From Fast Company, a story about how Instacart CEO Fidji Simo is spending some of her spare time and money. An excerpt:
"On the eighth and ninth floors of a pristine building in a research park in Salt Lake City, employees in gray uniforms tread under gold light fixtures, past abstract artwork, and around plush couches in the waiting area where they check patients in. This isn’t a high-end spa, though the gentle intake process was designed to mimic exactly that kind of environment. It’s the Metrodora Institute, a $35 million clinic and research facility cofounded last year by Instacart CEO Fidji Simo.
"Metrodora is dedicated to treating women with neuro-immune axis disorders: diseases including endometriosis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, long COVID, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and more, in which the immune system appears to attack the nervous system. It opened to the public in March, and by the end of the year it expects to be treating 15,000 women, both at this outpatient facility, where there are currently thousands of people on the waitlist, and remotely, via telehealth consultations."
Simo, the story says, "was inspired to start Metrodora after dealing with endometriosis during pregnancy and then falling sick again with another chronic illness, postural tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, which is triggered when a patient’s heart rate increases rapidly upon standing, causing light-headedness. It would take a couple of years for her to learn that though the symptoms for both illnesses are different, they can be related, and having one makes you at higher risk for having the other.
"'I found that the level of care and the ability to find cures was, honestly, so poor,' Simo says. She wanted to create a clinic that would emulate cancer treatment centers like Houston’s MD Anderson, where silos between fields are removed, and treating a patient can involve many different specialists working together. When dealing with issues of the nervous system, she says, 'we need to understand the pathophysiology of the disease. We believe that every human is unique. Personalized medicine should be a thing.'
"Personalization is central to her primary job, too. As CEO of Instacart, she works constantly to better tailor grocery delivery to individual customers. They are vastly different businesses, of course, but there is overlap: Both involve copious amounts of data, and both are complex marketplaces, with multiple stakeholders. At Instacart, Simo says that means keeping stores, brands, customers, and delivery people happy, while at Metrodora, where she is president - cofounder and neurogastroenterologist Laura Pace is CEO - it’s about caring for patients, staff, investors, and data partners. Combined, that’s a whole lot of interests for one person to manage, no matter how much yoga and soft lighting is involved."
There's also a great passage about how the two businesses are seeing some overlap:
"Recently, Simo has been applying her knowledge of healthcare to her work at Instacart. The newly launched Instacart Health lets customers’ own doctors suggest items they should buy, with part of the healthy haul covered by medical insurance. The platform 'uses technology to solve the problem of nutrition,' Simo explains, adding that 'a lot of insurance companies would benefit from reimbursing the cost of fresh food, but they haven’t had a technology partner that can scale to the entire country.'
"Meanwhile, she’s also applying her knowledge of grocery delivery to her work at Metrodora: Content filmed in Metrodora’s test kitchen features chefs walking viewers through recipes that adhere to whichever diet their doctor may say will alleviate their symptoms, whether it’s gluten-free, sugar-free, or carb-free. Ultimately, if they can’t make it to Metrodora, they can order through Instacart: Shopping lists are included with Metrodora’s videos so that all the groceries can be ordered with one click. As Simo might say, everyone wins."
You can read the entire story here.
- KC's View:
I've not met Simo, but she seems impressive - I particularly like the idea that she sees the commonality between the food business and healthcare - it is all about using data to achieve personalization. The more you can do that in both spaces, the better.
It also is nice to see this approach to women's healthcare, especially at a time when it certain parts of the country it is closer to "The Handmaid's Tale."