DNA expert CeCe Moore has written about a trademark infringement law suit involving DNA testing that has been filed in the Ohio Southern District Court in Cincinnati. The article may be found in CeCe’s Your Genetic Genealogist blog at http://goo.gl/0MzelE.
Ancestry.com Files a Trademark Case Against DNA Diagnostics Center for the Marketing of “AncestryByDNA”
Nearly a year ago, I wrote (at http://goo.gl/EoPef6), “… late in the year Microsoft removed all storage limits from OneDrive and OneDrive for Business accounts for anyone with an Office 365 subscription. That’s right, unlimited online storage space.” That statement was accurate when written but Microsoft has now dropped the free offer. The company now says it has no intention of keeping those promises.
If you have been keeping a lot of files in Microsoft OneDrive, you will want to read the article by Ed Bott at http://goo.gl/cjOsbL.
The following is an excerpt from Ancestry.com’s third quarter 2015 financial results released today:
— Third Quarter Revenues $171.5 Million, Up 10.9% Year-Over-Year; Up 13.1% on Constant Currency Basis —
— Third Quarter Adjusted EBITDA $67.4 Million, Up 21.5% Year-Over-Year(1) —
PROVO, Utah, Oct. 21, 2015 — Ancestry.com LLC (the “Company”), the largest provider of family history and personal DNA testing, reported financial results today for the third quarter ended September 30, 2015.
“Our third quarter results benefited from strong business fundamentals and good execution, highlighted by double-digit year-over-year growth in revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow,” said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of Ancestry.com. “Our subscriber base remains healthy, engagement trends are solid following our staged roll-out of the New Ancestry website and customer experience, and AncestryDNA is now the world’s largest consumer genomics database with sales in the quarter doubling relative to last year. We are poised to deliver outstanding performance in 2015, and the strategic investments we’ve made in the business position Ancestry for attractive new opportunities in 2016 and beyond.”
Third Quarter 2015 Financial Highlights
23andMe is a privately held personal genomics and biotechnology company that serves provides genealogy DNA testing. Only nine years old, the company is now believed to be worth about $1.1 billion US, according to a person close to the company.
Perhaps even more interesting, 23andMe is preparing to introduce a new consumer product and to expand its drug-discovery arm.
You can read more in an article by Caroline Chen in Bloomberg’s web site at http://goo.gl/HtOQgr.
Ancestry.com is talking to the FDA about using DNA to estimate disease risk for the company’s member base. CEO Tim Sullivan revealed the news in an interview with The Verge, effectively announcing his company’s intention to eventually offer straight-to-consumer genetic testing.
Ancestry is currently in the “very early stages of a conversation with the FDA,” Sullivan told The Verge. “We think it’s totally appropriate that the FDA has stepped in to pretty aggressively regulate direct-to-consumer genetic tests—and we’re just starting from that perspective, and trying to work very closely with them,” he continued.
There is good news and sad news. It is good news for McKelden Smith: he is retiring and is planning to enjoy the newly-found time available. It is sad news for members of the NYG&B as he will leave behind big shoes to be filled. However, this might also be good news for “a high-energy, entrepreneurial leader with strategic business-building skills who also has a deep interest in family history.” If that is you, or if it is someone you know, you will be interested in this announcement from the NYG&B:
The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) has announced that McKelden Smith, president of the Society since 2009, will retire in December of this year.
Jeanne Sloane, chairman of the board of trustees, has appointed a search committee and named Stephen Madsen, a member of the board, as its chairman.
On September 24, the full board ratified the selection of PBR Executive Search in New York City to manage the search for a new president. A detailed position description is at http://www.pbrsearch.com/NYGBS-President.pdf.
A major joint announcement from Findmypast and from the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society (NYG&B) was made earlier today at the New York State Family History Conference in Syracuse, NY. It will be of interest to many genealogists but especially to members of the NYG&B as well as to the customers of Findmypast. Both parties are gaining access to many additional records at no additional cost:
Findmypast is now the home of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society’s eLibrary, offering millions of records from New York and across the United States.
Fascinating NYG&B record sets now available to search at Findmypast
Findmypast and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) have today, 18 September 2015, made thousands of documents and records from the society’s eLibrary available to search online at Findmypast.
In business news, Ancestry.com has announced refinancing of credit facility. Permira, the European private equity firm, appears to have gotten back nearly all of its investment in Ancestry.com LLC after nearly three years.
Ancestry.com said on August 10 that it is in the market with $835 million in loans that it plans to use to repay debt and fund a cash dividend to its shareholders (along with paying fees and expenses).
If you follow the finances of Ancestry.com LLC, the parent company of Ancestry.com Inc., you will be interested in the company’s announcement today of a major refinancing. The announcement says (in part):
“Ancestry.com LLC today announced that its subsidiary, Ancestry.com Inc. (the “Company”), intends to refinance its credit facility. The Company expects that the new credit facility will consist of a $735 million first lien term loan that matures in 2022 and a $100 million revolving credit facility that matures in 2020. The Company anticipates that the proceeds of the new credit facility, together with cash on the balance sheet, will be used to repay the existing credit facility in full, pay a cash dividend to shareholders, pay fees and expenses related to the refinancing, and for general corporate purposes. Closing is expected to occur in August 2015, subject to market and other customary conditions.”
The full announcement is available at http://goo.gl/1CEHuY.
Yesterday I published an announcement from AncestryDNA and Calico that provides details about a new collaboration between the two organizations. In fact, the goals of the collaboration sound great: “to investigate human heredity of lifespan.” However, pessimists always see a negative side to anything and this announcement is no exception. This is a variation of the “glass is half full” versus “the glass is half empty” comparison.
Writing in Wired, Katie M. Palmer wrote an article entitled Another Personal Genetics Company Is Sharing Client Data. She states, “… companies like AncestryDNA have convinced customers to pay to give their genetic data away, at a cost of about $100 per sample. This is the same sort of bargain you make when you begrudgingly hand your personal information over to Google or Facebook: You sacrifice some amount of data about yourself in return for added convenience.”
The following an an excerpt from a long announcement written by Ancestry.com The full announcement may be found at: http://goo.gl/o3tlst.
– Second Quarter Adjusted EBITDA $67.3 million, Up 16.1%Year-Over-Year1 –
PROVO, Utah, July 22, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ancestry.com LLC (the “Company”), the world’s largest online family history resource, reported financial results today for the second quarter ended June 30, 2015.
The following announcement was written by AncestryDNA:
Collaboration Will Analyze Family History and Genetics to Facilitate Development of Cutting-Edge Therapeutics
PROVO, Utah and SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., July 21, 2015 — AncestryDNA, an industry leader in consumer genetics, and Calico, a company focused on longevity research and therapeutics, today announced an effort to investigate human heredity of lifespan. Together, they will evaluate anonymized data from millions of public family trees and a growing database of over one million genetic samples. Financial terms have not been disclosed.
AncestryDNA and Calico will work together to analyze and investigate the role of genetics and its influences in families experiencing unusual longevity using Ancestry’s proprietary databases, tools and algorithms. Calico will then focus its efforts to develop and commercialize any potential therapeutics that emerge from the analysis.
This appears to be a major expansion of Ancestry.com’s many services. Notice that it is a free service. The following announcement was written by the folks at Ancestry.com:
Dr. Cathy Petti Joins as Chief Health Officer to Spearhead Company’s Global Health Initiatives
AncestryDNA Database Surpasses One Million People Genotyped
(PROVO, Utah) – July 16, 2015 – Ancestry (www.ancestry.com), the leader in family history and consumer genetics, today announced the launch of AncestryHealth (www.ancestryhealth.com), a new entity and resource to empower consumers with important health insights to help promote wellness, prevent illness and support healthier living. The company also announced appointment of Cathy A. Petti, MD, as AncestryHealth’s Chief Health Officer. At the same time, AncestryDNA (www.ancestrydna.com) announced the accomplishment of surpassing one million people tested in its database.
AncestryHealth’s first offering is a free service, currently in beta, that gives consumers the ability to compile their family health history information with the help of their Ancestry family tree.
Neal Ungerleider has written an article that has been published on the Fast Company web site that compares two of genealogy’s major providers: Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com. The article also makes some comparions to the non-profit FamilySearch organization sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I think this is a huge advancement in online searches for genealogy information. I saw the brand-new Global Name Translation demonstrated earlier today at the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) annual conference in Jerusalem and I am very impressed.
Global Name Translation is the easy way to search through MyHeritage’s massive multilingual and international database of 6 billion family tree profiles and historical records. As stated in the announcement below, the Global Name Translation “…automatically translates names found in historical records and family trees from one language into another, in very high accuracy, generating all the plausible translations, to facilitate matches between names in different languages. In addition, a manual search in one language will also provide results in other languages, translated back to the user’s language for convenience.”
A search for “Jacob Schmidt” will find all the results shown above and more.
Yes, that’s right. If your ancestors came from a country that keeps its records in a language other than your preferred language, you can enter the search in your own language and MyHeritage will find matches for the same or very similar names in other languages as well. For instance, a search for Alexander or for Alessandro (Alexander in Italian) will also find “Саша” which is the Russian form of Sasha, a popular nickname of Alexander in Russia.
The first version successfully translates names to and from English, German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Greek, Hebrew, Polish, Czech, Russian and Ukrainian. The next version currently in development will add Chinese and Japanese, and additional languages will follow.
I am not aware of any other genealogy service that has anything like this.
FamilySearch International Appoints Steve Rockwood as President and CEO to Replace Dennis Brimhall Who Will Retire
The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:
The FamilySearch International board of directors has elected Stephen T. Rockwood as the company’s president and chief executive officer, succeeding Dennis Brimhall, who will retire. Rockwood, who most recently served as director of the international division at FamilySearch, becomes president and CEO on October 1.
“Steve is an extremely capable, experienced, and respected leader with an immense passion for our mission and our people,” said Elder Allan F. Packer, Chairman of the Board. “As president and CEO, Steve will bring a rich combination of management skills, customer focus, business acumen, and a can-do spirit that will build on the vision and work of Dennis Brimhall.”
The following announcement was written by the Society of Genealogists:
Friday 26th June, 2015:
The Society of Genealogists, in conjunction with Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd has been running its popular Intermediate distance learning programme since September 2010. The Advanced Certificate builds on this. It brings a two-year programme of assessed education online starting on 1 October 2015, consisting of taught modules and special stand-alone tutorial sessions. Pharos and the Society are working with the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) to enable students to reach the standards necessary for membership application should they wish to work as professional genealogists in the future.
Taught modules are:
The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:
- Findmypast, a global leader in family history, announces the availability of a library edition within the United States
- Provides access for libraries, archives, and other organizations to billions of records from England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States
- Free, no obligation, 90-day trial available
Salt Lake City – June 25, 2015 – Findmypast, a global leader in family history, announced today the official release of their product for libraries and organizations in the United States. The Findmypast Library Edition gives library access to billions of records from Findmypast’s wide array of collections from the United States, Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, and other areas of the world. Collection highlights include:
This business offering actually started a few weeks ago but Ancestry.ca released the official announcement today:
- AncestryDNA studies a person’s entire genome at more than 700,000 different locations
- Results detail a person’s ethnic origins across 26 regions worldwide
- Service can help users discover and connect with new relatives, linking DNA results to a network of more than 16 billion historical records
TORONTO, June 9, 2015 – Ancestry, the world’s largest family history resource, today launched AncestryDNA in Canada. AncestryDNA allows individuals to learn about their genetic heritage and discover new family connections in Canada and around the world.
When coupled with Ancestry’s database of more than 16 billion historical records, AncestryDNA will enable family history enthusiasts and novices alike to discover even more about their own past, including the ability to find entire new cousin matches around the world.
This story strikes me as non-news: Reuters News Agency is reporting that Ancestry.com LLC, the world’s largest family historical past website, is exploring a sale that would be worth between $2.5 billion and $3 billion, together with debt, based on information from individuals acquainted with the matter. Permira Advisers LLC, the buyout agency that owns most of privately held Ancestry, has employed funding banks to run a public sale for the corporate, according to unnamed sources.
You can read the story at http://goo.gl/TTazpi and at a few other web sites as well.
I am repeating the rumors here because there is a lot of buzz about this story. However, I am surprised that anyone would be surprised that Permira Advisers LLC is thinking of selling. Of course Ancestry.com is for sale!