March 7, 2024: Trending 📈

This recent deal shows us the benefits and disadvantages of being on trend


The benefits and disadvantages of being “on trend”

What is the news?

Toronto-based Figure 1 was acquired by Physician's Weekly for an undisclosed amount.

Who is Figure 1 and why should I be aware of them?

Figure 1 is a Toronto-based startup founded in 2012 that enables healthcare professionals to share medical cases. The idea was to share information on specific patients while protecting patient identities with the hopes that other healthcare professionals can help them provide better care.

The company raised $20m over three rounds shortly after launch from high provide venture capitalists including Union Square Ventures and Venture One.

While the company had traction with 100,000+ cases and drove results by helping clinicians resolve 40% of the cases they put on the platform it never reached the venture scale.

Who is Physician's Weekly?

Physician’s Weekly is a 40-year-old medical information provider that delivers expert content at the Point of Care via wallboards and digital products. It has a presence in over 40,000 top medical institutions across the U.S., covering more than 20 specialties. The company offers reliable insights and practical applications for medical professionals, as well as easy-to-understand, actionable content for patients and caregivers.

Additionally, it provides free, accredited continuing medical education activities for healthcare professionals, doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.

Why make the acquisition?

Figure 1 seems like the perfect tuck-in acquisition for Physician's weekly. It adds a social feature that produces user-generated content that they can distribute via their platforms.

Is there any other upside?

We’re not sure what the privacy policy is but potentially combining the two entities provides the company with interesting content that they can license to LLM models.

Was this a win for Figure 1 and investors?

Any time you build a product that helps solve 40,000 medical cases and has an exit, it is a win.

Did it provide a great return for investors? Our guess is it did not. The hope was this could be a very valuable nice social network but it never seemed to reach its full potential and was most likely solved for a nice amount but not a venture return.

Takeaways for the community

Some ideas can be executed incredibly well but the market does not prove to be there. In that case the company will become sustainable (which appears to be the case with Figure 1) and an eventual exit may provide returns but not be celebrated as a huge win. We should still celebrate Figure 1 as they built something that was valued.

Figure 1 also shows the benefits and disadvantages of being on-trend.

It was most likely relatively easy for them to raise in 2012 as social networks were the rage. As the market consolidated and investors were less eager to invest in social networks it must have made it harder and harder to raise.


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