In October 2018, microbiome testing startup uBiome was riding pretty high. Less than a month before, the company had announced a shift to more therapeutic products, raised $83 million in a venture capital round, and added a former Novartis CEO to its board.
Fast forward a year later: the company’s cofounders have resigned, it faces law enforcement scrutiny over its billing practices, it’s currently in bankruptcy proceedings, and it filed a motion Tuesday to move from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which would mean liquidating its assets and shutting down.
A lot can happen in 12 months.
The San Francisco-based company was founded in 2012, and its first product was an at-home kit where people could provide fecal samples and send them in for genomics testing. The company then purported to provide a report about its customer’s microbiome—the bacteria present in the intestines that can have a big impact on people’s health.
The company then began offering a test for irritable bowel syndrome and a test for vaginal health. These tests required a doctor’s order. The company’s practices involving doctors who ordered those tests are reportedly under scrutiny by law enforcement, and its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing included notes about millions of dollars owed to insurance companies as refunds. In July, the company’s cofounders and co-CEOs, Jessica Richman and Zac Apte, resigned from the company.
During the company’s Chapter 11 filing, the company had indicated that it would be looking into a sale. However, according to the motion it filed in court today, the company wasn’t able to secure lending that would enable it to continue operations. As a consequence, it has requested the court allow it to cease operations and liquidate its assets in order to pay off its creditors.
The bankruptcy court still needs to approve the motion. If it is accepted and the company moves to Chapter 7, the liquidation of uBiome’s assets will happen under the supervision of a court-appointed trustee.
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Source: Health Testing Startup UBiome Files For Chapter 7 With Plans To Shut Down
Jessica Richman, Co-founder and CEO of uBiome and Kimmy Scotti, Partner at 8VC, discuss making the move from academia to startup world, applying data to health problems and what’s going on in health tech. — In 2017, Slush brought together 20,000 attendees, including 2,600 startups, 1,600 investors and 600 journalists from over 130 countries. The cold and dark Helsinki welcomed these tech-heads to a week long celebration, including Slush Music, new Slush Y verticals, and hundreds of side-events and activities around the city. Slush 2018 takes place on 4.–5.12.2018 Slush 2017 in pictures: https://www.flickr.com/photos/slushme…
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Babylon Health, a U.K.-based startup whose fast growth has been shadowed by concerns about the efficacy of its telemedicine apps, has raised $550 million in Series C funding, elevating the company to unicorn status. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which invest on behalf of the Saudi Arabian government, led the round that valued the company at $2 billion with a total of $635 million raised.
The new capital will enable the company to expand into more markets including the U.S. and Asia, Babylon said, and it will also bolster its artificial intelligence capabilities on the platform, which serves 4.3 million users worldwide. An unnamed U.S health insurer and a fund of global reinsurer Munich Re also invested. Vostok New Ventures, which already holds a 10% stake in Babylon, previously said it would participate in the new round, as did Sweden’s Kinnevik.
With an aim of cutting healthcare costs and broadening access, Babylon secured deals with Britain’s National Health Service with its apps to replace local doctor visits with video consultations and a chatbot that doled out advice on whether to see a doctor. It released a new artificially intelligent chatbot that promised to give diagnostic advice on common ailments, without human interaction. Its progress, however, was stuttered by doubts about the services’ abilities. Interviews with current and former Babylon staff and outside doctors revealed broad concerns that the company has rushed to deploy software that had not been carefully vetted, then exaggerated its effectiveness, Forbes revealed in December. The company disputed those claims, saying its software goes through many clinical tests. The company also came under fire for failure to follow up with patients receiving mental health treatment. At the time, Babylon blamed problems with the NHS referral system.
Any blunders don’t seem to have slowed the company’s momentum.
Led by CEO and Founder Ali Parsa, an Iranian-born former banker, Babylon has also secured contracts with Prudential and Samsung. It says it now delivers 4,000 clinical consultation a day, and one patient interaction every 10 seconds.
“We have a long way to go and a lot still to deliver,” Parsa said in a statement. “While the burden of healthcare is global, the solutions have to be localized to meet the specific needs and culture of each country.”
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Source: Babylon Health Gets $2 Billion Valuation With New Funding That Will Help It Expand In U.S.
In the fall of 2018, Republican congressman Warren Davidson was meeting with a cryptocurrency entrepreneur in Massachusetts. The CEO was deciding where to locate his startup, and they were discussing the regulatory uncertainties surrounding digital currencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs). The entrepreneur told Davidson, “Look, it’s nothing personal. We just don’t trust that you guys are gonna get this done right.
Source: Crypto Startups Are Fleeing The U.S.—This Bill Is Trying To Stop Them
Startups carry unavoidable risk — small businesses have a 20% chance of failing in their first year, and a 50% chance after five years. The idyllic story of a Silicon Valley startup — beginning with just a few employees in a garage and consistently scaling over time until it’s a major company with hundreds of workers — is the anomaly, not the prototype. Most businesses don’t experience the same trajectory, and a startup with a solid foundation won’t always scale to become a force among its competitors. Some may have ups and downs, while others see slow, steady growth over a longer period of time……..
Read more: https://www.businessinsider.com/reid-hoffman-blitzscaling-how-to-scale-startups-and-get-an-advantage-over-the-competition-2018-10
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Brex, the provider of a credit card for startups, has raised $125 million in venture funding, propelling the company into unicorn status with a $1.1 billion valuation. Earlier Friday the San Francisco-based startup announced it closed a $125 million Series C round of funding with Greenoaks Capital and DST Global leading the investment round. This comes on the heels of $50 million raised in June. Since changing course a little more than a year-and-a-half ago, Brex has been able to amass a valuation of more than $1 billion…….
Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/donnafuscaldo/2018/10/05/brex-has-amassed-a-valuation-of-1-1-billion-in-under-two-years/#47f0025b65a1
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