Business News

AncestryHealth Announces Genotype and Next Generation Genetic Sequencing Services

The following announcement was written by Ancestry:

LEHI, Utah & SAN FRANCISCO – (Oct. 15, 2019) – For more than 30 years, Ancestry®, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, has built innovative services that empower millions of people to make more meaningful discoveries about themselves and their families. First with family history, then through DNA and today, with the introduction of AncestryHealth®. AncestryHealth is a long-term commitment to making a difference in preventive health through personalized and actionable insights.

Through a highly supportive and guided experience, AncestryHealth services deliver actionable insights that can empower people to take proactive steps — in collaboration with their healthcare provider — to address potential health risks identified in their genes and family health history. In a recent AncestryDNA® customer survey, 83 percent of respondents said they are looking for new ways to improve their health and 89 percent said it is critical for their children to learn about improving their health.

23andMe’s New VIP Service Includes a One-On-One Chat to Explain your DNA

23andMe just added a third purchasing option for those who want a little bit more.

The new VIP Health + Ancestry Service delivers more options for customers, including concierge-like services. The VIP service bundles together one 23andMe Health + Ancestry Service kit, with a companion kit, overnight shipping, and priority lab processing.

Dr. Barbara Rae-Venter and Gene By Gene Join Forces to Shape the Future of Investigative Genetic Genealogy

The following announcement was written by Gene By Gene, the parent company of FamilyTreeDNA:

Barbara Rae-Venter, PhD

HOUSTON, Sept. 27, 2019 — Genetic genealogist Dr. Barbara Rae-Venter, recognized for her groundbreaking work in the Golden State Killer case, named one of Time’s 100 most influential people of 2019, and Nature’s 10 people who mattered in science in 2018, has been named Director of Gene By Gene’s newly formed Investigative Genetic Genealogy Unit.

Gene By Gene, known in the direct-to-consumer business as FamilyTreeDNA, was the first company to market direct-to-consumer DNA testing, and first to provide familial matching through a person’s DNA signature. “Dr. Barbara Rae-Venter pioneered law enforcement’s most revolutionary crime-solving tool since the fingerprint,” says president and founder, Bennett Greenspan. “We are excited to have a genealogist of Dr. Rae-Venter’s caliber working with us to set industry-leading standards for investigative genetic genealogy.”

Mike Linton Joins Ancestry.com as its Chief Revenue Officer

Mike Linton, new CRO at Ancestry.com – PHOTO COURTESY OF ANCESTRY.COM

Ancestry.com as its chief revenue officer. In the announcement, Linton’s mandate is described as “… to grow the company and he will be responsible for marketing and product.”

The announcement also gives a clue to Ancestry.com’s business plans: “…as the company expands from its genealogy roots into its genetic DNA offerings.”

You can read the full announcement at: https://tinyurl.com/eogn190926.

Genealogist-on-Demand: Virtual Consultation Service announced by Legacy Tree Genealogists

Legacy Tree Genealogists is a well known and highly respected genealogy research company. Now the company has announced expansion into a slightly different service for genealogists. The following announcement was written by Legacy Tree Genealogists:

[SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, September 19, 2019] – Legacy Tree Genealogists, the world’s leading genealogy research firm, announced today the launch of a new service—45-minute, virtual one-on-one consultations with a professional genealogist. At only 100 USD, these consultations provide users with a cost-effective resource to have their research questions answered in real-time by a professional genealogist, from the comfort of their own home.

Users have the option to schedule either a DNA Consultation with a genetic genealogist who can explain their DNA test results, or a Genealogy Consultation with access to one of their worldwide researchers with expertise in regions around the globe, including England, Ireland, Scotland, and Australia.

New MyHeritage Education Center Announced in MyHeritage LIVE 2019

The following announced was written by MyHeritage:

We have great news! During MyHeritage LIVE, our annual MyHeritage user conference, we just announced MyHeritage Education: a new online resource center for enhancing your understanding of the MyHeritage platform and to help you make the most of your family history research.

Available in English, German, Dutch, French, Swedish, and Norwegian, the new Education Center includes loads of learning materials that will help you learn about every facet of MyHeritage. Articles, how-to videos, and webinars cover a wide variety of topics, including plenty of tips for everyone from beginner family history enthusiasts to seasoned genealogists.

We will be adding new languages in the future, and we will be constantly be adding new content in each language.

MyHeritage Acquires Promethease and SNPedia

The following press release was issued by MyHeritage today at the MyHeritage LIVE 2019 event in Amsterdam, the Netherlands:

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah –Sep 7, 2019–

MyHeritage, the leading global discovery platform for exploring family history, uncovering ethnic origins, finding new relatives, and gaining health insights, announced today the acquisition of SNPedia and Promethease, through acquiring the company that owned and operated them, River Road Bio. This marks the 10th acquisition by MyHeritage and reinforces the company’s position as a global leader in consumer genomics.

SNPedia.com was launched in 2006 and is a wiki that contains a broad, community-curated knowledge base linking between genetic variants and medical conditions, as well as traits, citing over 30,000 peer-reviewed scientific publications. SNPedia is the primary encyclopedia and de facto go-to resource for information about genetic markers, and has evolved to cover 110,413 genetic variants. SNPedia operates under a Creative Commons license, wherein it is a free resource for academic and non-commercial use, with only MyHeritage having the right to utilize it commercially. MyHeritage plans to maintain SNPedia as a free resource under the same terms, and will utilize this comprehensive knowledge base to enhance future versions of MyHeritage’s DNA health products.

Ancestry CEO Margo Georgiadis Reveals the Company’s Health Ambitions

According to an article by Zachary Hendrickson in the BusinessInsider web site:

“Genetic testing magnate Ancestry CEO Margo Georgiadis said that the startup plans to branch out from genealogy testing and expand into individualized medicine, Business Insider Prime reports.

Margo Georgiadis

Ancestry.com Owners Aim to Extract $900 Million Payout With Loan

From an article by Davide Scigliuzzo in the Bloomberg.com web site

“The owners of Ancestry.com Inc., the DNA analysis and family tree company, are turning to a well-tested private equity play for taking cash out of a company: topping up on debt.

“An investor group led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and private equity firm Silver Lake Management LLC is looking to pull out more than $900 million from the company through a special dividend mostly funded by new borrowings. They are also seeking approval for another one-time distribution before year-end.”

The same article also states:

Yankee Publishing Acquires Family Tree Magazine

Great news! A major genealogy magazine was on the verge of folding. (See my earlier article at http://bit.ly/2Z6yoN8 for the details.) However, the US Family Tree Magazine has now been purchased by a major magazine publisher with a long history of publishing. Family Tree magazine now seems to have a bright future. Here is the announcement:

Dublin, NH (July 19, 2019) — Yankee Publishing Inc. (YPI), publisher of Yankee, The Old Farmer’s Almanac, and New Hampshire magazine, announced its acquisition of Family Tree magazine from F+W Media.

“We’re pleased to welcome Family Tree to YPI’s family of products,” said President and CEO Jamie Trowbridge. “Family Tree fits well with our suite of brands, both in terms of content and business strategy. We’re excited to take this step to continue YPI’s growth as an independent media company.”

Family Tree – with its print magazine, website, online classes and conferences, and web store – serves a passionate audience of genealogy enthusiasts. Interest in genealogy is surging in America, with over 20 million Americans having had their DNA tested by the four leading commercial ancestry and health databases, according to industry estimates.

The In-Depth Genealogist is Going Out of Business

The following is a message I received from Jennifer Alford, publisher of The In-Depth Genealogist:

It is with a heavy heart that we write to let you know that The In-Depth Genealogist will be closing our “doors”. This issue of the magazine is the last. 6.5 years ago we never thought that IDG and Going In-Depth would grow beyond our band of genealogy friends that wanted to start something grand. Yes, we started small and continued to dream big. Probably too big for what we were able to accomplish. These years have brought us so many good times. We enjoyed getting out to the conferences and meeting all of our readers. We loved having the fan base that we did. We appreciated each of you that stopped and talked to us to let us know you enjoyed our publications and that you continued to learn from each one.

MyHeritage Announces an Update to the Theory of Family Relativity™

MyHeritage just refreshed all the data for the Theory of Family Relativity™, a method by which the company identifies probable relatives of yours, often people you may never heard of previously. The announcement states:

“With this exciting update, you’ll get new and updated theories that explain how you and your DNA Matches may be related. This much-anticipated update may provide you with answers about relationships that have baffled you, as well as offer new insights about your ancestors and family relationships.

KinCrawler.com Has Been Shut Down

KinCrawler was a web crawler/search engine that worked in a similar method as Google but with one major difference: KinCrawler was constantly crawling the web looking for any pages that pertain solely to genealogy. (I described KinCrawler’s operation earlier this year at: https://blog.eogn.com/2019/02/21/new-genealogy-search-engine-at-kincrawler-com/. Sadly, the web site has now been taken offline.

Anthony Marshall, the owner and creator of KinCrawler.com wrote:

How 23andMe Will Mine its Giant DNA Database for Health and Wealth

Since the launch of DNA testing service 23andMe, around 10 million people have spit a half-teaspoon of saliva into a 23andMe plastic tube and mailed it in to get their ancestry or health-risk results. Nearly 5 million customers did so last year alone, generating an estimated $475 million in revenue for the company, which has yet to turn a profit. It’s also made CEO Anne Wojcicki (No. 33 on this year’s list of Richest Self-Made Women) worth an estimated $690 million, almost entirely from her roughly 30% stake in 23andMe, which is valued at $2.5 billion by investors.

While it might make interesting cocktail conversation to reveal that you are 5% Scandinavian and have a genetic disposition to sneeze in the sun, 23andMe’s ambitions are much grander.

National Geographic Society’s Genographic DNA Project to Shut Down

The National Geographic Society’s Genographic Project is shutting down. The project’s web site at https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/ states:

Genographic Project Update

The Genographic Project was launched in 2005 as a research project in collaboration with scientists and universities around the world with a goal of revealing patterns of human migration. Since then, nearly 1 million people have participated in The Genographic Project through National Geographic’s “Geno” DNA Ancestry kits. The public participation phase of this research project is ending and, as a result, effective May 31, 2019, Geno 2.0 DNA Ancestry kits are no longer available for purchase. If you have already purchased a kit, you may still send it in for processing in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of sale.

National Library of Ireland Genealogy Service 2019

The following announcement was written by Ancestor Network Ltd:

Dublin, Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Ancestor Network Ltd has been awarded the contract to support and assist the genealogy advisory service at the National Library of Ireland in 2019, following a public tender competition.

This is the 8th consecutive year that the National Library of Ireland has selected Ancestor Network to provide this unique genealogy advisory service. It is also the tenth anniversary of the founding of Ancestor Network Ltd in May 2009.

Prediction: The Dead Will Take Over Facebook in the Next 50 Years

An interesting article by Charlie Osborne in the ZDNet web site says that “Analysis suggests that the deceased will soon outnumber the living on the network.”

“An analysis of Facebook user levels in 2018 was conducted, in which the research team estimate at least 1.4 billion current users will die before 2100. Based on this estimate, memorial accounts could outstrip active ones by 2070.

Ancestry’s IPO Talk Shows How Consumer DNA Testing Has Matured

Anastasia Ustinova is a freelance business writer based in Seattle who often writes about business news. She has now written about Ancestry.com’s rumored future IPO, focusing on the popularity of home DNA kits that enable consumers to uncover secrets of their ancestry and health risks.

Ustinova sees good financial news in Ancestry.com‘s future. She writes, “Direct-to-consumer DNA testing sales are projected to reach $310 million by 2022 from $99 million in 2017, according to market researcher Kalorama Information.”

She also has a short quote from me in her article.

You can read Anastasia Ustinova’s article in the Karma Network web site at: http://bit.ly/2Duxm4L.

Ancestry Reportedly is Preparing for a Second IPO as DNA-Test Industry Booms

Ancestry.com LLC is readying an initial public offering (IPO), according to people familiar with the matter, preparing to take advantage of growing consumer interest in DNA tests and investors’ appetite for new health and technology stocks.

It would not be Ancestry’s first time in the stock market. The company, which also hosts online repositories of family trees and historical documents, first went public in 2009, trading under the ticker ACOM after raising $100 million.

It was taken private again in 2012 in a $1.6 billion buyout led by private equity firm Permira Advisers.

Press Release: Bode Forensic Genealogy Service (FGS)

The following announcement was written by the Bode Forensic Genealogy Service:

Bode Technology’s Forensic Genealogy Service, an offering to law enforcement investigators and crime laboratories, combines advanced DNA testing and genealogy to develop ancestral relationships between samples and deliver leads.

The FGS program is a logical expansion of its service offerings to support the law enforcement community. By incorporating Bode’s accredited forensic laboratory, accredited clinical testing laboratories, and board certified and experienced genealogists, Bode has developed a high-quality, turn-key solution for our clients from sample submission through confirmation testing.