RiverVest Venture Partners® is a leading venture capital firm building life science companies to address significant unmet needs of patients and deliver consistently strong results to investors.



Investing in Biopharma and Medical Devices

We Deliver Consistently
Strong Results to

We Develop Products to
Address Significant
Unmet Medical Needs

We Found and Guide Successful Companies

We Leverage a Unique
Innovation Network

We Maintain a Strong Partnership Built to Last

We Are RiverVest

Committed to doing business the right way to deliver the best outcomes for our stakeholders:



61 Investments and 40 Exits


RiverVest Venture Partners was founded in September 2000 to invest nationally in life science companies, with a focus on medical devices and biopharma. Twenty years later, our mission has resulted in 26 commercial products currently treating patients.

July 1998

Tom Melzer and Andy Craig explore feasibility of a St. Louis-based venture capital firm.

February 2000

Jay Schmelter joins effort as co-founder, along with Melzer and Craig.

September 2000

RiverVest is formed and raises Fund I. Fund I portfolio company investments lead to 16 commercial products treating patients to this day.

October 2000

First two investments are made in Salient Surgical (Jay Schmelter co-founder) and CyDex Pharmaceuticals. Deals return a combined 3x invested dollars. Commercial products from both companies have helped millions of patients.

August 2006

RiverVest raises Fund II. Managing Directors John McKearn, Ph.D., and Niall O’Donnell, Ph.D., join and develop a successful biopharma strategy.

January 2008

RiverVest Cleveland office opens.

September 2011

3×5 Special Opportunity Fund (joint venture with Portland-based Arnerich Massena) launches with a concentrated portfolio of later-stage life science and natural resources investments.

December 2011

Founded by RiverVest, Fund II company Lutonix exits with 8.0x gross return, highest multiple to date.

March 2014

RiverVest Fund III is raised, continuing same successful strategy as Fund II.

June 2014

Sale of portfolio company Lumena Pharmaceuticals to Shire closes, representing firm’s 25th exit.

November 2015

3×5 RiverVest Fund II launches with same strategy as 3×5 Special Opportunity Fund.

April 2016

RiverVest San Diego office opens. Managing Director Nancy Hong, Ph.D., joins.

November 2016

RiverVest Archer Seed Fund is raised.

December 2017

RiverVest Fund IV is raised.

May 2018

Astra-Zeneca commercializes Lokelma™, the 25th product treating patients originated in a RiverVest portfolio company (ZS Pharma).

July 2018

Portfolio company Allakos completes initial public offering, one of the most successful biotech IPOs in 2018.

September 2019

Managing Director Derek Rapp joins.

September 2020

RiverVest celebrates 20 years investing in medical devices and biopharma.

March 2021

RiverVest Fund V is raised with $275M in commitments.

Andy Craig, a RiverVest co-founder and former RiverVest managing director, as well as former chairman of NationsBank and chairman & CEO of Boatmen’s Bancshares, passed away on May 24, 2019. Andy’s high professional standards, caring for others, and decisiveness are important building blocks of RiverVest’s culture, which will serve the firm, its investors, and entrepreneurial partners well for years to come.

rivervest map dots graphic image

RiverVest’s Footprint Increases Its Opportunity Set

St. Louis

101 S. Hanley Road, Suite 1850
St. Louis, MO 63105
Phone: (314) 726.6700

San Diego

10996 Torreyana Road, Suite 280
San Diego, CA 92121
Phone: (314) 726.6700


11000 Cedar Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106
Phone: (216) 658.3982
RiverVest strives to improve the lives of patients, support entrepreneurs, and earn the trust of investors through science, strategy, and innovation. Contact us at info@rivervest.com
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