Steve Jobs’ son tackles cancer with new firm, Yosemite

Investors in the first close for Yosemite's debut fund include Emerson Collective, The Rockefeller University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and venture capitalist John Doerr.

Reed Jobs, son of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, is seeking to raise $400 million for a new venture fund called Yosemite that will invest in cancer treatments.

Jobs was previously a managing director for eight years at Emerson Collective, a philanthropic organisation and impact investor founded by his mother, Laurene Powell Jobs. Emerson Collective is a limited partner in Yosemite’s debut fund, which has held a first close on more than $200 million. Other investors include The Rockefeller University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and venture capitalist John Doerr, Yosemite said in a statement.

Yosemite Fund I is targeting $400 million, according to a regulatory filing the firm made on July 27.

“We’re on a mission to lead the next chapter in the fight against cancer and forming our own standalone entity provides us the flexibility to best propel great ideas until they’re at scale,” said Jobs, whose father died of pancreatic cancer at age 56. “We believe this first close demonstrates investor confidence in Yosemite’s strategy of building new companies, trust in our extensive grantee and institutional network, and value in our combined experience in shepherding new transformational cancer treatments.”

Yosemite, based in San Francisco, does not list the members of its investment team on its website. In its statement about its new fund, the firm said it is “composed of” the team that made up Emerson Collective Health.

“Since 2015, Emerson Collective Health has been breaking down silos to reach its goal of making cancer non-lethal in our lifetime,” the statement reads. “In spinning off as an independent fund, Yosemite offers a tailored focus on its proven model of creative collaboration.”

Yosemite plans to continue Emerson Collective Health’s “investment strategy of providing grants to emerging research along with flexible funding for incubation and early-translation investments in therapeutics, diagnostics and digital health”, it said.

In addition to raising a new fund, Yosemite said it will manage Emerson Collective Health’s legacy portfolio as an investment adviser.

Emerson Collective lists 19 companies in its venture portfolio, including several – such as Cullinan Oncology, Dragonfly Therapeutics and Umoja Biopharma – that are developing therapies that work with the immune system to fight cancer and other diseases. Several others are working on cell and gene therapies, including ElevateBio, Sana Biotechnology and Spotlight Therapeutics.

ElevateBio founder David Hallal said his company “has been a direct beneficiary of Yosemite’s dual strategy, having partnered with two Yosemite grantees from leading academic centers, as well as having the team involved through their direct venture investment in our most recent few rounds of financing”.