Esther Dyson (@edyson on twitter) is executive founder of Wellville (@WaytoWellville), a ten-year, five-community project dedicated to showing the value of investing in health (as opposed spending on care). Wellville advises the five US-based Wellville communities on accelerating their own health initiatives, in Clatsop County, OR; Lake County, CA; Muskegon County, MI; North Hartford, CT; and Spartanburg, SC. Dyson is the W2W lead for Muskegon, and is actively involved in policy and fundraising for the project. Wellville’s overall mission is to encourage society to think longer-term and more broadly – from self to community – by illustrating the social and financial benefits of collective investment in human capital.
Wellville favors implementation over innovation: applying approaches known to work, at scale in small communities where scale is relatively easy to achieve in terms of both resources and political buy-in. Each community sets its own priorities and goals around issues such as early childhood experiences, obesity/diabetes, mental health, dental health, smoking, addiction and overall human capacity and health disparities; W2W assists in finding partners and funders, and in managing accountability. Over its 10-year life (through 2024), Wellville will measure its progress both year by year and at the end, using both specific program-based metrics and overall goals . Its mission is not just to help five small (<200,000 people) communities get healthy, but to scale by inspiring other communities and funders to copy its example and to think long-term, for the benefit of all. Its motto is “Don’t rent your health. Invest in it!”
Aside from that full-time role, Dyson spends her extra time investing in and nurturing start-ups, with a recent focus on health care (somewhat constrained to avoid conflicts with Wellville). On the health side, she is an investor in 23andMe, 4D Healthware, Basil Health, Big Health, Boundless.ai, Care.Coach, CareMESH, Clover Health, Devoted Health, Doppel, Eligible, Enso Relief, Epistemic.ai, Ezra.com, Hawthorne Effect, HealthCelerate, HealthTap, i2Dx, MealShare, Medesk, MedicaSafe, mEquilibrium, Nanowear, NeuroGeneCES, Nuna, Omada Health, PatientsKnowBest, Prognos.ai, Proofpilot, Resilient, Sapiens DS, Solera (also an advisor), StartupHealth, Supportiv, Syllable.ai, Tega Pharmaceutical, Tocagen, Trusty.care, Turbine.ai, Valkee, Virgo, X-VAX and Zipongo.