The Making of Medicxi: We have the Operating Partner

“Rich, how many documents did you say we have to review before the end of the week?” “96….! But don’t worry, I’ve scanned through them, I don’t see major issues. Most items are housekeeping and straightforward. I will prepare a summary of the open questions for your feedback and final decision”. 



It was the fall of 2015, Richard Lee was in his very early thirties back then. We were trying to reorganize the life sciences assets and team of Index Ventures into a newly-created distinct company, that we were internally dubbing the “medicxi operation”. After learning that he had decided to leave Index to join a start-up, I felt that Medicxi could be the obvious place for him to grow, so I worked hard to convince him to join us instead of the other start-up. In November 2015, we started working together to define the structure and the scope of Medicxi, which was at that time still very much in its infancy. He became a co-founder. His job title was General Counsel. 

Rich, a young lawyer trained at Linklaters, had joined Index Ventures in 2011 to work on deal structuring and closings, directly reporting to the in-house General Counsel at Index, André Dubois. Over the years he had found himself working regularly on life sciences deals, just as we were focusing ever more on the “asset-centric” type of deals. By definition, these are very complex, heavily structured transactions, very demanding in terms of defining clear milestones triggers and mastering scenario analysis: leadership, insightfulness and competence…these are the descriptors that spring to mind when I think back at what I, and every partner, saw in Rich. Leadership is owning a decision that will impact a larger group of people than oneself. It was amazing to see how Rich would elevate his thinking to long term prospects and results away from the lure of immediate measurable, but not strategic, outcomes and benefits.

So, when the Medicxi partners gathered last December, it was an easy and obvious decision to offer Richard the role of Operating Partner. This belonged to him. At least 96 reasons why this belonged to him..

He has accepted and since January 1st this year, Rich is Co-Founder & Operating Partner of Medicxi. He oversees all operations of the firm outside of investments.

This is a key milestone in the making of Medicxi.