A daughter of N.E. Philly sees local opportunities to put capital to work

Philadelphia native Adele Oliva, co-founder of 1315 Capital.

Lincoln High School and St. Joseph's University graduate Adele Cirone Oliva has made a name for herself in her hometown - and has just raised $200 million for a health-care investment fund.

Oliva cofounded 1315 Capital with Michael Koby to put money to work in health care. She previously worked at Ira Lubert's Quaker Partners, which she joined in 2007. Prior to Quaker, Oliva had been cohead of the U.S. health-care group at Apax Partners, a private equity firm, starting in 1997.

The new fund tops off Oliva's two decades of experience in the investment business, and although she's lived all over, she says the Philadelphia region and New Jersey are "much richer places" for health-care acquisitions than locales such as Boston, New York, or Silicon Valley.

"This is the medicine chest of the East Coast, of the world even, and all our neighbors work in health care or pharmaceuticals," she said. "There are hundreds of smaller companies here not getting a lot of attention."

Oliva and Koby's 1315 Capital aims to invest in companies with anywhere from $5 million to $50 million in annual revenue, taking either minority or majority stakes of $10 million to $20 million per business.

With offices at 3020 Market St., smack in the middle of University City, 1315 Capital offers easy access to investors - and potential targets - along the Northeast Corridor.

"It's an easy commute for everyone," said Oliva, who grew up in the city's Torresdale section and now lives in the western suburbs.

The daughter of a fireman and a homemaker, Oliva has an impressive background, serving on the board of companies such as Ascent Healthcare Solutions (acquired by Stryker), EKR Therapeutics (acquired by Cornerstone Therapeutics), ESP Pharma (acquired by Protein Design Labs), Esprit Pharma (acquired by Allergan), PreCision Dermatology (acquired by Valeant), Prometheus Labs (acquired by Nestle), and SkinMedica (acquired by Allergan).

Currently, 1315 Capital's portfolio includes Onkos Surgical of Parsippany, N.J.; JDS Therapeutics of Purchase, N.Y.; and Encore Dermatology of Malvern. Last fall, Onkos, a surgical oncology start-up, closed a round of financing led by 1315 Capital.

"Over half of orthopedic oncology patients with bone cancer are children. There's a huge need in this niche market," Oliva said.

Prior to entering private equity in 1997, Oliva worked at CoreStates in commercial banking and at Baxter Healthcare in marketing and business development. She earned a bachelor of science degree from St. Joseph's University and an M.B.A. from Cornell University.

Koby and Oliva cofounded 1315 Capital in 2014. Koby is a veteran health-care investor and operator, with more than 20 growth-equity investments. Most recently, he was managing director for four years at Palm Ventures, a private-equity-focused family office.

Among others, 1315 Capital has fund commitments from LACERS (Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System), and Los Angeles Police and Fire Pensions, according to the publication Pensions and Investments.

Another feather in her cap: Forbes has put Oliva on its Midas List of Top 100 technology investors worldwide, its Top 10 life-science investors, and its list of top women in venture capital.

Oliva recently spoke at the invitation of a Lincoln High classmate - Lori F. Reiner, partner-in-charge of the Philadelphia office of EisnerAmper. Said Reiner: "It's amazing what Adele has done."

At Lincoln, Oliva recalled, "we were in this group called the college block, we took all of our core classes together. It's great to reconnect and see kids out of Lincoln in leadership roles.

"To come from a very basic Philadelphia background and be able to do this back home, where there's such an opportunity, is just very exciting," she said.

Oliva's former bosses at Quaker "have been very supportive of 1315 Capital," a name she said she chose because "alphanumerically I wanted to be at the top of the list. I loved puzzles and ciphers as a kid, and I used to alphabetize my tip money by Federal Reserve district when I was working in college."

She credits her mother, Esther Cirone, with being her role model. (She now lives next door.)

"Our parents let us pursue what we found interesting. At a young age, my brother, Tony [Cirone], was clearly going to be an engineer. Now, he has his own company in Bristol, Bucks County. My sister, Maria, was always going to be a doctor. I was playing banker in the basement."

Their father died when Oliva was in college, and "my mother went back to work in her 50s as a research analyst for the Center for Forensic Economic Studies," retiring in her 70s.

"She was always brilliant, both at home and at work," Oliva said.


215-854-2808 @erinarvedlund