GM. This is the What’s meant for you, a newsletter that curates ideas across health, investing, startups, and nature.
Each week I will document something I’ve learned about venture investing 🏙️
Before Unicorns 🦄 it was Whales 🐳
Venture capital (VC) is subset of private equity, that is high-risk, high-reward. Which according to Investopedia only developed into an industry after the Second World War.
However some, including Grace Sydney Smith believe we can trace its origins even earlier to whales.
Starting in the 16th century, blubber and oil were increasing in consumer demand. These materials were used in cosmetics, candles, machine lubricant, and more, allowing whaling to become a lucrative commercial business. Of course, this meant more and more ships were venturing out, sailing the seas in hot pursuit of the ultimate high-risk, high-reward: sperm whales.
New Bedford → Silicon Valley
Of all the countries involved in whaling (Spain, Iceland, Denmark, Britain, The United States) there was one unassuming town that was raking in the most profit – New Bedford, Massachusetts. Not because of its affluence of sperm whales, but because of the funding behind the voyages.“Agents would encourage these whaling expeditions by raising capital from corporations and wealthy individuals to fund the ship captains.”
Origins of carried interest.
Not to mention, the 20% of profits VC and private equity firms normally keep (called “carried interest)” originated not from whaling ships, but from cargo ships. The captain and crew (or, entrepreneurs) got to keep a certain amount of money they made from the cargo they successfully carried – and the investors of the ships got their fair share as well.
Each week I will highlight an exciting company or trend I’ve been thinking about 👩💻
The Blood Glucose Gold Rush 🩸
Since the intervention of Continuous Blood Glucose Monitors (CGMs) and it’s cousin Flash CGMs, particularly the release of the FreeStyle Libre by Abbott in 2015 a blood glucose monitoring gold rush has brewed.
There are many different startups leveraging this technology to revolutionise metabolic health (Levels Health + Nutrisense + Veri + Zoe), weight loss (Limbo + January.ai), and sports performance (Supersapien + Ultrahuman).
Despite their positioning, there is very little difference between these competitors. For example all of the above use Abbott’s Freestyle Libre device, meaning their hardware is identical, their software, coaching, and other value adds are what sets them apart.
Another hurdle to scale for these companies is the legal status of CGMs, many countries including the US classify these are medical devices, meaning a prescription is necessary. Adding huge costs in retainers and wages to prescribers.
Despite heavy competition and potentially low margins I’m bullish on this sector.
We are in a metabolic health epidemic. 2018 research from the University of North Carolina published a research paper that said that only 12.2% of adults in the United States are metabolically healthy.
Anyone that is worked in healthcare won’t be at all surprised by this figures. From my own experiences in community healthcare I’ve seen the shelf space dedicate to type 2 diabetic treatment double every year, becoming the fastest moving stock in the pharmacy.
Startups like those mentioned above give people the tools needed to take control of their metabolic health and avoid the downstream problems that we dispense treatments for in the pharmacy.
🕵️♀️ Operator of the week
Each week I will highlight someone who I think is killing it. 👩🚀
David Perrel is a writer and teacher. He is known for his belief that writing online is one of the biggest opportunities in the world today. His course ‘Write of Passage’ has helped 1000s of people start publishing their writing online (including me). Writers like Packy McCormick and Ana Lorena Fabrega used his course to accelerate their careers. Above all David’s thoughtful and insightful style inspire others to start sharing their words with the world.
As a pharmacist our health as individuals and collectively in never from my mind. 🩺
Teenage Dreams in world of Instagram and TikTok 📱
When I worked as a community pharmacist I regularly worked with the moms of teenagers. As we worked and talked, the conversation would often steer to stories about their children, and the challenges they face.
I would always think to myself, about how hard I found those formative teenage years. Pondering on this, I couldn’t famton how much more difficult it would be to go through my teens now with social media ingrained in our lives.
Of course it was no surprise when I read this analysis of the CDC’s “Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data Summary & Trends Report: 2011–2021” by author and NYU professor Jon Haidt.
CDC’s bi-annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which showed that most teen girls (57%) now say that they experience persistent sadness or hopelessness (up from 36% in 2011), and 30% of teen girls now say that they have seriously considered suicide (up from 19% in 2011).
Is social media a major cause?
Instagram was founded in 2010. The iPhone 4 was released then too—the first smartphone with a front-facing camera. In 2012 Facebook bought Instagram, and that’s the year that its user base exploded. By 2015, it was becoming normal for 12-year-old girls to spend hours each day taking selfies, editing selfies, and posting them for friends, enemies, and strangers to comment on, while also spending hours each day scrolling through photos of other girls and fabulously wealthy female celebrities with (seemingly) vastly superior bodies and lives. The hours girls spent each day on Instagram were taken from sleep, exercise, and time with friends and family. What did we think would happen to them?
Read the full thing below:
Scratching an itch exploring rewilding 🏕️
Welcome to Plyoscine park 🖼️
Pleistocene Park is something out of science-fiction.
It is an organisation with a plot of land in north east Siberia with plans to bring back the wooly mammoth. Yep, you read that right.
From their website:
Pleistocene Park is a major initiative that includes an attempt to restore the mammoth steppe ecosystem, which was dominant in the Arctic in the late Pleistocene. The initiative requires replacement of the current unproductive northern ecosystems by highly productive pastures which have both a high animal density and a high rate of biocycling. Moreover grazing ecosystems in the Arctic promote climate cooling through series of ecological effects. Experiments with animal reintroductions were begun in 1988. Currently, Pleistocene Park consists of an enclosed area of 20 square kilometers that is home to 10 major herbivore species: reindeer, yakutian horse, moose, bison, musk ox, yak, kalmykian cow, sheep, camels and goats.
📸 Rewilding photo of the week
While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed collating and sharing this newsletter in its current form, I’m going to start experimenting with alternative formats. Some ideas including splitting it out into a biweekly model.
But most importantly thank you for reading.
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