The inside story at uBiome, disrupting Wall Street from within, and Peloton's prospects

Hollis Johnson / Business InsiderThe microbiome testing company uBiome has come under scrutiny after an FBI raid.


When the three founders of the “microbial-genomics” startup uBiome began collecting human poop, they kept it in an erstwhile storage closet, inside secondhand freezers from a discount-lab-supply website. It was a far cry from a state-of-the-art facility.

So starts Erin Brodwin’s inside story on uBiome, a startup that convinced Silicon Valley it was worth $US600 million before the FBI came knocking. Hers is a great report on how a citizen science project became a clinical-testing company with big-name backers, and the corners some say it cut along the way. You can read the full story here.

Erin’s story is a reminder of the risks when the Silicon Valley tech ethos of “move fast and break things” runs into the healthcare principal of “do no harm.”

She worked on another story, with colleague Shana Lebowitz, on the VC’s ultimate guide to sniffing out risky healthcare startups – and not getting tricked into backing them. Emma Court had a story on the four slides from Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends reports that should be a warning for tech companies that want to disrupt healthcare.

And you can read our recent series on how technology is reshaping healthcare here.

Separately, if you missed our IGNITION: Transforming Finance event on Monday, you can catch up on what you missed here. You can also check out a few clips from the event:

We’ll be hosting more events like it, focused on specific industries, across the US in the coming months. If you have any ideas for live events you’d like to see or feedback from our event on Monday, let me know.

— Matt

Quote of the week

“Unicorns are amazingly deflationary vehicles. They’re deflating rents, they’re deflating driver salaries, they’re deflating all kinds of things.” – Famed short-seller Jim Chanos explains how Silicon Valley unicorns have pushed prices lower.

In conversation

Finance and Investing

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Hedge-fund managers are overwhelmed by data, and they’re turning to an unlikely source: random people on the internet

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Merrill Lynch’s ‘thundering herd’ of advisers are winning over troves of new millionaires, and the growth is coming from a surprising place

The wealth management division at Bank of America Merrill Lynch had an explosive year in 2018, and 2019 is off to a torrid pace as well, adding thousands of new millionaire clients.

Tech, Media, Telecoms

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Salesforce’s$US15.7 billion acquisition of Tableau, announced Monday, started with a text, came together over a meeting in a San Francisco mansion, and very nearly fell apart multiple times.

Peloton, the $US4 billion fitness startup with a cult-like following is about to IPO. Insiders reveal why it’s business is set to explode.

Michael Duda knew from the first time he met John Foley that he wanted to make a bet on Foley’s fitness equipment startup, Peloton.

VaynerMedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk says his bootstrapped digital media company is generating more than $US130 million and is coming for WPP and Omnicom – with no ‘meaningful competitor’ in sight

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Healthcare, Retail, Transportation

The biggest health system in New York used to make 80% of its revenue from hospitals. A decade later, that’s down to half.

Out the window of Northwell Health’s New Hyde Park, New York, offices sits an expansive 1.4-million-square-foot building.

Investors just launched the first VC dedicated exclusively to psychedelics, which they call the ‘next wave’ after the cannabis boom

As the legalization of medical cannabis has swept the globe, it’s also paved the way for another new health frontier: psychedelic medicine.

Here’s the pitch deck Careem used to secure its first round of venture capital, which led its first investors to a 100x return when Uber bought the company this year

Uber has struggled to attain the same dominance in the tricky region of the Middle East that it’s built in places like the United States.

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