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Most Redesign Health CEOs are white men

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Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

For a health care startup builder that claims it "nurtures diverse ideas," Redesign Health has enlisted a large number of white male CEOs.

Why it matters: Redesign's stated goals include "bringing together diverse experiences to tackle the industry's toughest challenges," which are laudable ambitions for an industry plagued by racial and socioeconomic discrimination.

By the numbers: Out of the 33 companies listed on Redesign's website, 30 are led by a white CEO, or 90%.

  • Twenty-five of the 33 companies on Redesign's website have white male CEOs, or 76%.

Be smart: An overrepresentation of white men in health care has been tied with biased care algorithms, discrimination and inferior health outcomes for patients of color.

  • Research suggests solving the problem involves recruiting more underrepresented groups to every level of the industry.

Catch up fast: After launching in 2018, New York City-based Redesign in 2022 raised $65 million in Series C funding at a $1.7 billion valuation.

  • General Catalyst led the round, and CVS Health Ventures, UPMC Enterprises, Eden Global Partners, Euclidean Capital and Samsung Next joined.
  • "Health care needs a redesign," the website reads. "All of us are ambitious, bringing together our diverse experiences to tackle the industry's toughest challenges."

What they're saying: "While the representation of the CEOs isn't where we want it to be, we're taking steps for that to be more top-of-mind ... so it's much more incorporated into our company-building framework," says Redesign head of new ventures Neil Patel.

  • If "you're here to address inequities but you're curating teams with people who are not historically excluded, that's part of the problem," says an adviser to health tech companies who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject tells Axios.
  • "If you look behind the curtain at how they're recruiting talent to run these things, and they're looking in specific spheres or bubbles of talent, you probably end up tapping into a sea of sameness," the source says.

Zoom out: Patel says Redesign is working to be intentional about serving underrepresented populations via its companies.

  • "A year ago we put together an impact statement, and we include that in how we fund our companies. All our companies, in our investing criteria, we consider which populations they serve," says Patel.
  • Redesign also hired an outside consultant at the end of 2022, per Patel, "to help us think through our equity framework."

Meanwhile, the company recently unveiled a new effort called Redesign Advise, an expertise and guidance network for its companies.

  • "If they have access to that level of expertise, they clearly have a mechanism of finding people who could be CEOs," the source says.
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