Cultivation Capital’s Elise Miller Hoffman, AB ’11/MBA ’16, has been promoted to general partner after serving as a principal in the firm since receiving her MBA. Hoffman started with Cultivation Capital in 2015 while earning her MBA from WashU Olin.
While a student, Hoffman took classes from Cultivation cofounder Cliff Holekamp, MBA ’01, who was also an Olin entrepreneurship professor at the time.
“Elise was one of the most motivated and accomplished students I had the pleasure to teach at Olin,” said Holekamp. “She came into Olin and embraced and excelled at everything entrepreneurship. Elise founded an entrepreneurial fellowship program, interned at a St. Louis startup, won a venture capital competition, and led just about every student project team—always earning the A.”
Hoffman interned with Cultivation Capital before accepting a full-time offer as a principal focusing on the firm’s life science investments upon graduating in 2016.
“It has been an honor to work alongside innovators and entrepreneurs who are advancing groundbreaking technologies, creating jobs and building our economy,” Hoffman said. “I have learned a great deal from my mentors and colleagues at Cultivation Capital, who—driven by our mission of ‘thriving enterprises, vibrant communities’—are working to infuse capital into our startup ecosystem.”
As a principal, Hoffman ran weekly partner meetings, helped with capital formation and managed relationships with portfolio companies including serving on the board of Healthy Bytes and as a board observer at ImageMover and NarrativeDx.
In her new role, Hoffman will serve as manager of a venture capital fund and as an equity partner in a fund, raising capital, making all the investment decisions and managing the portfolio companies.
“It is highly unusual for someone to make GP at Elise’s age and it is a major accomplishment,” Holekamp said, noting that only 11% of venture capital partners are women.
Hoffman is the second employee in the firm’s history to be elevated to general partner, following Kyle Welborn, who became a general partner in the Yield Lab in 2016. She is the first female general partner at Cultivation Capital focused on health tech and the life sciences.
“Elise has done a fantastic job managing her duties with investors, with the portfolio and collaborating with the partners. She has developed all the skills necessary to now succeed as a general partner,” said Bill Schmidt, Cultivation Capital leader for life sciences.
Outside of work, Elise is active in the entrepreneurship community as well as at WashU, where she serves as a director of the Holekamp Seed Fund as well as an investor in residence with the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“As a general partner, I look forward to investing in promising healthcare companies, particularly those that are solving pressing problems that have been exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hoffman said.