It has been several weeks since I last did a Google news search on Outcome Health, and much continues to change with the once high-flying Chicago digital OOH media company.
In October, news broke that the company – which puts screens and other tech in condition-specific medical clinics – is being sued for fraud by some of its high profile backers, including Google and Goldman Sachs, and the U.S. Justice Department is involved. The Chicago Tribune reported the Justice Department was subpoenaing investors in the wake of a lawsuit accusing the startup of committing fraud to secure nearly $500 million in funding.
Outcome denied the allegations, but committed to an internal review and a strengthening of operating policies. The company has also stated integrity is fundamental to how it operates.
Since the first news, the company has done 90-day severance buyouts with a third of its of its staff, big plans for a hiring binge and to move into flashy new office tower digs (that included naming rights to the building) were nixed, the state of Illinois suspended a tax credit agreement (and then a second one), and now there’s word that Founder-CEO Rishi Shah has moved out of the $10 million mansion he was leasing for a mind-wobbling $50,000 a month. The American Medical Association has also severed ties (it was getting free PSA air time).
Here’s the back story on the company, which many in the digital signage-digital OOH will remember was long known as Context Media. Accent Health, the first really big medical waiting room network, was acquired by Context and then the blended entity rebranded as Outcome.
I know Rishi a bit. Nice, obviously very bright young guy. But these don’t appear to be the best of days for him or his company, which was red-hot just six months ago.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.