Meet Forward, An Ex-Googler's Plan To Reinvent Health Care With A Dose Of Apple, Netflix And AI

Adrian Aoun, CEO and co-founder of Forward. Credit: Courtesy Forward

"Your visit with your doctor is not the end of your physical for the year – it’s a continual process," says Dr. Aaliya Yaqub, a UCLA and Stanford trained physician who is one of Forward's first four doctors and who previously worked at Facebook's in-house clinic.

The ultimate goal of all this technology is not just improved service but better health at lower prices, Aoun says.

Whether Forward can deliver on that promise -- let alone build a profitable business -- remains a big question. Scores of health providers, both startups and established players, are trying new approaches, and in some cases new technologies, to deliver health care services more effectively, often with a focus on prevention and wellness, and an emphasis on chronic conditions. 

The upstarts include the likes of insurer Oscar Health and VC-funded doctors' practice One Medical. But the jury is out on whether any of the efforts are delivering better care at lower prices across large segments of the population.

Not surprisingly, the well-connected Aoun has a amassed a group of venture and personal investors from Silicon Valley's elite that include Khosla Ventures, Peter Thiel's Founders Fund, First Round Capital, as well as John Doerr, Eric Schmidt, Marc Benioff, Uber co-founder Garrett Camp and Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale among others. Aoun declined to say how much Forward has raised, but people close to the company put the figure at more than $30 million.

Founded in 2016, Forward hopes it will be able to treat as many as 10,000 members from its existing San Francisco practice and is already scouting for its next location. It currently employs over 40 people, including veterans from Google, Facebook, Uber and Palantir who are helping to design Forward's technology and to streamline its processes.
"We're building a platform so doctors can touch more and more lives," says Aoun. "The marginal cost of all this technology is not that high," he adds. "It's less than the doctor’s time."