Axios Pro Launch Event

Welcome to the Axios Pro Launch Event!

On Thursday, January 20th, Axios business editor Dan Primack and Axios Pro health tech reporter Erin Brodwin, retail reporter Richard Collings, and fintech reporter Ryan Lawler interviewed top business leaders to kickstart the Axios Pro Launch, featuring SoftBank Vision Fund CEO Rajeev Misra, Google Chief Health Officer Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Authentic Brands Group Founder, Chairman & CEO Jamie Salter, and Affirm Founder & CEO Max Levchin.

Axios Chief Business Officer Fabricio Drumond outlined Axios Pro’s mission to provide in-depth coverage on deal-making news across the retail, fintech and health tech sectors, with plans to expand into additional verticals later this year. 

  • Why it matters: “Over the last five years, we’ve done an incredible job of covering the macro trends across multiple sectors: health care, business, technology, transportation and energy. With Axios Pro, we plan to go deeper. We want to invite professionals now to go into a deeper level of coverage into sectors that are important and relevant to them on a day-to-day basis.”

Rajeev Misra analyzed recent patterns in increasing private market valuations, how his investment business changes in response to market trends, and remaining competitive while exercising price discipline.

  • On the delta between public and private market valuations: “There’s always a lag between the private and the public markets…usually, the private markets where you don’t have to mark the market every day are sticky and usually are slightly overvalued than the public markets. Public markets set a value every hour, every day.” 
  • On fluctuating market valuations: “But if the public markets stay where they are, then the private markets which are overvalued have to kind of rebalance, and we’re seeing that already.” 

Dr. Karen DeSalvo highlighted how lessons learned have informed changes in her business decisions, what “integration” across platforms and partners means in practice, and the process of integrating acquisitions into existing core products. 

  • On fitting acquisitions into broader company objectives: “When we think about how we’re going to support the health ecosystem, we’ve got three big buckets. Is it going to support consumers in their health journey? Is it going to support caregivers who are providing the services on the front lines…or is it going to support community context? Those are our three C’s: consumer, caregiver and community context. We would start with that frame.” 
  • On working with large industry partners: “Increasingly, what the health care system wants is a digital first, but also a digital sensing environment. So, our partners then might be an individual, but increasingly, we’re looking to ways that we can be helpful for health plans or for health care systems that are wanting to have a broader suite of tools available to make personalized insights where that makes sense for their customers.” 

Jamie Salter described how the pandemic is affecting retail, why his company chose private equity investment over going public, and three key strategies to get the best value out of brand acquisitions.   

  • On the state of retail activity amidst the rise of the Omicron variant: “We’re very pleased with what’s going on on the retail side. And, of course, the wholesale side is still incredibly strong, so people are out shopping. I think what we’re seeing is there’s just still an enormous amount of money out there and people are spending it.” 
  • On strategies for growing brands through acquisitions: “You grow brands with typical organic growth, grow brands by expanding into other categories…and then you grow brands by diversifying into more territories around the globe. So, we’ve sort of taken that approach with every acquisition.” 

Max Levchin highlighted his company’s recent experience going public, trends in the fintech space surrounding public and private valuations, and his company’s success with the “buy now, pay later” concept.  

  • On the process of going public: “I heard lots of CEOs tell me everything changes or everything’s very different, and I think we’re one of the exceptions, in the sense that we were already a very regulated entity, we were already auditing ourselves.” 
  • On the popularity of the “buy now, pay later” model: “Everything we do is super clear, very easy to manage, very easy to understand for the end consumer. And so that’s the root of the demand, as the consumer figured out how it works…they said, alright we want more of this, this is great, much better than credit cards.” 

Subscribe to Axios Pro or start your 14-day free trial here for exclusive access to hyper-relevant news and expert analysis, industry-specific daily newsletters, and more interviews with top business leaders. 

Thank you PwC Deals for sponsoring this event. 

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*To qualify to receive the Axios Pro-branded Apple AirPods Pro headphones (the “Gift”), you must subscribe to Axios Pro: All Access on or before February 1, 2022 and remain subscribed through the end of the trial period. The Gift will be mailed to qualifying subscribers in March 2022. Promotion Terms apply.