Oration, a well-funded startup that claims to help consumers and employers save money on prescription drugs, has shut down its application and isn't taking on any new members.
The Foster City, Calif.-based company has been funded by some of the biggest venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, including DFJ, Data Collective, Google Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. Its advisors include former Senator Bob Kerrey, who is quoted on the website as saying the "inefficient" health care system "needs Oration." The company's CEO Pramod John is a seasoned health executive who formerly worked at McKesson. Its mission, which involves helping people access discounts on their medications, is shared by fellow startups GoodRx and Truveris.
After getting a tip from a source, I attempted to reach a representative at Oration's customer service line, but was redirected to voicemail: "Our application is currently down and we are no longer registering any new members." Eventually, I spoke to a support representative who informed me that they had only been told that the application is "under maintenance." Several Oration investors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
"The company has quality investors and customers who believe in it," Scott Barclay, Oration's executive chairman, told me. Barclay describes this period as a "product pause," which is expected to continue for about six months until it can scale. The company will resume serving its existing customers once it has met its goals.
"When you've uncovered such significant demand and you have your special assets, it's worth pausing to reload and get the product right," he added.
A well-placed source, who requested anonymity, says the company faced challenges integrating with health insurance companies. "This space is just so complex and can take up to a decade to master," they said, claiming that the website was entirely down early last week, but resumed within hours.
The company emerged from stealth mode in December 2015, and announced some $11.2 million in financing. It also revealed three clients, including human-resources software giant Workday. Oration targets self-insured companies with more than 10,000 employees.