(Bloomberg) — Former Bridgewater Associates Singapore head Margaret Wang has left the hedge fund giant for a new challenge: investing in women’s healthcare.
Wang this month joined Recharge Capital, a $6 billion New York and Singapore-based firm that invests in themes such as synthetic biology, semiconductors, digital assets and fintech infrastructure. She will lead its women’s health investments as a managing partner and oversee the company’s broader Asia Pacific operations.
Recharge recently received an initial $200 million tranche of commitments for women’s healthcare from investors including Peter Thiel’s namesake firm as well as Shamrock Holdings Inc., an investment vehicle for the family of Roy E Disney, a longtime senior executive of Walter Disney Co. In-vitro fertilization is an initial focus of Recharge’s investment in this area.
It is an undertaking close to the heart of the America-born daughter of Chinese immigrants. Both doctors, Wang’s parents had dreamed their daughter would follow their footsteps into medicine. Instead, she went on to study economics, and spent just under six years helping the hedge fund firm founded by billionaire Ray Dalio chart its China expansion and leading its Singapore office. Now, at 35, she’s stepping into a healthcare role, not as a doctor, but as an investor.
“The joke has always been ‘it’s never too late to go to medical school’ in my family,” she said in a telephone interview. “For me, being able to invest and build in the women’s healthcare space is particularly meaningful.”
The Asia-Pacific IVF market is expected to expand at around 17% a year from 2022 to reach $46 billion by 2031, according to an Allied Market Research report in November. That growth is being driven by the increased success rates of IVF procedures and more middle-aged people confronting infertility who are willing to shell out funds.
China, facing a rapidly aging population, has been driving most of that growth, Allied Market Research said. Meantime, other markets are opening up, like Singapore. The city state now allows women without medical reasons aged 21 to 37 to freeze eggs for later use, including those who aren’t married.
Among Recharge Capital’s existing investments are Mexico’s Fertilidad Integral and Generation Prime, a platform that brings together clinics it either owns or partners with in Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Clinics give up a portion of their revenue in exchange for access to international medical tourism, advanced testing kits and diagnostic tools on the platform.
Recharge invested $3 million to incubate Generation Prime in October 2022, whose other investors also include Singapore’s Thomson Medical Group Ltd. and Shamrock.
“It is the best demonstration of how digitized and streamlined IVF services could piece together a fragmented industry,” Wang said. “Many couples start their experience in Singapore for consultation, believing that Singapore has the best medical quality, but only to realize that Singapore has many restrictions such as egg freezing requirements, genetic testings and gender selection, which are allowed in other markets.”
Recharge has also been examining potential investments in related industries, such as providers of diagnostic tools to screen for certain diseases, as well as those that focus on maternal wellness.
“A lot of these technology assets that approach us, their challenge has often been to penetrate the actual procurement at the clinics,” Wang said.
Medical tourism is another. IVF treatment costs around $3,587 in Thailand, compared with $15,000 to $30,000 per cycle in North America, according to the Allied Market Research report.
Wang helped Bridgewater start a hedge fund for China-based investors in 2018 and served as the firm’s Beijing chief representative before heading the Singapore unit. She met Recharge founder Lorin Gu through a mutual acquaintance when she lived in New York.
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