Access for All: How Genius Guild Invests in the Social Determinants of Health

Kathryn Finney
3 min readJan 19, 2023

Genius Guild believes that there’s significant opportunity and room for growth in innovations around the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). We’re bullish on investing in startups improving SDOHs, and the traction of portfolio companies like Juno, Health in Her Hue, and Youme lend further support to this thesis. Our portfolio companies improve people’s lives AND create opportunities for sizable investment returns.

Social Determinants of Health: A Brief Primer

Social Determinants of Health, or SDOHs, are “the non-medical factors that influence health outcomes … the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life, (WHO). Many SDOHs involve access to necessities required to thrive, including healthy, plentiful food; education; job security; housing and basic amenities; safe neighborhoods; and affordable and decent health care services. Such access often has a greater effect than individual lifestyle choices on people’s health. For example, a 2022 Health and Human Services report suggests that SDOHs can account for as much as 50% of health outcomes.

Though the first major UK study linking socioeconomic status with health was published in 1967, it was not until 1985 that the US Department of Health and Human Services released the first American report on minority health, which found severe disparities in the health of marginalized groups compared to the overall U.S. population.

Over 25 years later, very little has changed. A 2019 analysis of CDC and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data from 1993 to 2017 shows “a worrisome lack of progress on health equity during the past 25 years in the United States.”

How Genius Guild Invests in Innovations around SDOHs

We continue to dig deep into investing in SDOHs by investing along the following three areas:

Healthy People
SDOH: Social Community; Health Care Access; and Quality
Example Genius Guild Fund I investment: Juno Medical (Series A omni-channel primary care platform)

  • Value-based care approaches that serve emerging markets in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Products and services that foster physical and mental health in underserved markets
  • Omni-channel platforms that focus on whole person primary care.
  • The personalization of care draws on various data streams, including medical history and relevant demographic and SDOH-related data, to suggest the best treatment (example: providers virtually delivering care to wearable devices, enabling individualized management of chronic diseases such as diabetes).

Healthy Environments
SDOH: Neighborhood & Built Environment; Economic Factors
Example Genius Guild Fund I investment: Stimulus (Seed-stage supply chain management platform)

  • Innovations that bridge the clean tech gap in underserved communities.
  • Products and services that increase access to clean energy and green mobility.
  • Platforms that foster sustainability and access to clean water, air, and physical environments.

Healthy Communities
SDOH: Social Community; Health Care Access and Quality; Education Access and Quality
Example Genius Guild Fund I investment: Health in Her Hue (Seed-stage digital health platform)

  • Innovations that improve social determinants of health (SDOHs) like access to healthy food, affordable caregiving, etc.
  • Platforms rethinking how health care is accessed and delivered in underserved communities (example: telemedicine).
  • Startups that improve access to and quality of care for those populations who access care through Medicaid and Medicare Advantage.

Genius Guild is excited to invest more in Healthy Communities in 2023. We will continue to work with companies that are not only doing well for their shareholders but also doing good for their surrounding communities.



Kathryn Finney

Builder of Awesome Things | CEO & Founder Genius Guild. More info: