A unique investment firm in Fort Wayne dedicated to “healing healthcare” is now open for business—with a special focus on northern Indiana. The medical-focused affiliate of Fort Wayne-based philanthropic equity firm Ambassador Enterprises, Mend Medical is searching for its first investment, which will spark its other two goals: funding smaller early-stage companies and launching Mend Labs to incubate new ideas.

Mend Medical President Ben Joseph says Ambassador’s legacy in northeast Indiana will benefit the young firm, as well as its business model of making long-term commitments.

“Mend has to make money—that’s a requirement. But that’s not what solely drives us; it’s bigger than that for us,” says Joseph. “It’s about helping people, helping patients, making a difference—all of those are really important to us, so I think [Ambassador’s] DNA transfers there.”

Joseph says the overarching goal is to “heal the brokenness” in the healthcare industry, but a special focus on orthopedics and musculoskeletal health “makes sense for us.” Warsaw, the “Orthopedic Capital of the World,” is in Mend’s backyard, and Joseph—the firm’s main visionary—has years of experience in the orthopedic sector, as does most of the executive leadership team.

“We started to have conversations [at Ambassador] about the sectors that are important for economic activity and vitality in Indiana, and obviously, orthopedics came up with my background and the proximity to Warsaw,” says Joseph. “That led to us asking, ‘Are there things we can do in this space that could be interesting and profitable?’”

Joseph says Mend prefers to invest in companies in northern Indiana and throughout the state, but is open to other opportunities, regardless of geographic location. Two of Mend’s three partners are Indiana companies: SpeechVive in West Lafayette and Theratome Bio in Indianapolis, both of which were earlier investments made by Ambassador; Mend now manages the investments.

Mend’s first investment will likely aim to accelerate growth in a mature company that is generating revenue and already has regulatory clearances or approvals. Mend plans to also make smaller, targeted investments in startups and early-stage companies and, ultimately, create its own incubator called Mend Labs.

“As [Mend] makes its first acquisition…there are going to be opportunities that develop that [Company A] hasn’t been able to focus on because of capital or bandwidth,” says Joseph. “That’s where Mend Labs might come in and say, ‘We have some capabilities here that could create some technology that is complimentary to what Company A is already doing.’ We get that to proof of concept, and once vetted and validated, we can deploy that into Company A. Then Company B, C and D use Mend Labs as a vehicle to help accelerate value and bring technologies to market quicker.”

Joseph says, although in its infant stages, Mend is generating great interest; the young company believes that affirms its direction and mission.

“We may buy and acquire companies and technology, but we also might incubate our own, if we find areas of healthcare where we’re not seeing meaningful solutions come to market,” says Joseph. “It’s this blend of investment, private equity—along with the Mend Labs environment—I think is really intriguing to people. There’s been a lot of affirmation and encouragement in the market, and we hope that will be a precursor to big things.”

Joseph says Mend has a unique model, which he describes as a “hybrid.”

Joseph says, while the U.S. is blessed to have a great healthcare system, Mend sees an opportunity to make “meaningful change.”

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