6/17: My DNA Surprise: Is Healthtech the Next Big Thing?

The most important thing in tech today is …

healthtech might be breaking out as a category, with 23andMe joining the public markets this week through a SPAC deal, worth about $3.5 billion.

I remember signing up for 23andMe about a decade ago, spitting into a tube and sending it off by mail to get analyzed. That adventure has yielded a couple of surprises: one, that my genetic background is roughly 80% Sub-Saharan African, 20% Northern European, and only 0% Indigenous American, despite my parents’ apocryphal claims to certain Native American ancestors (which my dad still insists on, despite the DNA evidence). Two, I found a distant cousin from the Philippines; a great-great uncle on my mother’s side went over there in the late 1800s to fight in the Spanish-American War, married a Filipina and never came back; now our shared genes chart his path.

By themselves, these two bits of information are little more than entertainment. But 23andMe also turned up health yellow flag: a gene associated with harmful blood clots. That doesn’t mean I’m definitely predisposed to getting them; but now I’m careful to get up and stretch multiple times on long flights as a precaution, and I might even take an aspirin a day ahead. That could be a life saver.

It’s not just 23andMe. Widen the aperture and Peloton is a public healthtech company in the fitness category, OneMedical in the in-office care category, and there are many others. Apple’s Health app and Apple Watch are emerging as a dashboard and sync point for health data; while you’re riding on a Peloton, your heart rate data can sync from the watch to the bike, and then the exercise data from the bike syncs back to the Health app and the Watch. At your next checkup, you can share the data with your doctor.

These connected data platforms potentially make healthtech companies more powerful. When there’s more value you can get out of health data, the devices and platforms that hold it become more attractive. Google and Samsung are teaming up on connected watch software to catch up to Apple. Amazon’s Halo band has its own approach. Along with 23andMe, all of these amount to collection points for health data that might shift the healthcare market the way the iPod and iPhone shifted the music and telecom markets, putting more power in the hands of consumers and making new multi-billion-dollar giants in the process.

Coming up today on CNBC’s TechCheck, 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT …

23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki, Cowen CEO Jeff Solomon

While you were sleeping …

Microsoft said Wednesday that CEO Satya Nadella is becoming the chair of the company’s board, replacing independent director John Thompson, following a unanimous vote of the software company’s board. CNBC

ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, saw its revenue for 2020 more than double, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC. CNBC

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said that he expects 10 “good years” of growth in the semiconductor industry during a panel at CNBC’s Evolve conference on Wednesday. CNBC

Amazon Appstore will reduce its developer revenue cut from 30% to 20% and give 10% in Free AWS Credit. AFTVnews

Facebook is planning to start rolling out its podcast product next week, on June 22nd, and, eventually, add a feature that’ll allow listeners to create clips from their favorite shows. The Verge

In the broader world …

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday considerably raised its expectations for inflation this year and brought forward the time frame on when it will next raise interest rates. CNBC

Leaked audio of Sen. Joe Manchin’s call with billionaire donors provides a rare glimpse of dealmaking on filibuster and the January 6 commission: The Intercept

On the horizon …

6/18: 8:30 a.m. ET Fortt Knox interview with MassMutual CEO Roger Crandall

I’m listening to …