The Journey Venture Studio Appoints First Four Board Members

Notable Seasoned Entrepreneurs Will Support Inaugural Founders-In-Residence Cohort and the Development of Future Disruptive Healthcare Startups in Phoenix

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Melissa DiGianfilippo

Serendipit Consulting


PHOENIX – (July 31, 2023) –  The Journey Venture Studio announced today the appointment of the first four members to its board of directors. Each board member was sought out as a mission-aligned partner as the studio prepares to launch its first Founder in Residence Cohort.

The first four board members include:

  • Heidi Jannenga, WebPT Co-founder & Chief Clinical Officer
  • Jason Wood, Managing Director with Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s Next Level Fund
  • Andy Lombard, CEO of Arizona Venture Development Corporation (AVC)
  • Justin Bayless, Former CEO of Bayless Integrated Healthcare, Founder & CEO of Ten Figures, and Founder & President of The Journey Venture Studio

All board members have extensive knowledge of entrepreneurship, venture capital, and healthcare. The board will be responsible for supporting the leadership of The Journey in developing new venture concepts, identifying trends and opportunities in healthcare, recruiting aspiring entrepreneurs for the Founder in Residence Program and ultimately determine which concepts will be formally spun out of the studio and incorporated as new ventures.

“With the support of these experienced board members we are able to hit the ground running and quickly grow the scale and impact of The Journey Venture Studio,” said Mark Moeremans, Managing Director of The Journey. “Each of these members are passionate about our mission to close the racial and gender opportunity gap in venture and have experience in radically transforming the tech, investment, and healthcare industries and we are honored to have them be a part of The Journey Venture Studio.”

“We are excited to partner with Justin, Mark, and The Journey Venture Studio team to further support Phoenix-based, early-stage healthcare companies led by underrepresented founders,” said Jason Wood.

The board of directors will work closely with the founders as mentors and speakers and will be considered brand ambassadors, attending exclusive VIP events and participating in speaking opportunities on podcasts, panels, and conferences. Board members are also critical in ensuring the financial health of the 501c3 non-profit, with a commitment to lead efforts around funding for the studio as well as identifying investment partners for future spin-outs.

In addition to its Board of Directors, The Journey has begun organizing a formalized syndicate of institutional investors committed to investing in the companies that spin out of the venture studio. Early members of the investor syndicate include Morgan Stanley’s Next Level Fund, the Arizona Venture Development Corporation, and Ten Figures who have pledged early stage investment into thesis-aligned portfolio companies.

Jannenga has an extensive background in entrepreneurship and the healthcare industry. Along with co-founding WebPT, she is the Founder of the Rizing Tide Foundation, a nonprofit that is broadening the reach, impact, and accessibility of physical therapy by advancing diversity and inclusiveness in the physical therapy workforce. Jannenga is a physical therapist turned entrepreneur and business executive having served in clinical practice for 15 years as the multi-clinic site director for the Tempe, Ariz.-based company Physiotherapy Associates. She is an active member of the sports and private sections of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and an engaged Arizona entrepreneurial community member, LP and mentor with Golden Seeds, PHX Ventures, Prospeq and others. . Jannenga also serves on the boards for the Arizona Community Foundation, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Flinn Foundation, Arizona School for the Arts, SciTech Institute and the Arizona Science Center.

Wood is the Managing Director for the Morgan Stanley Next Level Fund, focused on early-stage investments in women-led and multicultural enterprises. He has more than 20 years of direct investment and advisory experience across asset classes and sectors. Prior to joining the Morgan Stanley team, Wood served as a Managing Director with AIG, where he was responsible for the global Direct Equity and Venture Capital co-investment program. He previously served as a Vice President at Parish Capital Advisors, investing in and co-investing with diverse and emerging managers, and began his career in investment banking as an analyst at UBS and as an associate with Merrill Lynch & Co. Wood holds a B.B.A. in finance from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the New York University Stern School of Business.

Lombard is the CEO of Arizona Venture Development Corporation (AVC), a venture capital firm, where he continues a decade-plus-long passion for energizing tech startups and entrepreneurial communities across the state. Before becoming a VC, Lombard was a prolific tech founder, building and exiting four VC-backed startups in B2B SaaS, medical device, cyber security, and wireless broadband. Lombard’s many awards and highlights include being named an E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year finalist and being selected as a U.S. Presidential Tech CEO Forum member. He was co-founder of the Arizona Innovation Challenge, one of the largest business plan competitions in the U.S., as well as the founder of Venture Ready Accelerator, a world-class tech accelerator at ACA. Lombard serves on several boards, including; AZ-VC, Investment Committee; Pangaea Ventures, LP Advisory Committee (LPAC); Board Member, Schola, Inc.; Member, Technology Advisor Board – Tech Launch Arizona, the tech transfer arm of the University of Arizona.

Bayless led Bayless Integrated Healthcare to be featured on the prestigious Inc. 5000 list for the fastest growing private companies in America three years in a row (2018, 2019, and 2020) before executing a strategic transaction with Magellan Health Inc. (NASDAQ: MGLN), a Fortune 500 company, in December 2020. Magellan Health was subsequently acquired by Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC), a Fortune 25 company, in January 2022. Justin subsequently transitioned away from the 40 year old family business in February 2022. Justin exited the family business with a nine figure valuation and growth of employees from 6 to 600 and patients served from 200 to over 50,000 annually. Bayless recently launched Ten Figures, a culturally competent, management consulting and advisory firm supporting the development and growth in BIPOC and/or women healthcare entrepreneurs. He has previously served on several boards including Delta Dental Arizona, Dignity Health Arizona, and was previously appointed by the Governor of Arizona to both the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners as well as the Commission for African American Affairs. Bayless also serves as an advisory board member and partner to the Morgan Stanley Next Level Fund as well as a Board Trustee to his alma mater Morehouse College.

The Journey Venture Studio is a mission-driven venture studio building disruptive healthcare companies in partnership with the next generation of diverse founders. Its mission is to close the racial and gender opportunity gap by empowering diverse founders to pursue entrepreneurship while providing resources and support to increase their odds of success.

The Journey Venture Studio

The Journey, a Phoenix-based 501c3 not-for-profit entity, is a venture studio creating and launching healthcare companies to be led by underrepresented founders.  With a mission to launch healthcare companies aimed at improving health outcomes while creating opportunities for historically underrepresented entrepreneurs from around the country through a tailored venture fellowship, The Journey will activate a new generation of diverse founders; leveling the playing field and bringing world-changing healthcare solutions and technology to life.