Nirvana Healthcare Ventures Builds World-Class Team to Support Midwest Innovation

Nirvana Healthcare Ventures (NHCV) has hit the ground running in 2023 with the announcement of its newest advisor, Toby Cosgrove, MD. The former Cleveland Clinic CEO now joins an impressive team dedicated to funding transformational healthcare innovations across the Midwest.

Widely known for his nearly five-decade relationship with the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Cosgrove is recognized globally as a true healthcare innovator. He served as the Clinic’s President and Chief Executive Officer from 2004 to 2017 and remains an executive advisor to the institution. During his leadership tenure, the Clinic was ranked among the top three hospitals in the nation, growing revenue from $3.7 billion to $8.5 billion while simultaneously launching many new efforts to improve patient outcomes and expand services.

Prior to becoming an executive, Dr. Cosgrove built a successful career as a renowned cardiac surgeon at the Clinic, operating on tens of thousands of patients while filing dozens of patents for new surgical products to aid him in his work.

“Not only is Toby one of the world’s most successful and celebrated healthcare executives, he is also a proven healthcare innovator with front-line experience helping patients,” said Marc Byrnes, NHCV Board Chair and former Chairman and CEO of Oswald Companies. “His invaluable insights and decades of experience will help to round out a powerhouse team of talented physicians, innovators, investors and business leaders.”

This team includes a trio of world-renowned Midwest physicians who are also biomedical engineers, inventors and investors. All are serving as consulting managing partners to the firm and worked with Cosgrove during his tenure at Cleveland Clinic. They are:

  • Frank A. Papay, MD, DSc(HON), FACS, FAAP: a celebrated plastic and reconstructive head, neck and craniofacial surgeon, and lead surgeon of America’s first full facial transplant. Dr. Papay is also an inventor, a CMO or CSO of several startups and co-founder of He holds dozens of U.S. patents and has received more than 50 industry honors—including the Cleveland Clinic Sones Centennial Innovation Award and the WebMD Health Hero Award in Science.
  • Marc S. Penn, MD, PhD, FACC: a renowned cardiologist who has helped pioneer and commercialize several important innovations in his field, while developing two parallel careers as an inventor and healthcare investor. Dr. Penn is a former Innovator of the Year recipient at Cleveland Clinic and has served as a founder and executive for several successful healthcare startups including the Cleveland HeartLab, which was acquired in 2017 by Quest Diagnostics.
  • Raymond R. Rackley, MD: a renowned pelvic reconstructive surgeon, biomedical engineer and life-science industry consultant. Over 32 years, Dr. Rackley has also generated significant returns as an investor, developing strong partnerships and co-investing relationships with some of the region’s most active funders, including First Analysis, Mutual Capital Partners, BlueTree Capital, JumpStart, BioEnterprise, North Coast Ventures, and MI-12 managing partners while holding board and committee roles in several seed-series, early and late-stage medical device and pharmaceutical companies.

“Our work as physicians sparked a pursuit of innovation to improve outcomes for patients,” said Cosgrove of the team. “At the same time, our experiences as executives, investors and inventors have solidified a desire to harness this innovation to build better healthcare companies. I believe this team has the ability to do both.”

Dr. Cosgrove will sit on the NHCV advisory board alongside Byrnes, as well as Stephen McHale (Founder & CEO of UnifyWork and former CEO and Chairman of Explorys); William Seelbach (Senior Advisor at The Riverside Company), and Ira Kaplan (Executive Chairman, Executive Committee Member and former Managing Partner at Benesch Law Firm).

Dr. Papay, Dr. Penn, and Dr. Rackley join an equally strong leadership team headed by Managing Director, J. Burner Crew. Crew brings more than three decades of capital markets experience to NHCV, having held leadership roles at EF Hutton, McDonald and Company and KeyBank before later founding Nirvana Analytics, a full-service fund management and consulting firm.

This leadership team also includes Managing Partners, Rem Harris and Aaron Kelley. Harris brings more than two decades of experience as an investor and senior executive, including a 13-year tenure at JumpStart Inc., where he managed the organization’s Seed and Series A Venture funds and led investments in more than 100 companies. Kelley adds an additional 15 years of experience in investment consulting, private banking and institutional asset management, during which he raised more than $3.5B in assets from institutional investors across the globe.

“Our team is our greatest asset,” said Crew. “Our combined knowledge, experience and networks separate Nirvana from the pack when it comes to sourcing, funding and fueling breakthrough healthcare startups in the Midwest.”

About Nirvana Healthcare Ventures

Nirvana Healthcare Ventures is a Cleveland-based venture capital firm focused on funding high-growth, early-stage Midwest healthcare companies. By leveraging strong relationships with regional healthcare systems, research institutions, startup support organizations and co-investors, the firm seeks to source, invest and scale the most innovative companies in the region while achieving top-tier venture returns for partners and co-investors. For more information, visit:


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