David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Bill Gurley, general partner at Benchmark Capital.
Despite the fact that it’s an “extremely dangerous” sector to invest in, venture capitalist Bill Gurley recently made two new healthcare investments.
“I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at healthcare, and it’s extremely dangerous. It’s extremely dangerous because the laws of most marketplaces doesn’t exist,” Bill Gurley, general partner at Benchmark, told CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” on Friday. “There’s not a simple gravity. There’s forces in five different directions. The people that are consuming aren’t paying, it’s crazy.”
Americans spend nearly one out of every five dollars on health care, The Brookings Institution estimates. But the American healthcare market can be more complex than simple supply and demand.
Despite the safety net of health insurance, many consumers don’t have a financial cushion to protect against health emergencies, Brookings says, amid a complicated cocktail of insurance plans and doctor recommendations that can be hard to parse.
The perils of investing in disruptive healthcare start-ups were well-publicized by Theranos, a blood-testing start-up that was accused of overstating the capability of its technology. Nonetheless, technology companies are pouring more resources into healthcare and wellness products.
Apple’s Apple Watch has been discussed as a tool for health insurance administration and Alphabet’s Verily is undertaking an exhaustive healthcare study. Gurley said he’s betting on the power of mobile to help upend the healthcare industry.
“I’d like to believe if you look at the marketplaces that have been built — like in Uber or Zillow — and you look at this smartphone that you’re carrying with you all the time …. there are solutions that can be had,” Gurley said. “I’m optimistic that there’s something there.”