I'm an investing partner at Lux Capital and sit on the boards of Maven Clinic, SteadyMD, H1, Alife Health, Shiru, & more. I'm Deena Shakir.Featured

Hi everyone! I’m Deena Shakir, Partner at Lux Capital, where I invest in transformative technologies that aim to improve lives and livelihoods. I’m particularly interested in intersectional and underdog entrepreneurs building breakthrough companies to accelerate advances and equity in human and population health.

Since joining Lux in late 2019, I’ve led a number of investments, most recently Maven Clinic’s series D funding round, and currently sit on the boards of Maven Clinic, SteadyMD, Alife Health, H1, Adyn, AllStripes, and Shiru.

Prior to joining Lux, I was a Partner at GV (formerly Google Ventures), previously led product partnerships for civic innovation at Google, and then transitioned to early-stage products in healthcare and AI/ML where I helped create Google’s first healthcare services product. I also directed social impact investments at

Before tech and venture, I was a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of State under Secretary Clinton, where I helped launch President Obama’s first Global Entrepreneurship Summit in 2010. I also had a brief foray in journalism - kickstarted my career as a bilingual news anchor hoping to become the next Christiane Amanpour and then worked as a reporter at BBC. It was my time in journalism when I was covering President Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo where he spoke about how technology and entrepreneurship abroad can help build bridges between the US and Arab world that I realized I wanted to be part of this phenomenon. My non-traditional path to VC landed me in roles that fostered partnerships through diplomacy, public service, and technology and molded my true passion into making venture more equitable.

I self-funded my education through a variety of merit scholarships and side hustles, including co-founding an e-commerce company while still in college. I earned a joint BA in Social Studies and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University and an MA from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. I’m also currently co-teaching a course in the School of Engineering at the Stanford Design School called “Deconstruction Impact: Lessons with Leaders”.

Ask me anything about social impact investments, entrepreneurship, non-traditional paths to VC, being on boards, or something else!

Thanks so much for joining us @deenashakir!Elphas – please ask @deenashakir your questions before Friday, October 15th. @deenashakir may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Hi Deena, My question is actually very similar to the one that Farhaa asked - I'm also looking to transition into VC after a career of working w/ startups (my own agency) and then as a head of editorial & content marketing for a brand. Do you recommend trying to get in as more of an operational team member to leverage that skillset first, and try to get on partner track? Or to first build skills on the investor side separately (e.g. as an angel) and build a resume of advisory & board positions, then try to break in? Thanks!
Hi! There's definitely no one-size-fits-all solution to breaking into venture, but I do think the operating venture partner --> investing partner path is actually a very difficult one (arguably more difficult than breaking in "from the outside.") If you have the ability to to angel invest/advise/take on board roles, you'll be in the mix, generate deal flow, and refine your skillset before getting into an institutional investing role.
Thanks so much @deenashakir!
I’m Linda, I work with where you can Trade/mine your stock’s and leverage everyday income.I would be glad to know what kind of business you are into, maybe we can share business ideas.
Hello Deena! Thank you for this opportunity to ask questions! In your role as the director of social impact investments at, what were the most meaningful projects you worked on? What were the impacts of this role on the outcomes of underserved communities? Lastly, how has journalism informed your journey to Partner at Lux Capital?
All amazing questions! At, I had multiple different roles. Initially, when the organization was more focused on tech for social impact, I led product partnerships and helped launch initiatives like Google Elections, the Civic Information API, etc. Then, when what was fka "Google Giving" became part of (and eventually replaced), I helped lead their efforts to make investments addressing the CS gender gap, including help fund, NCWIT, Girls Who Code Technovation, etc. In terms of impact on underserved communities -- multifold. We launched Google Elections globally, and one of the most impactful launches I worked on was the launch in Kenya, where Google partnered with public and nonprofit partners to make elections result information immediately accessible and accurate, helping to mitigate potential conflict (as had taken place in previous years). Journalism is actually a very helpful background (if counterintuitive) for a career in venture. If you think about it, from a skills perspective, there are lots of similarities: You need to be able to hear signal from noise, distill through lots of information to get to truth, know who to ask the right questions to (i.e. diligence), quickly develop knowledge of complex and broad areas, etc.
I’m Linda, I work with where you can Trade/mine your stock’s and leverage everyday income.I would be glad to know what kind of business you are into, maybe we can share business ideas.
Hello! Thank you so much for sharing your insights! I would love your perspective on how healthcare companies invest in learning about consumer insights vs other industries (CPG comes to mind). There is a recent quote that the shelf life of consumer insights is less than 6 months, how is healthcare investing in keeping up with the changing preferences of consumers?
This is a really tough challenge for healthcare -- and the pandemic really shed light on the importance of addressing consumer awareness/adoption. The development of the vaccines is an excellent example of moonshot innovation in record-breaking time. But we couldn't get shots in arms without also addressing consumer preferences, misinformation, etc. The two must go hand in hand, especially when it comes to public and population health.
@deenashakir thank you! Makes sense, the pandemic really brought so many healthcare issues to the public light, I am hoping the lasting change will happen as many now are expecting personalization and insights about their behavior to be included in consumer experiences in all aspects of life, career, business, healthcare etc. Lots of great work happening, if there are any thought leaders on the healthcare consumer insight space for my radar, please let me know.
Congrats on the self-funding of your OWN education!! (and all else!!) Doing business in healthcare is not for the faint of heart. What have you seen work when it comes to finding the right decision-makers and developing win-win relationships? What do winning business development structures look like?
@deenashakir - thanks for being here and speaking with us! Sorry this is a personal question that involves my career next steps so feel free to take this one last if you may. I am considering a role in biz-ops at Maven clinic, but I’m based in SF so this would be remote. Any thoughts/comments/suggestions on how I could make inroads with the company would be much appreciated. :) Thanks! Meeta
Awesome! Obviously a big fan of Maven! I would make sure that you can make your interest/excitement clear to the team there, and consider using twitter/linkedin/etc.
regarding social impact investments--what are you seeing as a trend? It's talked about a lot but is there much capital really going there? What should happen in future? That's three questions, so please answer whichever or generally : )
@deenashakir so great to meet you! I really admire you and the companies you support through investments and as a board member. I’m a physician-MBA and founder of an early stage health tech startup. It’s built off my research from JHU , and I’m spinning out of the university in 2022. My question is about funding & speed. Through the university I have access to probably $300-500k in grants and nondilutive funding that can help us develop proof of concept and de risk it-At this stage grants can get us a working AI algorithm and data on efficacy in patients. The downside is it can delay us by ~6 months applying to and waiting to hear back from grants. The alternative is raising a seed round, which could maybe be done faster, but it’s dilutive. And it’s hard for me to know which investors will be helpful with their network, experience etc. How would you advise the funding strategy to balance speed of building, dilution, and ease of a raise (de-risk’ed)?Secondly, I’m surrounded by (very wonderful) white men on my team and advisors. Any suggestions on how I can meet potential advisors who both know health-tech startups and are women/diverse backgrounds?Thank you!!
There's always a balance between dilutive/non-dilutive, and it really depends on what your growth plans are. Do you want to build a multibillion dollar venture scalable business? Would you be happy by selling/licensing and self-funding? Not everyone needs venture funding, but scale can often require some dilution.
@deenashakir Of all the healthcare startups/initiatives that you have supported/funded which ones would you highlight were the most successful and why? If you can share some outcomes that will be awesome. Look forward to seeing your response to @joynicolesmith's question as wellIn general what is your take on: With so many startups and bigger check sizes has there been a dent in the healthcare costs primarily driven by VC-funded healthcare startups? Thank you in advance
My portfolio spans from early-stage, pre-commercial through growth-stage/pre-IPO, so to some extent the first question requires comparing apples and oranges. In my portfolio, Maven is at the most advanced stage and has been able to publish clinical and economic ROI (check out their website).Re: the second questions -- as you may know, healthcare cost reduction is not something that can be solved overnight (although many have tried!). Reducing cost of care on the consumer side certainly helps, and innovation in Medicaid/Medicare is also on the rise. There is certainly enough documented "value" created to make a dent, but still so much more to be done!
Hi Deena,Great to “e-meet” you! My question relates more to your involvement in TechWadi (which is such an awesome organization by the way!). As you’ve likely interacted with startups across the Middle East in various stages, what are some of the specific value-adds that the regional VCs bring compared to larger global VCs active in the region, and how do their different skill sets come together to best serve entrepreneurs? For greater context, I’m thinking of examples like Careem and how their success compares to a company like Capiter, whose recent funding round - largely led by MENA investors - was a success in its own right. Would love to get your insight. Thanks!Vidya
Great question. Local funds have an obvious competitive edge with boots on the ground, access to local networks of entrepreneurs and corporates/customers, etc. Even Careem was funded by local partners at the seed stage!
Hello Deena So glad to have you joining here. Such an inspiration to read about your path here. I am journalist who transitioned into ux to product and healthcare/fintech has been my passion sector to focus on.I d like to know how difficult it was for you to be part of VC, board etc with media background? Also its not easy breaking into healthcare investment/product either. What are key non-traditional path to VC? You have mentioned about underdog entrepreneurs – how do you go about identifying them?
I wasn't in journalism very long -- so admittedly my experience is a little anomalous (vs folks like Chrissy Farr and MG Siegler, who were established and well known journalists who became investors). Every pivot/transition I made was honestly incredibly hard! From journalism to government/public service, public service to tech/product partnerships, tech to investing, and of course also specializing in healthcare with a non-clinical background. I talked a bit in one of the previous answers above about why journalism is actually super valuable background to journalism, but I'll add to that that there should be no "traditional" path to VC. No VC is the same, and there are examples of successful investors who have completely different backgrounds. The key is to identify what your "superpower" is and use that to your advantage.
Thanks for being here, @deenashakir! What is the best thing female founders in healthcare/biotech can do to move past Elizabeth Holmes comparisons when they [inevitably] come up in investor meetings?