are “tame” in the sense of involving engineering challenges with technical trade-offs perhaps, but basically a clear set of go/no-go priorities and issues. A tougher class of problems are referred to as “wicked”—involving interacting components without central control whose emergent behavior is more complex than can be explained or predicted from understanding the sum of the behavior of the individual components. These problems involve ethical trade-offs, murky outcomes, and unclear choices. We understand and look to solve the challenges of both types of these problems in the complex settings of health and health-care.
Through the projects and programs we invest in, and the individuals and organizations we partner with, we strive to build open, frontier-advancing, and scalable solutions that have an outsized impact on health.