Venture Capital: Limited Partners at DCVC Get an Inside Edge on Virus Tests

March 26, 2020 | News, Venture Capital
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Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm DCVC said it could fast-track delivery of scarce test kits.

An email DCVC sent out on March 24 to its investors has landed the VC base in some controversy. It apparently offered to “expedite delivery of a test kit” through a “unique relationship with one of our portfolio companies.” (Fortune)

One recipient of the mail – tech entrepreneur Michael Arrington – vented his outrage at the preferential treatment in a tweet the next day.

“I HATE that certain people can get immediate testing based on who you are or who you know,” he said.

DCVC’s portfolio companies battling coronavirus

In its mail, DCVC did not name the portfolio company supplying the test kits.

However, in a March 20 blog, DCVC had given a roundup of portfolio companies combating the virus. It mentioned Carbon Health, a company using machine learning and advanced software, to deliver healthcare across California. “Its comprehensive COVID-19 response includes online symptom assessment tools and comprehensive telemedicine services – the company has completed more than 2,000 assessments and 300 tests in the clinic to date,” DCVC said in its blog.

After the tweetstorm unleashed by Arrington, DCVC attempted to clarify the issue in another blog post dated March 25. It added fresh information on Carbon Health and its partner Curative (also a DCVC portfolio investment).

“With Carbon moving at the pace they do with their fast, friendly electronic on-boarding, and with Curative’s testing capability likely ramping to 10,000+ tests a day in the next ten days, the combined health care firepower can indeed “expedite” care for everybody,” wrote DCVC.

Unapologetic DCVC

DCVC admitted in its latest blog that it had bragged of its portfolio investments. However, it stuck to the line that nobody had jumped the queue.

But celebs seemingly ARE getting the inside track on testing

Vice.com wrote on March 20 that it asked several celebrities how they seem to have got tested. Cagey answers only, Vice said.

Reuters similarly reported that certain rich and famous people were able to get testing done through their $5,000 membership of a medical concierge service in New York City called Sollis Health.

“The access it provided its members is the latest example of how well-to-do people got coronavirus tests at a time of scarcity,” Reuters said of Sollis.

DCVC was not the only one.

Related Story: Venture Capital: (Coronavirus) New Service Matches Cash-Hungry Startups With Still-in-the-Game Investors                                            

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