Eat the Rich

Rich? Connected? You can get a COVID-19 test fast

“Through a unique relationship with one of our portfolio companies, we will expedite delivery of a [coronavirus] test kit...”

DCVC in an email to investors

Newsday LLC/Newsday/Getty Images

Silicon Valley investment firm Data Collective Venture Capital (DCVC) is in hot water after a private email to its investors leaked this week. One of the firm’s companies, Curative, has developed home testing kits for COVID-19. DCVC announced the news in a blog post last week, and then sent an email to investors offering them expedited, mail-order testing kits. The email doesn’t mention the company by name, but the blog post states Curative is working with another DCVC company, Carbon Health, to administer and analyze the tests. With synergetic vertical integration like that, it's no wonder investors are getting a treat.

“We’re sorry if folks got the wrong idea.” — Despite literally allowing untold numbers of Silicon Valley insiders to request COVID-19 tests, DCVC claims it’s not letting anyone “jump the line.” The statement accompanying the previously private email also includes gems like, “Was our language a little boastful? Yes, no excuses.” Carbon Health will allegedly be able to expedite more than 10,000 tests a day within the next 10 days. But, if the email is to be believed, those who received the now infamous email will know much sooner than that.

“Through a unique relationship with one of our portfolio companies, we will expedite delivery of a test kit...that should provide results within 1-3 days via return by mail,” the email reads. As if we needed further reminders that getting tested for COVID-19 is easier when you're rich. Just like living through it is easier when you can hunker down in your bespoke bunker, far away from the maddening crowds having to worry about paying their rent or caring for their dependents during the current health crisis that's sweeping the U.S.

Pressured to go public — Pressure from various news outlets forced DCVC to publish the email in full, and now it's hard at working trying its best not to come off like a Bond villain. The firm mentions Carbon Health’s work with California’s drive-up testing locations (great for the millions of Californians who don’t drive) and pushes people toward what is little more than a WebMD quiz for coronavirus symptoms that demands a ton of data from users before they can even access it.

The easier alternative to waiting on the U.S. government to get enough tests out into the world? Make sure you had enough money a few weeks ago to invest in a venture capital firm and you can get a test from the comfort of your own home. Duh.