Chicago’s newest billionaire, 31-year-old Rishi Shah, is self-made
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Rishi Shah, who quit college to pursue entrepreneurial dreams, became a billionaire last week. And his business partner, Shradha Agarwal, is close behind.
Their windfall came with a $600 million infusion of venture capital into Outcome Health, the Chicago health care tech company they founded in 2006. It’s now valued at $5.6 billion.
Outcome Health installs touchscreens in doctor’s offices and uses specialized software to help physicians and patients make treatment decisions. Health care marketers and pharmaceutical companies use them too.
“It’s changing the life of a doctor,” Shah said in an interview about the technology.
He and Agarwal have been dogged in building their business. Last week’s investment came primarily from Chicago-based Pritzker Group, Goldman Sachs and CapitalG, which is connected to Google.
Not since Groupon, has a company raised that kind of capital in a single round of funding. In 2011, Groupon raised $950 million from investors in a fifth round of funding. For Outcome Health, it’s the first infusion of investment money.
Forbes now estimates Shah’s net worth at $3.6 billion. Not bad for a 31-year-old.
“It’s an acknowledgment that smart investors are beginning to reward prudent management with a focus on revenue and profitability instead of crazy moonshot stories which are more likely to crash and burn than to ever succeed,” said Howard Tullman, who heads the 1871 entrepreneur hub in Chicago.
Shah’s success is no surprise to his family. Mom Sonal Shah remembers her son at age 5 knocking on neighbors’ doors selling hand-painted pictures. His endocrinologist father, Dr. Upendra Shah, realized early on that medicine wasn’t for Rishi — he didn’t like the sight of blood.
But the younger Shah “liked to talk about the issues related to health care,” said his dad. Shree Shah remembers her older brother as the inspirational organizer at Hinsdale Central High School. After the events of 9/11, Shah started a weekly discussion group to focus on world issues. “The goal was to bring light to some of the things going on around us beyond school and studying,” his sister recalls.
Shah met Agarwal at Northwestern University in the early 2000s and they started their company after cobbling together their own money. Before accepting venture capital, Shah owned 80 percent of the company; Agarwal 20 percent.
The company expects to be in 70 percent of doctors’ offices nationwide by 2020 and intends to expand overseas. There’s even talk of an IPO.
Last week’s deal didn’t prompt a big bash. Shah said he’s hanging onto the advice of his mentor, Jeff Coney, director of economic development at Northwestern. “You only pop champagne when you win with customers. Now it’s time to put on the coffee and get to work.”
Call it the Trump effect
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is hosting 500 civic leaders from around the world this week for the Chicago Forum on Global Cities. But the biggest draw might be Ivo Daalder, the council’s president.
Ever since Donald Trump‘s presidential win, Daalder has become a go-to expert explaining how White House actions affect the world.
When Trump turned his back on climate change, Daalder told the Washington Post “Xi Jinping is sitting in Beijing and can’t believe what’s happening to him.” He said the U.S. retreat means there’s a likely “shift in global leadership, away from Washington and the United States toward Beijing and China.”
MSNBC, CNN, The Financial Times and New York Times quoted Daalder, too.
And before that, Daalder, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, weighed in when Trump dissed Germany and NATO.
“They’re issues that make an organization like ours more important,” Daalder said.
He noted that the nonprofit, nonpartisan council was expanding programming before Trump landed in D.C. The think tank recently moved into new headquarters in Prudential Plaza, allowing for its own meeting space. The council also has beefed up its website, social media presence and podcasts.
‘Bernie’ and Barbra come out for Kennedy
Hollywood heavyweights have opened their wallets to Chris Kennedy‘s Democratic gubernatorial campaign.
Larry David, the TV producer, writer and actor who portrayed U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on “Saturday Night Live,” donated $1,000 to Kennedy’s campaign last month.
Other Kennedy donors who popped up on new campaign disclosure forms: singer Barbra Streisand, TV producer Norman Lear, actor Kevin Nealon, filmmaker Amy Ziering and actor/writer Christopher Kennedy Lawford (his mother and Kennedy’s father were siblings).
A little help from mayor’s friends
Some of the mayor’s friends helped raise $900,000 for Marwen, a nonprofit that provides after-school arts programming.
Marwen has long been a favorite charity of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his wife, Amy Rule. The couple were introduced years ago by Marwen CEO Antonia Contro.
Notable names (and Emanuel pals) supporting this year’s fundraising gala included hedge-fund manager Andy Bluhm, billionaire businesswoman Penny Pritzker and Ebony Media Operations CEO Linda Johnson Rice.
Read more Taking Names at shiakapos.com.