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The Hottest Startup In New York Is Oscar

It's got everything; a health care business model, a real estate scion founder, Goldman Sachs, a $1 billion valuation, and dancers dressed like Peter Thiel... nope - sorry - that's actually Peter Thiel.

Want to take a snapshot that includes every business stereotype circa early 2015?

Meet Oscar.

A health care startup founded by an heir to a real estate fortune who grew up to be a tech venture capitalist, and designed to make money by disrupting the most hotly contested domestic issue of our time, Oscar has found itself supported by a list of investors that reads like a "who's who" of Silicons Valley and Alley.

Oscar, based in NYC's Puck Building (where founder and CEO Joshua Kushner presumably gets a nice deal on rent from his brother and landlord, Jared) is a company that openly leverages technology to disrupt what it sees as a woefully under-evolved health care industry. It also does fun stuff like handing out Fitbits to enrollees in hopes of getting them to get off the couch and lower overall costs for everyone.

And because it strikes almost every chord that resonates with modern money men, people are just eating Oscar up.

In four rounds of investment since being founded all the way back in July, 2013, Oscar has a raised a sold $295 million from the likes of General Catalyst Partners, Stanley Druckenmiller and libertarian nonpareil/Valley legend/investing god Peter Thiel.

Oscar's latest round, a healthy $145 Series A, was announced today. The list of investors includes old buddies like Thiel, but also a new friend who goes by the name of Goldman Sachs.

While we can debate for eternity where or not the inclusion of Goldman in the ranks of Oscar backers is the ultimate anointing, the round that Goldman participated in does push Oscar pass the $1 billion valuation checkpoint and into the allegorical meadows where only "unicorns" dare to graze.

But if you don't want to take our word that Oscar is capturing the finanical zeitgeist of the moment, just listen to what Kushner told The Times about today's Series A.

With 16 months under its belt now, however, Oscar is ready to expand its product offerings. The company thinks that by being vertically integrated, controlling both its insurance operation and its technology, it can start offering new services that Mr. Kushner declined to identify.
“I really believe that the fact that we own our own system will give us control of our own destiny,” he said. “In the health care world, we think we’re just getting started.”

"Vertical integration" and mysterious products that are still in some kind of theoretical "beta?"

If a paragraph could wear an ironic beard, folks, it would be this one.

Oscar, a Health Insurance Start-Up, Valued at $1.5 Billion [NY Times]


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