Press "Enter" to skip to content

Dispensed: A digital health IPO bust, Walmart's push into healthcare, and an MIT project that didn't live up to the hype

This post was originally published on this site

Lydia here, back from my wedding and honeymoon and ready to dive into this week’s deluge of healthcare news. As my colleagues likely filled you in, I got married in August over in Evanston, Illinois then popped over to Spain for a few weeks of sun, water, and so many tapas. I hope everyone’s final weeks of summer were as full as fun and cake as mine was!

I made it home just in time to start training for the New York Marathon — which I’ll be writing more about for Business Insider, so please send your best marathon training tips/questions/story ideas to me at

That meant I also made it home in time to see SmileDirectClub go up for its initial public offering on Thursday. It was a roller coaster of a day: First, the stock priced above its range at $23 a share, but then it began trading below that. By the close Thursday, the stock was down 28% from where it priced.

Elsewhere, Zach Tracer and I caught up with Sean Slovenski, Walmart’s president of health and wellness, about the retail behemoth’s new health clinics and how they fit into Walmart’s overall health strategy.

Seems like these first few locations are just the beginning.

Walmart is opening health clinics, but that’s just the start. We got the full story from the exec leading its push into the $3.5 trillion US healthcare industry.

  • Walmart is wading deeper into the massive $3.5 trillion US healthcare system.
  • The retailer is opening a health clinic in Dallas, Georgia, on Friday that has primary care, dentistry, and counseling services. It plans to open another in Calhoun, Georgia, as well.
  • If the tests are successful, Walmart could expand into more locations in northern Georgia, quickly making the retail giant the largest provider of basic healthcare in the region.
  • The centers are just the beginning of Walmart’s larger healthcare ambitions, which include more home services, as well as mobile units offering specialty services, according to Sean Slovenski, Walmart’s president of health and wellness.
  • Walmart has tried different versions of health clinics in the past. The most recent iteration comes as Amazon, CVS Health, and Walgreens are all bulking up their focus on healthcare.

Over the weekend, Erin Brodwin had the scoop on an MIT Media Lab project about a “personal food computer” that… didn’t live up to the hype.

Among the wildest tidbits: Ahead of demonstrations, staff were told to place food that was grown elsewhere into the device.

The Epstein-funded MIT lab has an ambitious project that purports to revolutionize agriculture. Insiders say it’s mostly smoke and mirrors.

  • An ambitious MIT project that purported to turn anyone into a farmer with a single tool is scraping by with smoke-and-mirror tactics, employees told Business Insider.
  • Ahead of big demonstrations with MIT Media Lab funders, staff were told to place plants grown elsewhere into the devices, the insiders said.
  • In other instances, devices delivered to local schools simply didn’t work.
  • “It’s fair to say that of the 30-ish food computers we sent out, at most two grew a plant,” one person said.

Erin’s also been covering all of the latest between e-cigarette-makers like Juul and regulators. You can read her latest on the issue here.

Emma Court is having a fine time over in Italy right now, but that didn’t keep her from turning in a few stories before she left.

VCs just bet $3.5 billion that tech will transform the future of healthcare. These are the top 9 firms making the most digital health investments.

  • The field of digital health, where companies take a tech-based approach to healthcare, has been exploding.
  • Venture capital firms First Round and Jumpstart Foundry are the most active VCs in the space, according to a recent report from CB Insights.
  • It’s a crowded field: seven other VCs are tied for the number two slot, the report found.
  • These firms are investing in companies like Alma Health, which makes coworking spaces for therapists, and the digital therapeutics startup Omada.

She also spoke to three VCs — from F-Prime Capital, Echo Health Ventures, and Jumpstart Foundry — about where they’re placing their next bets. Read where they think the industry is headed here.

Clarrie Feinstein tuned into the Apple event on Tuesday, bringing you all the details of the three new health studies Apple has underway. (What I got out of it was how much I wish I could’ve waited a year to pick up the new purple iPhone. Alas.)

Hollis Johnson

Apple is set to launch 3 new health studies using data from the iPhone and Apple Watch. Here’s what they plan to investigate.

Clarrie also teamed up with cannabis reporter Jeremy Berke to bring you a post full of tips from a top investor on a cannabis-focused fund on how to successfully pitch your company. Certainly useful for those in the cannabis space or elsewhere.

Among the team, we had some little features on companies that have caught our eye.

That’s all from us this week. Like I said, I’m jumping back into training for the New York Marathon and plan to write a lot about it for BI. Would love to hear what burning questions you have about the race, events like marathons, or especially tips from veterans of what I (a newbie to this course) should look out for.

You can find me at, or reach the whole team at

– Lydia

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

California Daily Press © 2019