“Currently our Healthcare system is designed to treat and cope with disease once we start seeing symptoms. How would you like to eliminate the problem before before you even get sick? The newly launched Scientific Wellness accomplishes just that and is set to disrupt healthcare’s priority in our lives."
Clayton: Our society today is turned upside-down because we're spending 18% of our GDP on treating symptoms. The current healthcare industry is laser focused and we're incredibly fortunate to have them help us treat symptoms, treat illnesses, treat disease. The reason we're launching a new industry- a new industry, scientific wellness, is because we believe with science now, we have the opportunity to democratize healthcare. and what that means is actually help people understand, what's their genetic predisposition, and decisions can they make in their life to optimize wellness today and for decades to come.
Alan: welcome back, I'm here today with Clayton Lewis. He's the CEO and Cofounder of Arivale. Welcome to today's show.
Clayton: Thank you
Alan: So Clayton, for the listeners here, can you gives your pathway and what took you to this point in your life starting from your schooling days?
Clayton: What I love about this point in my life is that there's a theme of a passion that's been completely focused on wellness. I was raised in Idaho, and when I moved to the state of Washington to go to college, my very first business was a health business. Back in 1977, long before people thought about vitamins and supplements, I was making protein shakes, making juice smoothies, helping people think about nutrition, and that literally was my first entrepreneurial business in college. I went on to become student body president of the University of Washington- it has 36,000 students and that was my second entrepreneurial adventure because we ran a small business. We had 400-part time employees, a number of businesses and it launched me into understanding both politics and public policy. For ten years I worked in politics. I ran campaigns and was the youngest chief of staff on Capitol Hill. I was chief of staff for congresswoman Louise Slaughter. Another theme that was there was that she was the only Microbiologist in Congress- and she actually sponsored the genome legislation, dealing with genomic privacy. What I loved in politics is that you had to launch campaigns very quickly, hire brilliant staff and you had a product launch date. What I also learned is that I didn't enjoy the dance of legislation. When I was thirty, I decided to go into the private sector. I've been fortunate that during my thirties and forties, that I was involved in five startups, took three of them from the point where they were non existing up to $100 million in revenue relatively quickly, and took two of them public. As an entrepreneur, I always had venture capitalists on my board and always used venture capitalists to help build business. In my private life, I'm an Ironman triathlete. I've always focused on optimizing my wellness. I'm also the President of the Board of Harbourview Medical Center. We're a trauma one hospital for a 5 state region. For 27% of the landmass of the United States, we're the trauma hospital. So once again I was always being pulled towards my passion of wellness and health. I was invited by Maveron, a consumer only venture capitol firm founded Howard Schultz and Dan Levitan, to help them with a health startup that they had. I jumped in, worked on that company for about a year, hired my replacement, we sold the company and then Dan and Howard invited me to become a partner at Maveron. For the next seven years I focused on looking at businesses in the wellness sector.
Alan: So Arivale has a very interesting name. Can you tell us how you hooked up with the other cofounder, Lee Hood?
Clayton: At Maveron, we focus in on who are the entrepreneurs that we want to back. Something that's interesting that young entrepreneurs think about is, 'how do I go out and raise venture money?' Life is about relationships and life is about building those relationships over time. That's especially true for venture capitalists. I can tell you, as someone who was a general partner for seven years at a venture firm, that if I got to know someone overtime, I'm much more likely to want to back that individual. Lee Hood had been at the top of my list of individuals that I wanted to back- for a long time. I'll share a couple of reasons why, Lee was one of the first scientists to map the human genome. His work has literally been recognized across the globe. President Obama gave him the Presidential Medal of Science. There are three national academies of science. If you're a scientist, it's an incredible honor to join one of the national academies. Lee is one of fifteen individuals ever invited to join all three. Literally the awards and accolades and recognition go on and on. Wearing my venture capital hat, Lee has founded or cofounded fifteen companies, that are today valued at over $150 billion dollars. So what this scientist, this entrepreneur has successfully done his whole career, is understand trends in the future and understand them at a very early stage, and often be the individual, the scientist to launch these trends and then launch companies into them. Lee said Arivale is going to be the largest company of his career.
Alan: I think your timing is really good on the cusp of all the baby boomers aging here. I'm visiting with Clayton Lewis, he's the cofounder of Arivale. Clayton I need to take a quick break, and we'll be back after these messages.
Alan: Welcome back, I'm here today with Clayton Lewis, and he is the CEO and cofounder or Arivale. In the first segment, we're talking about what brought him up to this point. Can you spend some time on Arivale, what it does and how it differentiates itself from the rest of the companies in the healthcare system?
Clayton: So what we say is that we're actually launching a new industry: Scientific Wellness. As a venture capitalist, I looked at the wellness industry. As the President of the Board of Harbourview, I spend a lot of time thinking about healthcare. When I look at the wellness industry, I see three areas where it's failed consumers. First, most American don't wakeup and think, 'today I want to be well.' We aspire to have life experiences, and one of the most important things that Arivale does is, what are those experiences that you want to have because that's what motivates you. The second challenge for the wellness industry is that data paralyzes people. How many people do you know that wore a FitBit for a few weeks and said, 'heck, 10,000 steps, where am I going?' what we need to do is bring that data to life. Finally, so much of our society today is about zero human interaction. We've got an app, we've got a computer screen, we believe passionately that you need an individual, you need a license coach, you need an expert to guide you on this journey. At Arivale, we exist to help help our clients optimize their wellness. It's not just optimize your wellness for today, it's optimize your wellness for decades to come. How do we do that? First we create a dense, dynamic data cloud for every individual and second, we assign you a coach backed up by a physician and backed up by a team, to transmit that data into 2-3 actionable recommendations each month, that are laser focused and specific to you. Let's look at Lee's original vision. Lee helped us understand is that we need to look at four quadrants of data for humans. We're a system- it's not isolated into one data set, we're actually a complex organism. First we do whole genome sequencing, so we understand, what your genetic predisposition is, but keep in mind, genes are not your destiny. So the next thing we do is a very comprehensive set of clinical labs- quadrant two. We take twice as many measurements, twice as often as your annual physical. The third quadrant is the gut- gut microbiome. Its a discovery quadrant that we think some really important learnings are going to come from this. Finally, the quadrant of quantified self. So once we have your data cloud, we'll assign you a coach backup by an independent physician. Your coach will get to know you and what you care about. In looking at this complex data cloud, what we found for our clients is that different people have different hot spots and different opportunities to optimize their wellness. To get it organized, we put it into six health dimensions: heart health, healthy aging, inflammation, diabetes risk and optimal nutrition. For you, we might stack rank saying that your most important opportunity is heart health. When I entered the program, I was in the middle of training for an ironman. So I thought, 'okay, I've got to be the healthiest person in the program'. I had also gone on a paleo diet, thinking that could make me faster. when I got my data back and opened up my dashboard and saw that I was actually pre-diabetic, I thought, 'this has got to be a mistake. How could this be?' My coach helped me understand that I had a genetic variant, that impacts my body's ability to process a lot of protein and actually optimizes my ability to process carbohydrates. So by leading this paleo diet, I was elevating my inflammation markers, and much to my surprise, was pre-diabetic. My coach helped me understand that I needed to put dense, complex rich carbohydrates in every single meal, I made a number of other choices and I completely normalized my blood sugar and was no longer pre-diabetic seven months later. For our clients, each one of them has their own individual story about how their genes, combined with their clinical data and their gut microbiome, presented them really clear opportunities to optimize their health. I have hundreds of stories I could share.
Alan: When you're optimizing health and looking at the genome, is it basically by focusing on the nutrition then, or is there any drug involved?
Clayton: We are laser focus in the fact that we're a wellness company. We don't practice healthcare- that's the first thing. The reason that we have an independent physician order all of the clinical labs, (all of the labs are standard CLIA approved laboratories), The physician orders that labs, the independent labs then send the data initially to the physician so that she and her colleagues can then review all of the data and determine if someone actually needs healthcare. We find that sometimes people do so we refer them back into the system. The second part of the question is, 'what do we coach to?' It's interesting, if you look at humans, there's three determinates of our health. Thirty percent is weighted on genetics, sixty percent is behavior, lifestyle, environment, diet, nutrition, and ten percent is to the healthcare system. So what we coach to is diet, supplements, we coach to stress, we coach to sleep, we coach to exercise- all the elements that are the largest determinate to our health over time.
Alan: I'm visiting here today with Clayton Lewis, he is the cofounder of Arivale. I need to take a quick break, and we'll be right back after these messages.
Alan: Welcome back, I've been visiting with Clayton Lewis, he's the cofounder of Arivale. In the prior segments we were talking about how Arivale came to being and the four quadrants and how you're focused on helping through a coach achieve wellness. I'm going to back up a little but on this, how do you define health and wellness?
Clayton: That's a really critical question. The first thing that the coach would do if you were going to sign up, is she's going to dive in and say, 'tell me why you're here?' Now what's interesting is that, often most people don't think about, 'what does it mean to be well?' and most importantly, 'why do they aspire to be well?' so the way that the conversations often go, especially when I talk to our participants they say, 'I'd like to lose a few pounds.' 'Ok, we can help you with that, tell me more.' As we start to do discovery, we hear things like, 'I want to be a better mom, my daughter is four, I'm stressed out all the time, this aging thing is real and I'm always fatigued.' That becomes the basis of the relationship. Or we'll hear, (using me for an example), what does being well mean to Clayton Lewis? 'I aspire to be fifth in my age group in Ironman Canada next year.' So that's my definition of wellness. Last time I did Ironman Canada I came in 10th in my age group. I want to move up five notches. My husband and I are retiring in ten years, and we want to go around the world on a bike. That is what learned. And I feel like the wellness industry fails and sometimes the healthcare industry fails when people hear things that clinical trials indicate... or the data suggests... or a study would mean "x". When our participants say to us is; one, 'wow, this data is all about me.' Two, 'you've actually looked at me as a system, you looked at my genes, my lab, my gut and my activity.' Three, 'I've got this coach that's actually translating it into actual recommendations.' Each of us have a different definition of what it means to be well, and we're passionate that the big part of working with a coach is defining it for yourself.
Alan: So on the mindset, there are some individuals that are really good at following processes, where there's other individuals that say say, 'I get your process but I want to do it myself.' How do you bring a person around? A person is at their stage of health because of the way that they think and they act and they interpret data, but how do you help them through that?
Clayton: That's really important, and its another reason that we believe that it's not about an app, it's not about a computer screen, it's about the individual. When you onboard at Arivale, you do about forty minutes of assessment. we learn about your health history, your current activity level, your goals, mental health and stress. All of those items so that your coach starts to understand, where are you. The next thing is going to be, what are you going to do? I'll tell you another story, we had participant that come in and said, 'I'm here for the data.' We told them, 'we're a program, we're not a data company, we're actually a program with an independent physician and a coach. So you have to participate in coaching or we can't have you in the program.' So the individual said, 'I'm really busy, I'm an important executive, and when I get home, the first thing I do is, take off my shoes and head to the coach.' The coach then did some discovery and learned, what was important to him. He said, 'I'm an amazing photographer, but my BMI is actually to a point where go out and take the photos I want.' So the journey that the coach and this participant when on is, as follows: The coach asked him, 'for a month, would you be willing to put your tennis shoes on as you head to the couch?' Grumbling he replied, 'whatever.' A month later the coach asked him, 'would you be willing to take a couple walks around the block?' This gentleman is now walking forty-five minutes, five days a week. He's leaned up and is now out taking the photographs he wants. So often, health and wellness programs set people up to fail, because they're given a recommendation that doesn't at all map where you are at this moment in your life and a reflection of that. What are you goals what are you willing to do, and how do we set you up for success? Another quick story, in Seattle, I know a gentleman that's in our program and he's kind of has an 'Eeyore' type personality. Six months after being in our program, he says to me, 'Clayton, this has recalibrate how I think about life.' Yeah you have setbacks, you don’t always achieve what you want to achieve, but that's the power of coaches that really understand both the art and the science of behavior change. One more quick thing, are you familiar with the concept of neuroplasticity? We lay down these paths in our brain, and they're like freeways. You can't erase these freeways, you have to start laying down new roads on top of them, and over time by laying down these new roads with your coach, they become the freeways and become the most important in terms of neuroplasticity in terms of the activities that you're going to want to take.
Alan: So it's like defining a new road or freeway to take for you to go down. Now as you're looking at coaches and doctors and physicians, can a person say, I want to use this physician or do you have people within your network that are trained to help you through this?
Clayton: Because the physicians are independent and third party, we have contracted with a practice to order the labs and review the data, and we contract with practices within the states in which we operate. When we're assigning you a coach, we're going to ask you three to four questions to understand, what is the type of coach that you're interested in? because some of our participants will say, 'I want someone that gives it to me straight, holds me accountable is incredible direct and I do not need any encouragement. I just want the facts and I want recommendations'. where we will have other people that say to us, 'I really want someone that's going to embrace where I am, is going to be supportive, and is going to give me words of encouragement.' so we have profiles to map the profiles of our participants so we make sure that there's a fit. Sometimes we learn that a coach isn't gaining traction with an individual, (because we check in after each interaction), and we'll recommend, 'let's transfer you to a different coach profile.'
Alan: Now how many states are you currently in?
So yesterday, we launched in the state of California. We are a startup. Clayton: So last year in July we launched in the state of Washington.
Alan: Excellent and you have a vision to expand across all 50 states?
Clayton: We definitely do. the reasons we selected California is that we had a number of press stories. There were a lot of individuals in California reaching out and say, that they'd like to be in this program. Also California is predisposed .... it's very large market, but also California has a culture of, one, people being at the forward edge and two, there's a lot of folks interested in learning and actually bringing this data to life. Consumes are literally spending billions of dollars on what we call the wellness category, but what's interesting is if you look at a lot of these companies, they might have their customers for weeks, some for a few months, none for years on the whole. we're now entering months twelve of our program and we've got 95% engagement and retention-In months eleven and twelve. and our program takes very heavy lifting, you have to see a phlebotomist twice a year. So we're getting this blood data, so we're actually giving you a snapshot of what is the clinical data about your participation in the program and the progress you're making or not.
Alan: Does a health insurance company help cover some of the cost?
Clayton: Not at this time. Since our whole healthcare system is focused on treating symptoms, and we are focused on optimizing wellness. So right now it's not covered by insurance or HSA plans.
Alan: Let's say that I've looked at Arivale and am sold, what do I need to do next to become a patient through the program?
Clayton: First I want to be very clear- you're going to be a participant, because we're wellness and not a healthcare system. So what you do is go to our website and signup. The next thing that would happen is that you're going to get a call from a concierge. The concierge is going to ask you what type of coaching profile you want to work with. Then literally, the next day of the day after you're going to receive a welcome box. Now that welcome box is going to have a FitBit, because we want to get immediate access to the quantity and quality of your sleep and exercise. We use two independent CLIA labs to do a saliva measurement and also a stool sample to get the micro biome, independent third party CLIA certified labs. the next thing that is going to happen is that we'll set you up on your dash board. You'll do about 40 min of assessments so that the coach gets access to all of the information, and finally you'll schedule an appointment at your neighborhood Lab-core, so that we can get the blood work. and then all of those samples are going to be coming into your dashboard. and you're going to get setup to have a coaching call, where as I shared, the coach is going to spend a lot of time understanding, what's motivating to you, what's important to you? Where are you at this moment in time? So then in partnership, you and your coach are going to design your action plan for the next year.
Alan: When you're assigning coaches, is it by telephone, or is it in person meetings?
Clayton: What we found to be most effective is that the coaching calls be over the phone. I've spent a lot of time in my career looking at coaching programs and there's a lot of reasons that we decided to move to this model. What's interesting is that our clients have said, that they'd like to have more interaction with their coach. So two months ago we launched a native Arivale app. What I love about this app is that every morning- right now I'm working on sleep- what I saw is that my cortisol levels had elevated. So three years into the program I have new opportunities to optimize my wellness. So every morning I'm working with her on this app, and I've set a goal to stop working by 10:00 and be in bed by 11:00. What I love is- this isn't nagging, I simply swipe left if I've actually accomplished that goal, and she's looking at my other biome markers such as my FitBit activity and my sleep activity to get me laser focused on that objective. So text, email, the app, phone calls as often as you like- we find that monthly feels like the right cadence as people get into the program.
Alan: The analysis that you help them do upfront is important in mapping the genome, and trying to understand the mindset of the person in the program. So you said that the saliva sample is done through the mail, I'm trying to understand the human interaction here.
Clayton: The human interaction really falls into three areas. One, what we find from our clients, and the reason we have 95% participation in months 10, 11 and 12, is that they build a really important and intimate relationship with this coach. Now the in person interaction happens at your neighborhood lab-core, where a phlebotomist is going to take your blood pressure, waist circumference and then do the blood draw. And we do that ever 6 months because what we find is that there's really meaningful improvement in the clinical markers and progress if you're following the recommendations, and if not we need to understand why. So every six months is the time when you have the in person interaction. What's interesting is that in Seattle people that joined the program want to get together and want to share stories. So about once a month in local markets we're doing Arivale events where people are coming and sharing stories and meeting other pioneers (what we call our participants). and moving forward to create communities around what we're doing.
Alan: So for more information about Arivale, where would would a person go?
Clayton: Our website www.arivale.com Anyone within our staff would be more than happy to give you more information about the program.
Alan: We've been visiting here today with Clayton Lewis, he is the CEO and cofounder of Arivale. Clayton I'd like to thank you for being on today's show.
Clayton: I really enjoyed the conversation and appreciated the questions, thank you.