Upfront Summit 2018

I spent two days this past week at the Upfront Summit.  I have been to going to this event since the first year.  It is absolutely one of the best events of the year for the tech community particularly the one in Los Angeles.

The event has grown quite a big from the first one.  The first day is for investors and LP’s and the second-day founders and others in the tech world are invited.  I believe the second day had over 850 people there.  It took place on the back lot of Warner Bros Studio.  The day was a class crystal clear beautiful LA day which just sets the tone.

There are speakers throughout both days from talks around cryptocurrency to changing how we think about gender to the economy and dinners in the evening.  Yet what is the best part is being able to see people that many of us know through email or cap tables or passing through a coffee shop but here we get to actually have a meaningful conversation.

At the end of day two, at the beginning of the cocktail hour, I had a conversation with a prominent journalist who is insanely sharp yet very down to earth, a VC who only invests in the healthcare/wellness space at the Series A stage and a VC who does later stage bio/med-tech.  We were discussing the recent news around Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan partnership to create a new healthcare company with the hope of disrupting what we have now.  Part of me wondered how often do they have these conversations with women as we all know the numbers of women vs men in the tech industry from founders to investors but regardless it was engaging, stimulating and I wouldn’t have necessarily been able to have that conversation if I had bumped into all of them in between a meeting at a coffee shop.

What the Upfront team, particularly Mark Suster, who I secretly believe was either a celebrity or party planner in his past life, has built something not only unique but needed for the industry.  I came away mentally exhausted from talking to so many people yet thrilled with the conversations I had and re-energized around the start-up world.   I needed that.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Pranay Srinivasan

    Sounds like it was a lot of fun!

  2. LE

    to create a new healthcare company with the hope of disrupting what we have nowWhat’s counter intuitive about this is if the consortium ends up decreasing their costs (because part of this, from what I read, is about their 1 million employees and the associated costs) it will in theory raise costs on everyone else.It’s a bit like how some foreign countries get to buy drugs cheaper than we do. Who pays for that? We in the US pay for it. The drug companies have to charge us more to make up for the discounts given elsewhere. That’s obvious at least on the scale that this is happening. Now if you look at other companies selling overseas you will generally not find that that is happening. Apple is not charging less for the iphone in Europe and Boeing is not selling jets for less than they negotiate here in this country.I think what most people don’t realize about healthcare (my wife works in healthcare) is that the reason costs are rising is because there are not only so many new medical treatments available but people are more likely to need future healthcare because a) they abuse themselves and get fixed by medicine or surgery b) They don’t die as a result of things that would have killed them many years ago. c) We have a policy of swinging for the fences and spending untold amounts of money to keep people alive at any expense (not a judgement on my part just stating reality). d) Avoidance of lawsuits because negative outcomes need to be avoided at all costs. e) Hospitals are not allowed to pull the plug on patients they have to keep trying until the bitter end. I am reminded of when my uncle died and my aunt did everything she could (at expense to the insurance company) to keep him alive for another 2 weeks because she couldn’t let go. Not saying that isn’t understandable but we are all paying for that type of behavior.So this is not ending anytime soon by way of efficiency improvements.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I totally agree with you. These are major issues that could possibly be dealt with from an intellectual perspective but when you are talking about emotional it is a completely different thing. Not sure how we resolve this except forcing people to make end of life decisions at an early age.

      1. LE

        By the way not a day goes by without me hearing a story from my wife about some drug seeking patient. Not talked about a great deal but the opiod crisis came in part by way of the government many years ago requiring hospitals to treat pain in a way that made doctors write prescriptions for pain to comply. I think it was called ‘the fifth vital sign”. [1] Also doctors are rated by hospitals based on what the patients say so in order to avoid negative feedback from the admins at the hospital and ratings agencies (big sham the unofficial ones I mean) they will generally be more likely to acquiesce to patient wishes. And this is only 2 of the thousands of moving parts that didn’t exist back in even the 80’s when our company’s health care cost an amazing $65 per month for the gold standard Blue Cross Blue Shield ‘all you cant eat’ healthplan. A family was something like $135 per month. And I am talking about the best plan you could buy the same one I had for myself.[1] Ok here you go:http://onlinelibrary.wiley….

        1. Gotham Gal

          Read the New Yorker piece on the Sacklow family.

          1. LE

            Wow!! Thanks for pointing that out.I see that a doc that they mention Richard Paolino was someone that I had interacted with because his office was in the same complex that an office of mine was located in way back in the late 90’s (was in a medical complex). I had to run fiber optic cable through his office from the utility room and needed his permission to do so. He used to have all sorts of unsavory types in the parking lot hanging in cars.One day the feds showed up and arrested him. I told them he had dumped medical records in the dumpster but oddly they didn’t seem to care. I am also in a medical complex in a different location now and same thing you’d be surprised at the patient info that ends up in the dumpster.Greenwood then observed that, in a recent case involving a Pennsylvania doctor, Richard Paolino, who was wantonly overprescribing OxyContin, a local pharmacist had alerted the authorities. “He looked at this data and he said, ‘Holy God, there is some guy in Bensalem called Paolino, and he’s writing prescriptions out the wazoo,’ ”http://articles.latimes.com…

  3. Arielle Nicole Wallace

    Hi! I’m writing a piece on the summit for my journalism course, and I’m looking to ask an attendee of the event some questions. Would you be willing to share? Let me know if it’s something you’re interested in. Thank you! Hope to hear from you soon.