While in Hong Kong this past week, it appeared that there were only three stories that the newspapers wanted to cover. Quite clearly, the first and by far the most important was Super Typhoon Mangkhut which made landfall the day after I headed out. It was forecasted to be the worst storm to hit the colony in recorded history, graded a level T10 which is the highest possible level. And it did not disappoint. Growing up in Hong Kong, I had become somewhat accustom to significant tropical storms battering the island. In fact, Hong Kong has become quite resilient to these storms, and as devastating as Mangkhut was, there was very modest loss of life (initial counts point to less than five fatalities in Hong Kong, although there was significant carnage in the Philippines). All the focus on the typhoon underscored how impressive the Hong Kong healthcare system is but also Continue reading "Calm Before the Storm…in Hong Kong"
What a remarkable week, and not just because of the political “twilight zone” we are now dialed into, but the current S&P 500 bull run officially became the longest one over the past 70 years. Since this run started in March 2009, the index has increased 323% over the past 3,452 days. Unfortunately, over the past 20 years, U.S. public equity markets have returned only 6.5% per annum, which is well below longer term equity returns of 10%, per DataTrek Research. Inevitably this has caused many institutional investors to seek greater returns elsewhere. Against this backdrop, seemingly unrelated occurrences such as the crash of cryptocurrencies, performance of emerging market equities, repatriation of overseas cash, and the level of household debt start to make more sense. Mostly due to levels of unprecedented innovation, these fund flows have also contributed to what has been yet again another very strong quarter
Continue reading "Twilight Zone…"
A few weeks ago I wrote about the launch of the Looking Glass, a desktop holographic display made for 3D creators. Since then, over a thousand people have purchased a Looking Glass for their desks. I think part of the reason for this attention is that the Looking Glass is filling a much-needed hole in the REPL for Hardware flow alongside additive and subtractive desktop 3D printers and laser cutters. It also helps that the Looking Glass works without a VR or AR headset. If you have ever used a 3D printer, has Unity, Maya, or Blender on your computer, or isn’t scared by terms like “volumetric video” and “light-field photography”, you should probably have a Looking Glass. For 48 more hours, you can get one of your own for 25% off here. It’s right around this point in the post that I can hear the skeptics asking themselves
Continue reading "Will Someone Please Tell Me Exactly What a Looking Glass Can Do?"
I like to think of the investing discipline as composed of three key modes of operation. Buying – Figuring out what you should buy and what you should not buy. There are many strategies that work here but my favorite is buying things that others are not buying. And my preferred reason for “others not buying” is that they don’t know about it yet. Managing – This is the work an investor does to manage the investment. It includes decisions around whether to buy more of an investment that is working, which is incredibly important and can massively impact returns. But I believe that the most powerful thing an investor can do to impact their investment is to work with the management of the investment to make sure that the team is making the right strategic and operational decisions. Selling – This is all about when to exit an investment
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On August 13th, I’m giving a talk as part of the Aspen Entrepreneur Showcase. I’m doing an AMA moderated by Chris Klug on:
- Entrepreneurship & Innovation in Rural Communities
- Angel & Venture Capital Investing
- The GiveFirst Ethos and its Impact on Startups
- Forming Great Boards of Directors
- Techstars Accelerator Going International
- Mental Health and Depression
- Philanthropic Giving
- Trends for 2019
My end of the week fishing reads: • As Cost of Living Rises and Wages Stagnate, Big City Freelancers Look to Small Cities (Slate) • How Sellers Trick Amazon to Boost Sales (Wall Street Journal) • Surrendering to Rising Seas. Coastal communities struggling to adapt to climate change are beginning to do what was once unthinkable: retreat (Scientific American) • How We… Read More The post 10 Friday AM Reads appeared first on The Big Picture.
What a remarkable time to have traveled to Switzerland and the United Kingdom. After a series of meetings with healthcare industry leaders in Switzerland and England last week, the trip put some of the raging healthcare policy debates into better context. Unfortunately, the current U.S. political situation was at times quite distracting with revelation upon revelation unfolding throughout the trip; but no less so than the debates raging around Brexit, bickering over tariffs, Europe’s own version of Russian meddling, and the “baby Trump balloon.” What a surprise to learn that the State Department had issued a travel advisory warning for Americans traveling in London of all places. Often U.S. politicians opposed to the Affordable Care Act point to the “single payor system” in Europe which unfortunately ignores the fact that there is not one system in Europe and that while countries like Switzerland achieve universal coverage, they Continue reading "Art of Healthcare in Basel…"
Our friends at High Alpha just announced their new High Alpha Studio and High Alpha Capital fund. We are proud to be partnered with them across both efforts. When we make an investment, whether into a company or into a fund, we always start with the people. First and foremost, we have to believe that the people we are backing are good humans, and that, taken together, they form a team that is greater than the sum of the parts. We want to invest in teams that have a positive impact on their companies, portfolios, and broader communities. Next, we need to see a compelling strategy that maps well to the strengths of the team. There are a number of different winning approaches in venture, but not all teams are equally well-suited to execute a given strategy. Specifically, we don’t think that there are many teams that are well-suited Continue reading "Our Investment in High Alpha"
When my life gets crazy, which it is right now, it helps me to internalize what is most important and triage around that. And I’m not just talking about what tasks to do and what not to do. I’m also talking about prioritizing friends and family, exercise, eating right, communicating, and all the things that at one time or another in my life I have let slide in favor of work. The triage is visible to people, of course, and saying no can be challenging. I saw some friends last night and they invited me to a thing they are doing in a couple weeks. They said “would you like to come?” I said “No”. My friend said, “do you mean you can’t?” And I said “I just mean I won’t.” He got a chuckle out of it but when I’m in triage mode, I can be
Continue reading "Priorities and Triage"
We’ve been soaking (and investing) in the world of 3D printing since our investment in MakerBot in 2011. Since then, we’ve made three other investments in the world of 3D printing – Formlabs, Glowforge, and Looking Glass. While Looking Glass is a holographic display and is the inverse of a 3D printer, you’ll see how it fits into this in a moment. While I continue to be impressed by Desktop Metal, the incredible press that they get, and am a big fan of the writing of Jason Pontin, I think Jason’s story in Wired – 3-D Printing Is The Future of Factories (For Real This Time) – misses several key points that take the idea that 3D printing is the future in a different direction. I’ve decided that 3D printing is the REPL for Hardware. Dan Shapiro, the CEO of Glowforge, coined this and he’s completely
Continue reading "The REPL For Hardware"
We write on our phones all day long. Texts, emails, searches, etc. But long form writing is a different thing. I’m not sure how much long form writing happens on phones. I’ve been mostly writing my daily posts on my phone in the last month and I quite like it. I am writing this post on my phone on a train to NYC this morning. It has a more casual feel. The words flow naturally from my head to my thumbs to the screen. I feel connected to the writing in a way that doesn’t quite happen on a big screen. I like that I can write on my phone anywhere. On a park bench. On a train. Sitting on the beach. Being able to write anywhere makes it less of a chore and more of a treat. Like having a moleskin with you all the time. I don’t write
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Much of the significant recent merger activity in the healthcare sector is focusing renewed attention on the role of the pharmacy and the continued “retailization” of healthcare. Last month Flare Capital announced an investment in Aspen Health which will enable pharmacists to practice to their fullest potential. Now we are excited to announce Flare’s newest portfolio company higi, a company which will further position the pharmacy and other retail settings as the “front door” to one’s healthcare journey. Higi has built a robust national network of over 11,000 smart health stations (as well as a host of robust mobile applications), which are within five miles of nearly 80% of all Americans, and capture a wide array of biometric data including blood pressure, pulse, weight as well as survey and demographic data. They are located across 14 retail partners (pharmacies, supermarkets covering more than 50 banners) as well
Continue reading "Step on Through: Healthcare’s “Digital Doorway”"
My mid-week morning plane reads: • Welcome to Blaine, the town Amazon Prime built (The Verge) • What became of the ‘uncertainty’ meme? As Trumponomics get more unpredictable, U.S. Chamber stops complaining. (LATimes) • Proof Negative (Above the Market) • Teens are ditching Facebook like mad (Fast Company) see also How Old Are Successful Tech Entrepreneurs? (Kellogg Insight) • Your Brain on Reading… Read More The post 10 Wednesday AM Reads appeared first on The Big Picture.
Investment partnerships make many decisions together – many are small and relatively inconsequently decisions while others are more profound and impactful. Together we will make dozens of investment decisions over the course of any given fund, but we will only make a few personnel decisions. So, with great anticipation, we are excited to announce that Sarah Sossong has joined Flare Capital Partners as a Principal. For nearly two decades, Sarah has been in the middle of the transformation of healthcare, most recently as the Senior Director for the Center of Telehealth at Massachusetts General Hospital for the past six years, where she was in middle of launching several novel care delivery solutions. Previously, Sarah was managing a wide range of innovative healthcare technology projects at Kaiser Permanente for seven years. But it does not stop there: she is also super smart having graduated from Princeton University magna cum laude and Continue reading "Plus One – Flare Team Expands…"
Amy Batchelor and I have been married for 25 years today. Here’s what we looked like a long time ago on a vacation together in Cabo. R.E.M. and Dilbert together kind of says it all. Here’s another picture of us in our apartment at 15 Sleeper Street in Boston on Amy’s 25th birthday. Amy remembers that I took her out that night to Biba for dinner. That keyboard is the one that almost burned down an entire fraternity building on 351 Mass Ave one night. But that’s another story. I loved Amy’s permed hair – maybe that look will come back in fashion some day. Amy and I are in Dresden on our way to Berlin with my parents right now. They just celebrated their 55th anniversary, which is a remarkable achievement. I hope to have at least another 30 years with Amy. Happy anniversary my beloved. The post
Continue reading "Happy 25th Anniversary Amy"
A staggering $453 billion will be spent on pharmaceutical products in 2018 in the United States per Statista analyst estimates. Ten years ago, that amount was $291 billion. With 326 million Americans, that is nearly $1,400 per capita. Into this marketplace enters Aspen Health, our most recent “semi-stealth” investment which is focused on enabling pharmacists to practice to their fullest potential. Much has been made about the devastating opioid crisis, and appropriately so. What has come to light in this current raging debate has been greater scrutiny of the various pharmaceutical distribution channels and whether the role of the pharmacist can be expanded to play a more meaningful patient-centric role. The increased complexity of the mix of therapeutics as increasingly more of them move to biologics and specialty drugs (now 42% of pharma revenues) necessitates the need for competent clinical pharmacy practices. Aspen Health is founded by David Medvedeff
Continue reading "A Pharmacist Working His Magic…"
Yesterday Iora Health announced the close of a $100 million growth financing. We are thrilled to be an investor in what is emerging to be the leading company in the value-based primary care space. Iora is focused on Medicare patients over 65 years of age, managing over two dozen practices nationally. The care model is incredibly compelling as it focuses on an array of both clinical and social relationships with the members. Typical care teams are comprised of a primary care provider, health coaches, behavioral health specialists, nurses, clinical team managers and operations assistants, all collaborating to care for the whole person. Iora Health’s patients experience a 40% decrease in hospitalizations and a 20% decrease in ER visits. Arguably the US healthcare system is at a point of inflection. Yup. We have heard that many times before. But wait – this now feels different. CVS buying Aetna, Cigna combining with
Continue reading "Iora Health – Bird in Flight"