A Letter from John Shumate, our Chief Executive Officer
Nearly 10 years ago, at the age of 28, CEO John Shumate was diagnosed with Stage 4b Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. At the time of diagnosis John was working for Louisville-based PE firm, Blue Equity. He remembers thinking that no matter what time he had left he wanted to work on projects that were interesting, innovative and just have fun doing it.
Immediately upon diagnosis, John moved to Houston for treatment. Because he was unable to meet or travel, he began picking up equity and derivative valuations for VC’s with technology and health care companies. The work was interesting and challenging. Eventually, as he began feeling better and started hiring more help, Venture First was born. Today, VF has over 30 employees across the country.
John often compares finding the right clinical trials and treatment regimens to nearly reverse his diagnosis, to building a start-up. You power through research, find the best trials, get in front of the right doctors to apply, and basically build your own treatment plan because it’s never been done before. And he’s quick to add that you need to get a little bit lucky too.
In nearly ten years, John has had 15 treatments, 11 of which were clinical trials, a stem cell transplant and a round of radiation. He is one of the few people in the world to build this treatment approach.
“You never know what’s around the next corner, but I’m confident that I will continue to do battle and win. I’m proud of our company, and the work that we do. We are helping all types of businesses in all types of industries wake up and fight their fight every day too.”