Startups

8 healthcare companies make U.S. unicorn list. Theranos is not one of them

Zenefits survived as a unicorn despite a major devaluation in 2016. Theranos did not. Human Longevity and Flatiron Health joined the exclusive club.

Research firm CB Insights has published a map of U.S. based unicorns — technology startups worth at least $1 billion. Of the 98 companies listed, eight are in healthcare or life sciences, while four more have significant healthcare divisions. Theranos is not among them.

Recall that back in June, Forbes said Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes had a net worth of zero. Just a year earlier, the same publication said Holmes was worth $4.5 billion, making her the world’s richest self-made woman.

At the same time, Forbes also revised the valuation of Theranos to $800 million, down from a high of $9 billion. And that was before Walgreens terminated its contract with Theranos, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officially sanctioned the company and customers, partners and investors all filed suit. (For our complete Theranos timeline, click here.)

So who are the unicorns in healthcare?

Human Longevity, founded by J. Craig Venter, closed on a $220 million Series B venture round in April. Venter himself has said his company is worth around $1.2 billion.

Anne Wojcicki’s 23andMe, which Bloomberg valued at $1.1 billion in October 2015. That was a month before the Food and Drug Administration finally cleared 23andMe’s Personal Genome Service, two years after halting direct-to-consumer sales.

Proteus Digital Health, maker of ingestible “smart pills,” is worth $1.1 billion, according to Fortune.

Although health benefits management company Zenefits cut its valuation by more than half in the wake of several state investigations, that Silicon Valley startup is still worth $2 billion.

Life sciences startup Intarcia Therapeutics had a valuation of $1.75 billion in 2014, according to the Wall Street Journal, and the company has raised more money since then. A 2015 “synthetic royalty financing” round of $225 million was based on a $5.5 billion valuation, though the Boston Globe said in September that a new $215 million raise put the value at more like $4 billion.

Zocdoc, a physician finding service and employer wellness company, claimed a valuation of $1.8 billion after closing a $130 million venture round in August 2015. That happened just days after management was slammed for running Zocdoc — then written as ZocDoc — like a “frat house” by tolerating drug use and a sexist atmosphere.

Flatiron Health joined the unicorns after a $175 million raise in January. The New York City-based health IT startup is worth about $1.2 billion, Business Insider reported in October.

Insurance startup Oscar, formerly Oscar Health, hit a valuation of $2.7 billion in February following a $400 million infusion from a group led by Fidelity.

Another four on the CB Insights list of unicorns are not healthcare-specific companies, but have somewhat large presences in the industry: data center management firm Simplivity, enterprise software developer Infor, analytics provider Cloudera and systems integrator Mulesoft.

Photo: Flickr user Yosuke Muroya

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