As a follow-up to our July blog post introducing our Themes 2.0, we want to more formally share our thoughts on our two “newest” themes: Communities, Not Social Networks, and Self-Care Hacking. In many ways, these themes are not new to us but rather are evolutionary in nature given past themes and various investments. But this is the first time we have put pen to paper to explicitly and publicly share our investment theses around them.
So bear with us as they might sound somewhat abstract at first, but we will inject some color into the picture.
Introducing Communities > Social Networks
It's been well documented that due to rising concerns about personal privacy and mental health, coupled with “friend” and “like” fatigue, users are questioning, cutting back, and even deactivating from broad-based social networks. At a high level, they are experiencing diminishing returns both personally and professionally from time spent on the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn.
We are already beginning to see consumers flock to and even pay for access to new digital communities emerging around specific conversations or purposes e.g. Peloton, Patreon, Peanut, (the alliteration is accidental). When it comes to personal and professional passions, consumers want more than a network or a product -- they want to be part of the communities of people that share that common interest or life stage.
We have been investing in startups over the years in which the community plays an underlying role in their solution -- from TrustRadius’ avid community of professionals who review software solutions to Special Project’s community of independent creators and fans who are looking to take back control of their medium and engagement. As users search not only for connection but also a deeper network and belonging, we are looking to meet entrepreneurs who are building both the discrete opportunities for these communities to unite and the infrastructure to power these communities.
How we think about Self-care vs Healthcare
No one needs another blog post on the ever-increasing expenditure on healthcare in the US or on the fact that most of that spending is coming directly from consumers’ pockets. We can all agree that not only are the costs of healthcare going up but also the convenience and speed are decreasing, resulting in lower patient satisfaction and, ultimately, health. Hence we are seeing a new type of patient emerge -- one that wants to be more informed, is more cost-conscious and more open to alternative modes of care than ever.
According to a 2018 report (IE, PRE COVID!!) from IRI on self-care, 47% of millennials and 41% of Gen Xers make every effort to avoid visiting the doctor. Furthermore, digitally native and skeptical of the traditional health system, younger generations are more open to different modes of care delivery. This is a trend that ties into another well-reported theme of the “consumerization” and “Uber-ization” of healthcare. Essentially, patients expect to be able to research, read reviews on, receive, and pay for care digitally just like they can for other large purchases such as cars, insurance, and homes.
And COVID only accelerated consumers’ desires to hack their care. Whether it be at-home diagnostics tests or virtual pharmacy consultations, if it saves consumers time and money, is tailored to them, and informs them, they are open to adopting.
Everlywell, Galileo, and First Dollar are excellent examples of current portfolio companies that fit this investment theme, developing new routes of care delivery and innovative financial solutions that help consumers hack their self-care.
We are interested in innovative solutions that enable consumers to take control of their self-care. Solutions that save patients time and money, deliver personalized insights, and are customer-centric are winners of the ultimate self-care hack.