Vishal Gulati

Hello Financial Times, Theranos and Zenefits Are Not Prototype Digital Health Companies

April 3, 2016

The Financial Times is going all negative on digital health. The problem with being so immersed in the sector is that you have to remain tuned into signs of downturn. But two of the examples used in the piece, Theranos and Zenefits are not really digital health as I see it. In the eyes of a digital health VC the key disruptive force in the testing industry would be one that allows users (?patients) to get themselves tested for little money, have access to portable data which can be integrated into services of their choice and at the back end offer analytics of these data. Theranos can / should /must/ will do all these but it is spending (? wasting) most of its time and money trying to reinvent nanotainers and assays. Which makes it a diagnostics company and not digital health company.

P.S.: I only generally rate those pieces on Theranos which don’t mention the age of its founder because to me, that is a sign that it won’t be rehashing cliches and may have more insight. Andrew Ward is generally very good so I let it pass 🙂

This is along the same lines as something I read in January and my view is similar where because some listed digital health companies in the US are trading at a massive discount meant that the lustre of young digital health company was wearing off. I feel that in Europe, where the sector is at an earlier stage has moved more thoughtfully and only companies that have something special or have reached significant scale get funded so hard to see that there will be a similar impact.


Update: If it was any consolation, an opinion FT is going all negative on FinTech. Maybe it is just the season for pessimism.