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Thank you for the thoughtful post! We are perhaps overly broad with the way we think of retailers in the early innings of the pandemic and it is rightly worth understanding how specific players like Target can better weather the storm and recover on the other side. The pandemic has accelerated the war between traditional retail and Amazon, which is likely to be Target’s biggest rival even more so now and in the future. At the same time, the pandemic reveals the value of having robust and diversified supply chains, and so competition to Amazon is not only desirable but necessary. Target seems to be making the right investments in the near-term and I hope its creativity and speed can help it pull ahead.

On April 30, 2020, lumos commented on Teladoc Health: A Clear Winner During (and After) COVID-19 :

Thanks for sharing these insights. The need to maintain quality and doctor-patient relationships is top of mind in terms of whether Teladoc can continue to be a key player post-pandemic. I worry also about health inequity. Will we see a segmenting of healthcare provision by socioeconomic status — the lowest cost providers will stay on virtual platforms and serve the most vulnerable populations who can’t afford in-person medical care?

I was a member of this for a while but never used it and then cancelled it (pre-COVID). The delivery price was too high for the small snack I wanted, and the selection of products was too limited. This model is trying to replace vending machines, but it is inherently an inefficient model to do last-mile delivery for very small ticket-price, non-bulk orders (until it reaches scale — but even then, would it be worth it?). I’d be interested to see how they make the economics work during normal times!

On April 18, 2020, lumos commented on AiFi – Making Retail Store Autonomous using AI :

Thanks for sharing these insights into AiFi! I especially appreciated your breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of AiFi and am curious to see how the company will address concerns around privacy and check-out errors. Who will own the data — AiFi, the customer, the retailer, the POS provider? I wonder if AiFi needs to target specific types of retailers that sell specific types of products, so as to limit the range of store layouts at the outset. Especially in a world that is increasingly moving toward experiential retail, I wonder how AiFi can integrate more complex components of in-store experiences for retailers.

Thanks Andres for sharing this insight into Macy’s! I’m wondering about the specifics of Macy’s cost-benefit analysis in terms of how much time / capital it will take to make this transition, and what is the path toward recouping the investment and driving further growth? Additionally, digital transformation is a defensive move for a large incumbent, and it is just table stakes for retailers going forward. I wonder if there are specific elements of its digital transformation that can differentiate it enough from its competitors to enable Macy’s to capture share.

Thanks for sharing this interesting concept! My first thought on the flywheel is whether the link from “better insights” to “better patient outcomes” holds. I wonder how Yes Health addresses the adherence / psychological challenge, which may not necessarily follow from solving the “data problem.” I imagine people respond well to nudges, but to what extent do they discount the “nudges” provided by a machine rather than a human? On the value capture piece, while health insurers are likely to be the ones incentivized to pay, how can they incentivize their members to adopt Yes Health and adhere?

On March 23, 2020, lumos commented on Cookpad: spreading the joy of cooking worldwide :

Cool idea and agree with many of your insights. Very favorable network properties on all fronts, and interested to see the ways that they are expanding their ecosystem. I agree that this is a tough market for a competitor enter, but thinking out loud, I wonder whether there is room for a competing platform that specializes more in a particular kind of food, or recipes that are “vouched for” by professional chefs or celebrities — or other ways of creating an alternative platform brand that you believe would work in the Japanese market?

On March 23, 2020, lumos commented on Blackbuck – Hauling the future :

Very interesting view into India’s trucking platforms! I like the way Blackbuck discourages multi-homing through the contracts required of shippers, and also has started to build up an ecosystem of services for shippers. How do you think about the risk of disintermediation, once a trucker is able to connect the various parties on each side of the delivery? The competitors are taking an interesting model of higher integration with services that shippers and truckers need, and that may be more defensible in the future — how has this played out vs. Blackbuck?

On March 22, 2020, lumos commented on Zencare: Modernizing the search for mental health care :

Your insights into Zencare and the mental health / therapy space are very interesting and insightful. I wonder how to solve the ringfencing issues of keeping both therapists and clients on the platform — seems like it would either have to be a lead generation solution, or it would have to find a way to more closely integrate with a therapist’s needs (renting space, insurance billing, automating booking). I wonder also how this intersects with tele-therapy in terms of quality and delivery, and how Zencare can build a “brand” fo the platform itself vs. the significant number of up-and-coming competitors in this space, as well as strong incumbents in the form of PsychologyToday and insurance panels.

On February 12, 2020, lumos commented on A Storm is Coming for Blizzard Entertainment :

Fascinating look at Blizzard vs. incumbents and new players! I wonder what it is about Blizzard that makes it incapable of competing over such a long period of many years against these new entrants — infrastructure, talent, architecture? What makes it so difficult for Blizzard to evolve vs. some of the other digital players (who arguably are old and have less experience), and what are some steps that it could take to become competitive again? Very interesting point about Tencent at the end — what types of capabilities or strategies would it deploy that would create value for Blizzard?

On February 12, 2020, lumos commented on Mirror: digital disrupter in fitness and beyond :

Thanks for the insight into Mirror and the evolving digital fitness industry. I find intriguing that central to Mirror’s value proposition is its ability to provide other kinds of interactive digital experiences (e.g., teletherapy). The line does really start to blur between all-purpose screens with a camera on the one hand and interactive smart hardware on the other. To what extent does hardware and software integration need to be custom-built to the use case? It’s difficult to see a winner in Mirror as it stands today because of aforementioned reasons, but given its flexibility for myriad applications it would be fascinating to see how Mirror can continue to provide value that is targeted and significant to consumers.

On February 11, 2020, lumos commented on GoodRx: Winning in the Prescription Drug Market :

Really enjoyed this post Jen! I wonder what are GoodRx’s plans with respect to expansion into or strategy around the insured population. Does this market have barriers to entry that may be too significant or would insurance plans pose a large obstacle toward GoodRx’s current model? With insurance plans particularly conscious to the rising costs of healthcare in the U.S., I wonder if there are mutually beneficial partnerships that can be developed so that insurance plans can receive lower pricing and pass on these savings to consumers.