US-based Intuitive Surgical, which specialises in minimally invasive care and robotic-assisted surgery, has launched a $100m inaugural investment fund, called Intuitive Ventures.

The fund is focused on investment opportunities in digital tools, precision diagnostics, focal therapeutics, and platform technologies.

Intuitive Ventures marks the company’s entry to venture capital space. It will invest in independent ventures in the fields related to minimally invasive care.

Intuitive Ventures president Julian Nikolchev said: “The future of minimally invasive care spans the patient journey from early diagnosis to treatment and beyond.

“Intuitive Ventures is investing in cutting-edge innovation across the continuum of care to bring the future forward.”

Nikolchev, who joined Intuitive Surgical last year, will also continue to serve as the company’s Corporate Development and Strategy senior vice-president.

Nikolchev joins Intuitive Ventures’ director Dr Oliver Keown, who will serve as the director of Intuitive Ventures.

Keown said: “We are value-add investors who leverage access to Intuitive’s unique industry expertise and customer connections.

“Our nimble structure and alignment with the start-ups will empower us to invest early and support our portfolio companies as they pioneer markets.”

Intuitive Ventures has already started deploying capital and is building its portfolio, the company noted.

Last year, Intuitive Surgical received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the use of its Ion endoluminal system for minimally invasive biopsy in the peripheral lung.