Featured Investors
July 5, 2023

Featured Investors | July 2023 - Alexis Alston of Lightship Capital and Ryan Lee of Comcast Ventures

Isaac Snitkoff
EVCA Fellow

Alexis Alston, Principal at Lightship Capital

Alexis Alston is the first hire and now Principal at Lightship Capital, a fund dedicated to investing in remarkable founders in overlooked places across the US. There she leads the investment team and focuses on AI, Health, and E-commerce investing at the seed stage. In addition, she supports founders through educational programs at Lightship Foundation, and in her free time produces noteworthy conferences including Black Tech Week, What's Next Con, and others. Most recently, she was named Forbes 30 Under 30 in Venture Capital by Forbes Magazine.

EVCA: Describe a defining moment in your career and how it shaped where you are today.

Alexis: A defining moment in my career would be the launch of Lightship Capital, what was originally a small idea (that many deemed impossible) has become the framework and guiding light for many others interested in supporting and investing in diverse founders.

EVCA: What is an emerging technology trend that will have a significant impact on the world in the next decade?

Alexis: An emerging technology that will have a huge impact on the world are many of the healthcare technologies that are bringing holistic solutions around fertility, and maternal mortality to the limelight. Investments I've made into companies like Proov, Femi, and others are leading the way in creating better health outcomes for those who have been ignored for decades.

Ryan Lee, Principal at Comcast Ventures

Ryan Lee is a Principal on the investment team at Comcast Ventures, helping the firm identify, invest in, and support early stage companies across various industries including digital health, AI/data, gaming, proptech, climate, fintech, and the future of work. Ryan serves as board observer for Curbio, Architect.io, and Evabot and has worked or sourced the firm’s investments in Resemble AI, Hume AI, Juno, Walrus, Player’s Lounge, and Evabot. Before joining Comcast Ventures, Ryan was an investor at Advantage Capital, a multi-strategy impact investment firm focused on economic development in underserved communities. At Advantage Capital, Ryan helped co-found the sourcing team and sourced or worked on the firm’s investments in Hudl, MedRhythms, Opendorse, mTrade, and Pacha Soap amongst others. He also co-led the firm’s thesis development, structure, and fundraise of, Empower the Change, a $200 million investment fund supporting underrepresented founders. Ryan received a M.S. in International Management and B.S. in International Business in East Asian Studies from Northeastern University.

EVCA: Describe a defining moment in your career and how it shaped where you are today.

Ryan: In hindsight, the most defining moment of my career so far happened just before my career had even really started. I studied International Business in East Asian Studies with a minor in Mandarin at Northeastern University, had been lucky enough to get into Peking University as an exchange student, and to receive a strategy consulting Co-op (6-8 month full-time internship) at Roland Berger in Beijing. At the time, I was convinced I wanted to pursue a career as a strategy consultant in China or Hong Kong and spent most of my senior year recruiting for those roles. I eventually landed what I had thought would be my dream job at one of the major US strategy consulting firms in Hong Kong, but when they delivered my offer letter just before graduation I was shocked to see the salary wouldn’t be enough to pay my rent + student loans (let alone build up any real savings). As Mike Tyson famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” My dream job turned out to be less of a dream and more like a potential financial nightmare. I was devastated and because of the timing I found myself scrambling to find a job as most of my classmates were beginning their careers that summer. I spent most of that summer thinking deeply about what I really wanted out of my career, what natural skills I could leverage, and what skills I wanted to develop. I realized I found venture capital interesting for the same reason I was originally attracted to management consulting – a career where I could analyze a wide variety of businesses in a short period of time, learn best practices as well as how to avoid the mistakes others have made, and then use those learnings to support other companies in the future. A few months later I found my first role in venture capital and couldn’t be happier with how things ultimately worked out.

EVCA: What is an emerging technology trend that will have a significant impact on the world in the next decade?

Ryan: One technology trend that I firmly believe is poised to provide significant positive impact for the world in the next decade is the emergence of digital therapeutics. Digital therapeutics deliver medical interventions directly to patients using evidence-based, clinically evaluated software to treat, manage, and prevent a broad spectrum of diseases and disorders. Over the last few years, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released new billing codes to streamline commercial billing of Prescription Digital Therapeutics (PDT)​ allowing greater access and market viability to companies operating in this space. I believe digital therapeutics are especially exciting given the incentive alignment amongst all stakeholders; better clinically proven healthcare outcomes for underserved patient populations, additional revenue streams for prescribers that had not existed previously, and lower costs for payers.