Why Scientific Wellness will be more Important than Healthcare | Clayton Lewis

 

About Clayton Lewis

A competitive triathlete with a passion for health and wellness, Clayton Lewis loves to win and push the boundaries of what’s possible. In 2013, he partnered with biotech pioneer Dr. Lee Hood to execute Hood’s bold vision to launch a new industry – scientific wellness. That collaboration resulted in the formation of Arivale, which Clayton leads as CEO. Arivale uses cutting-edge science, personalized data, and tailored coaching to deliver prioritized, actionable recommendations that inspire its clients to achieve and sustain their wellness potential.

Clayton has more than two decades of startup, growth, operating, management and leadership experience in fast-growth companies.

Recruited in 2007 as CEO of Kinetix Living, a Maveron portfolio company in the wellness sector, Clayton’s leadership resulted in the successful acquisition of the company — and his recruitment to Maveron as partner, leading the health and wellness practice. Since that time, Clayton has regularly leveraged his extensive operating expertise to help accelerate the performance of Maveron’s high-value portfolio companies. In addition to his role as Arivale CEO, Clayton continues to contribute Maveron’s evaluation of prospective new investments and serves on the boards of two Maveron Fund IV companies: Koru and NextFoods.

Before joining Maveron, Clayton served on the executive teams that grew Onvia and HouseValues from early stage ventures to publicly traded companies. Early in his career, Clayton served as one of the youngest chiefs of staff on Capitol Hill for Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY), Congress’ only microbiologist, who is credited for championing the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Clayton is president of the Seattle-based Harborview Medical Center Board of Trustees, where he has served for more than a decade. He also serves as an ex officio member of the University of Washington Medicine Board. Outside of work, Clayton competes in endurance sports including Ironman triathlons.

 

Interview Transcript:

Clayton
Our society today is turned upside down because we’re spending 18% of our GDP on treating symptoms. The current health care 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 health care. And what that means is actually help people understand what’s their genetic predisposition, and what 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 is a CEO and co founder of aerobill. Welcome to today’s show. Thank you. So Clayton, for the listeners here. Can you give your pathway of what took you up to this point in life starting maybe from your your schooling days?

Clayton
Sure. So 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. So 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. And so back in literally 1977, long before people thought about vitamins and supplements, I was making protein shakes, smoothing, making juice smoothies, helping people think about nutrition, and that literally was my first job or my first entrepreneurial business and college, went on to become student body president of the University of Washington, yes, 36,000 students. So that was my second entrepreneurial adventure because we ran a small business, we had 400, part time employees, number of businesses, and it launched me into understanding both politics and public policy. So for 10 years, I worked in politics ran campaigns, I was the youngest chief of staff on Capitol Hill, I was Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Louise Slaughter. And another theme there, the only microbiologist and Congress. And actually she sponsored the gene to legislation dealing with genomic privacy. Now, what I learned in politics is I love the fact that you had to launch campaigns very quickly hire brilliant staff, you had a product launch date. But what I also learned is I didn’t enjoy the dance legislation. And so when I was 30, I decided to go into the private sector, and have been fortunate than in my 30s and 40s. Those two chapters of my life, I was involved in five startups, took three of them from literally not existing to $100 million in revenue relatively quickly, and then took two of them public. Now, as an entrepreneur, I always had venture capitalist on my board, and I’d always raised venture capitals to help me build business. But then in my private life, I’m an Ironman triathlete. And so I’ve always focused on optimizing my wellness. I’m also president of the board of Harborview Medical Center. And we’re a trauma one hospital for a five state region 27% of the landmass the United States were the trauma one hospital. So once again, I’ve always been pulled towards my passion of wellness and health. So it’s invited by mavar on consumer only venture capital firm founded by Howard Schultz and Dan Lavenham to help them with a health startup that they had. So 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 MAVs, Ron. And so for the next seven years, I focused on looking at businesses in the wellness sector.

Alan
So aerobill has a the very interesting name and that but when you first jump into the name, then can you tell us how you you hooked up with the the other co founder? Yes. Lee hood?

Clayton
Yes, thank you. So it may have run, what we do is we focus on who are the entrepreneurs who want it back. And I think that’s something that’s kind of interesting as young entrepreneurs think about how do I go out and raise venture funny venture money, life’s about relationships, and life is about building those relationships over time. And that’s especially true for venture capitalists. And I can tell you, as someone who is a general partner for seven years at a venture firm, if I got to know someone over time, much more likely to want to back that individual. Now, Lee hood had been at the top of my list of individuals I wanted to back for a long time. And I’ll share a couple reasons why Lee was one of the first scientists to map the human genome. And his work has literally been recognized across the globe, President Obama gave him the Presidential Medal of Science. There’s three National Academies of Science and if you’re a scientist, it’s an incredible honor to be invited to join one of the National Academies leaves one of 15 individuals ever invited to join all three. And literally the awards the accolades recommend I can go on and on. But wearing my venture capital hat Lee has founded or co founded 15. Companies that today are valued over $250 billion. 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 scientists to launch these trends and then launch companies into them. So that’s what we believe Eric Lee said it’s 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. So I’m busy. I’m here today with Clayton Lewis. She’s the co founder of era Valley, Clayton, I need to take a quick break. Yes, and we’ll be back after these messages.

Alan
Welcome back. I’m here today with Clayton Lewis, and he is the CEO and co founder of air Ville. And in the first segment, we’re talking about the history what you brought up, what brought you to this point, but I’d like to have you spend a little bit of time to differentiating what is air avail do and how does it differentiate 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. So as a venture capitalist, I looked at the wellness industry, as President of the Board of Harvard, you I spent a lot of time thinking about health care. And when I looked at the wellness industry, I saw three areas where it’s failed to consumers. First, most Americans don’t wake up and think today I want to be well, we aspire to have life experiences. And one of the most important things that arabelle does is help people focus on what are those experiences you want to have? Because that’s what motivates you. Second challenge for the wellness industry data paralyzes people, how many people do you know that were a Fitbit for a few weeks and said, Heck 10,000 steps, where am I going? And so they we need to do is bring that data to life. And finally, so much of our society today is about zero human interaction, we’ve got an app, we’ve got a computer screen, stream screen, excuse me, we believe passionately, that you need an individual, you need a licensed coach, you need an expert to guide you on this journey. So taraval, we exist to help our clients optimize their wellness. Now, 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 I’ll talk more about that. And second, we assign you a coach backed up by a physician backed up by a team to translate that data into two to three actionable recommendations each month that are laser focused and laser specific to you. So let’s go back to Lee’s original vision. What Lee helped us understand is we look at four quadrants of data. For humans. We’re a system, we’re not isolated into one data set, but we’re actually a complex organism. So first, we do whole genome sequencing, so that we understand what your genetic predisposition, but genes are not your destiny. So the next thing we do is a very comprehensive set of clinical labs quadrant to think twice as many measurements twice as often as your annual physical third quadrants and got got microbiome is a discovery quadrant. But we think over time, some really important learnings are going to come from this. And finally a quadrant of quantified self. So we have this data cloud. And the next thing we do is we assign you a coach backed up by a physician, independent, I should say independent physician. So this coach gets to know you what you care about. And then looking at this complex data cloud, what we found for our clients is that different people have different hotspots and different opportunities to optimize their wellness, that to get it organized. We put it into six health dimensions, heart health, healthy aging, inflammation, diabetes, risk, optimal nutrition. And for you, we might stack rank based on all of that data that your most important opportunity is heart health. When I entered the program, I was the middle of training for an Ironman. So I thought, Okay, I’ve got to be the healthiest person in the program. And I had also gone on a paleo diet, thinking that could make me faster. So when I got my data back, and when I opened up my dashboard and saw that I was actually pre diabetic. I thought okay, this has got to be a mistake. How could this be and what My coach helped me understand is that I’ve got 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 actually elevating my inflammation markers. And much to my surprise was pre diabetic. My coach helped me understand put dance complex, rich carbohydrates in every single meal, made a number of other choices, completely normalize my blood sugar and was no longer pre diabetic is seven months later. And for our clients, each one of them has their own individual story about how their genes combined with their clinical data, their gut microbiome, presented them really clear opportunities to optimize their health. I have hundreds of stories I could share.

Alan
So when you’re when you’re optimizing health and you looking at the Geno’s, is it basically just by focusing on the nutrition then? Or is there any drug or science or?

Clayton
So we are laser focus that we’re a wellness company, we don’t practice healthcare. So that’s the first thing. So the reason that we have an independent physician order all of the clinical labs, all of the labs are standard CLIA approved laboratories is that physician orders the labs, the independent labs, then send the data initially to the physician so that she and her colleagues can review all of the data and determine someone actually need health care. And we find that sometimes people do so we refer them back into the system. So then the second part of the question is why do we coach to? It’s interesting that if you look at humans, there’s three determinants of our health. 30% is weighted on genetics 60% is behavior, lifestyle, environment, diet, nutrition, and 10 percents to healthcare system. And so what we coach to use, we coached diet coach to supplements we coach the stress coach to sleep coach to exercise, all elements that are actually the largest determinant of our health over time.

Alan
Amazing here today, Clayton Lewis, he is the co founder of air Bella and I need to take a quick break. And we’ll be right back after these messages Thank you.

Alan
Welcome back, it isn’t here today with Clayton Lewis a co founder of era Val. And in the prior segments, we’re talking about how we are Val came to being and, and and that really there’s there’s basically the four quadrants and you’re focused on helping the coach for health and wellness. But how do you I’m gonna back up a little bit. Okay. How do you define health and wellness?

Clayton
It’s a really critical question. And the first thing the coach is going to do if you were to sign up, and I hope you do, 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 the conversations often go on, especially when I talk to our participants is they say, Oh, I’d like to lose a few pounds. Okay, we can help you with that. Tell me more. And as we start to do discovery, we hear things like, you know what, I want to be a better mom, my daughter’s 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 things like my goal, what is being well named Clayton Lewis, I aspire to be fifth in my age group and Ironman Canada next year. And so that’s my definition of wellness. Last time I did Ironman Canada, I came at 10th. My age group, I want to move up five notches. We hear things like my husband and I are retiring, or my wife and I are retiring in 10 years, we want to go around the world on a bike. And so that is what I talked about what I learned and why I think the wellness industry fails and opposition service our healthcare system fails. When people hear things that clinical trials indicate, or the data suggest or a study would mean x, what our clients say to us, our participants is one, wow, this data, it’s all about me, too. You’ve actually looked at me as a system. You’re looking at my genes, my lab, my gut, my activity, and three, I’ve got this coach that’s translated into actionable recommendations. So each of us have a different definition of what it means to be well. And we’re passionate that a big part of the discovery a big part of working with a coach is defining it for yourself.

Alan
So I got to take this back and the question that there on the mindset, there’s some of individuals that are really good at following process. There are other individuals saying I get your process, but I want to do it myself. So how do you how do you bring a person around and others, a person’s at their stage of health because of the way they think, and they act and they interpret data, but how do you help them through that.

Clayton
Really important, and it’s another reason that we believe it’s not about an app. It’s not about a computer screen, it’s about the individual. And so the next thing when you onboard at arabelle, you do about 40 minutes of assessment. So we learned about your health history, current activity level, your goals, mental health, stress, all of those items, so that they your coach starts to understand where are you? Now the next thing is going to be? What are you willing to do? So I’ll tell you a story. We had a client participant, excuse me that came in and that participants had, I’m here for the data. And we’re like, well, we’re a program, we’re not a data company, we’re actually a program with independent physician and a coach. And so you have to participate in coaching, or we can’t have you in the program. And so because, okay, I’m really busy. I’m an important executive. And when I get home, first thing I do is take off my shoes, head to the couch. And the coach then did some discovery, like what’s important to you. And he said, You know what, I’m an amazing photographer. But my BMI is actually to a point where I can’t get out to take photos I want. So the journey that the coach and this participant went on is, first thing she said is okay, for a month, would you be willing to put your tennis shoes on as you head to the couch is like, whatever. Then a month later, would you be willing to take a couple blocks, walks around a block, this gentleman is now walking 45 minutes, five days a week is leaned up, and is now out taking the photographs he want. So, so often, health and wellness programs set people up to fail, because you’re given a recommendation that doesn’t map at all, where you are at this moment in your life and a reflection of that. So what are your goals? What are you willing to do? And how do we set you up for success? Another quick story because I love this. So in Seattle, I know this gentleman is in our program, and he’s sort of an ER type personality. And six months after being in our program, he said to me, Clayton, this is recalibrated how I think about life, like yeah, you have setbacks, you don’t achieve what you want to achieve. But you’re on a path, you’re on a journey. And that’s the power of coaches that really understand both the art and the science of behavior change. One more quick thing. So are you familiar with the concept of neuroplasticity, so we lay down these paths in our brain, and they’re like freeways. And you can’t erase these freeways, you have to start laying down new roads on top of them, where over time by laying down these new roads with your coach, they become the freeways and become the most important. Neuroplasticity in terms of the activities that you’re going to want to take.

Alan
So it’s like defining new road or freeway for you to go down. So now when when you’re looking at coaches and doctors and physicians, can a person say, Well, I want to use this physician? Or do you have people within your network that that are trained to help do this.

Clayton
So because the physicians are independent, and they’re third party, we’ve contracted with the practice to order the labs and review the data. And we contract with practices in the states in which we operate. But then when you are we’re assigning you a coach, we’re going to ask you three to four questions to understand what is the type of coach you’re interested in, because some of our participants will say, I want someone who gives it to me straight, holds me accountable, is incredibly direct. And I do not need any encouragement, I just want the facts. And I want recommendations. Where we have other people will say to us, I really want someone who’s going to embrace where I am, it’s going to be supportive is going to give me words of encouragement. So we have profiles to map the profiles of our participants so that we make sure there’s a fit. And sometimes we learned that, oh, this coach is not gaining traction with this individual because we check in after each interaction, and will recommend let’s transfer you to a different type of coach profile.

Alan
How many states are you currently in?

Clayton
So this Monday, yesterday, we launched in the state of California, we are startup. So last year in July, we launched in the state of Washington.

Alan
Excellent. And then you have a vision to to expand across all 50 states and we definitely.

Clayton
Do but the reason we selected California is that we’ve had a number of press stories. And so we had a lot of individuals California reach out say we’d like to be in this program. And also California is predisposed we as a very large market, that California has a culture of one people being at the forward edge and to a lot of individuals, what we say we call folks being interested in actually learning and bringing this data to life. Consumers are literally spending billions of dollars in what we call the wellness category. But what’s interesting is that 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 12 of our program, and we’ve got 95% engagement and retention in months, 11 and 12. And our program takes very heavy lifting, you’ve got 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 tell us about your participation in this program and the progress you’re making? Or not?

Alan
You know, we talk about doctors a health care system. First of all, the question number one question, I’m sure everyone’s thinking is, does health care provider help to cover some of the insurance costs is becoming a patient with the program or?

Clayton
Not at this time, and because our whole health care system is focused on treating symptoms. And we are focused on optimizing wellness, too. So right now, it’s not covered by insurance or HSA plans.

Alan
Okay, so let’s say, Okay, I looked at Air Val and sold, what do I need to do next to become a patient through the program?

Clayton
Appreciate that. So first want to be really clear, you’re going to be a participant, because we’re wellness and not a health care system. But what you do is you’d go to our website, and you’d sign up. Next thing that’s going to happen is you’re going to get a call from a concierge, and the country ers is going to ask you your questions around what is the type of coaching profile you’d want to work with, then literally, the next day or the day after, you’re going to receive a welcome box. Now that welcome box is going to have an a Fitbit, because we want to get immediate access to both the type, 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 microbiome independent third party CLIA certified labs. Next thing that’ll happen is it will set set you up on your dashboard, you’ll do about 40 minutes of assessments. So the coach gets access to all the information. And finally, you’ll schedule an appointment at your neighborhood LabCorp so that we can get the blood work. Now, then all of the samples are going to be coming into your dashboard. And you’re going to be set up 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
So when when you’re signing coaches is pretty much by telephone or in person meetings, or?

Clayton
What we found is actually most effective is that the coaching calls happen via the phone. And I’ve spent a lot of time in my career looking at coaching programs. And there’s a lot of reasons that we’ve decided to move to this model. Now, what’s interesting is our clients have said, like to have more interaction with my coach. And so two months ago, we launched a native arable app. And so what I love about this app is that every morning, right now I’m working on sleep. And so what I saw is that my cortisol levels elevated. And so that even in my third year in the program, I’ve got new opportunities to optimize my wellness. So every morning, my coach and I are interacting on this app, and I’ve set a goal with her to stop working by 10 o’clock and to be in bed by 11. So what I love is that it’s not nagging. I simply swipe left if I’ve actually accomplished that goal, and then she’s looking at my other biomarkers such as my Fitbit activity, my sleep activity to get me laser focused on that objective. So text, email, the app in terms of how you’d want to interact, phone calls as often as you’d like, we find that monthly feels like the right cadence as people get into the program.

Alan
We touched on this a little earlier. But walking through the this analysis that you do up front with helping to map the genome is important and trying to understand also the mindset of the person in the program. Yes. So when when you do this, is it is it mainly? You said mailorder I mean, you’re doing things, the mail where you take the saliva samples is still sample, everything is done pretty much on an automated app I’m trying to understand.

Clayton
Sure. So the action here, so the human interaction really falls into three areas. So one, what we find from our clients and the reason we’ve got 95% participations in months, 10s 11 and 12 they build a really intimate and important relationship with this coach. Now, the in person interaction happens at your neighborhood LabCorp where a phlebotomist is going to take your blood pressure, waist circumference, and then do the blood draw. We do that every six months. Because what we find is that really meaningful improvement in the clinical markers and progress if you’re following the recommendations, or maybe not. So we need to understand why. So every six months, the time and the time is that’s when you have the in person interaction. Now, what’s interesting is that in Seattle, we found that people who joined the program want to get together and want to share stories. So about once a month the local markets were doing Caravelle events where people are coming into sharing stories meeting other pilots we call our clients. We call our participants pioneers and moving forward to create communities around what we’re doing.

Alan
So for more information on air Val Where does a person go?

Clayton
Sure, thank you. It’s our website, of course www and then Arab L A, r i v a l e.com. And happy to talk to anyone within our staff to give more information about the program.

Alan
It isn’t here today with Clayton Lewis. He is the CEO and co founder Eric Belen Clayton, I like to thank you for being on today’s show.

Clayton
Really enjoyed the conversation and appreciate the questions. Thank you.

 

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This transcript was generated by software and may not accurately reflect exactly what was said.

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Clayton Lewis on Alan Olsen's American Dreams Radio
Clayton Lewis

A competitive triathlete with a passion for health and wellness, Clayton Lewis loves to win and push the boundaries of what’s possible. In 2013, he partnered with biotech pioneer Dr. Lee Hood to execute Hood’s bold vision to launch a new industry – scientific wellness. That collaboration resulted in the formation of Arivale, which Clayton leads as CEO. Arivale uses cutting-edge science, personalized data, and tailored coaching to deliver prioritized, actionable recommendations that inspire its clients to achieve and sustain their wellness potential.

Clayton has more than two decades of startup, growth, operating, management and leadership experience in fast-growth companies.

Recruited in 2007 as CEO of Kinetix Living, a Maveron portfolio company in the wellness sector, Clayton’s leadership resulted in the successful acquisition of the company — and his recruitment to Maveron as partner, leading the health and wellness practice. Since that time, Clayton has regularly leveraged his extensive operating expertise to help accelerate the performance of Maveron’s high-value portfolio companies. In addition to his role as Arivale CEO, Clayton continues to contribute Maveron’s evaluation of prospective new investments and serves on the boards of two Maveron Fund IV companies: Koru and NextFoods.

Before joining Maveron, Clayton served on the executive teams that grew Onvia and HouseValues from early stage ventures to publicly traded companies. Early in his career, Clayton served as one of the youngest chiefs of staff on Capitol Hill for Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY), Congress’ only microbiologist, who is credited for championing the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Clayton is president of the Seattle-based Harborview Medical Center Board of Trustees, where he has served for more than a decade. He also serves as an ex officio member of the University of Washington Medicine Board. Outside of work, Clayton competes in endurance sports including Ironman triathlons.

Alan Olsen on Alan Olsen's American Dreams Radio
Alan Olsen

Alan is managing partner at Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen & Co., LLP, (GROCO) and is a respected leader in his field. He is also the radio show host to American Dreams. Alan’s CPA firm resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and serves some of the most influential Venture Capitalist in the world. GROCO’s affluent CPA core competency is advising High Net Worth individual clients in tax and financial strategies. Alan is a current member of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (S.I.E.P.R.) SIEPR’s goal is to improve long-term economic policy. Alan has more than 25 years of experience in public accounting and develops innovative financial strategies for business enterprises. Alan also serves on President Kim Clark’s BYU-Idaho Advancement council. (President Clark lead the Harvard Business School programs for 30 years prior to joining BYU-idaho. As a specialist in income tax, Alan frequently lectures and writes articles about tax issues for professional organizations and community groups. He also teaches accounting as a member of the adjunct faculty at Ohlone College.

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