Health Tech Startup uBiome Founders Resign, Interim CEO Leaves As Company Faces Multiple Investigations

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San Francisco-based microbiome startup uBiome confirmed to Forbes on Monday that its cofounders and co-CEOs, Jessica Richman and Zac Apte, have resigned their positions on the board after being put on administrative leave in May. John Rakow, who served as interim CEO after serving as the company’s general counsel, is leaving the firm. 

These executive shifts come in the aftermath of an FBI raid of the company’s offices in late April, which was reportedly related to an investigation of the company’s billing practices. At the time, the board had appointed a special committee, led by Kimmy Scotti of investment firm 8VC (now the only remaining independent director on the board), to investigate uBiome’s business operations. Subsequent reports suggested that the state of California is also investigating the company.

To assist in the investigation, the committee hired New York-based Goldin Associates, a management consulting firm. According to a uBiome spokesperson, Goldin is also “assisting in the implementation of the go-forward plan to position the company for sustainable growth and profitably.” The spokesperson did not respond to a request for details about this plan, but did confirm that Goldin director Curtis Solsvig will now serve as interim CEO, while Goldin directors Karthik Bhavaraju and Robin Chiu will respectively serve as interim COO and CFO. 

uBiome was founded in 2012 with a $350,000 Kickstarter campaign for an at-home test kit that enabled customers to take a fecal sample and send back to the company to receive a genomic sequence of their microbiomes – the bacteria that live in the intestines. Following that success, the company raised over $100 million in venture capital from 8VC, OS Fund, Andreesen Horowitz and others, and according to Pitchbook has a valuation of $600 million. 

With that funding it went on to other products, including tests for vaginal health and for irritable bowel syndrome. These two products weren’t consumer products, and instead required a physician to order them. The company cultivated a network of external physicians who would be available to order such tests, and some reports suggest this network may be one focus of the investigations of its practices.

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