Welcome to this weekly roundup of stories from Insider’s Business co-Editor in Chief Matt Turner. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every Sunday.
What we’re going over today:
What’s trending this morning:
By the time he died in 2015, Fred DeLuca had created a secretive, complex multibillion-dollar enterprise, and ensured no one knew Subway the way he did. We spoke with 20 of DeLuca’s employees, business partners, and friends to understand why a man obsessed with his company failed to protect it:
Despite an estimated net worth of $3 billion, DeLuca eschewed designer suits, flew coach, and berated his daughter-in-law if she dared to pay up for organic produce at Whole Foods.
Frugality didn’t always translate into modesty, though. As DeLuca grew Subway from a tiny submarine chain into a behemoth with 27,000 locations and $17 billion in global sales in its heyday, he refused to relinquish much control.
He ran Subway like a titan, maintaining a tight grip on the company operations and surrounding himself with employees who loved and feared him. DeLuca devised a system that gave him the final say and even philandered with some franchisees’ wives, two sources said.
And he got away with it.
Read our full profile on the man who built — and ultimately hobbled — the Subway empire:
We asked top venture capitalists to name the most promising US startups so far in 2021. The result is an exciting list of rising startups at every stage from a range of industries:
Anis Uzzaman of Pegasus Tech Ventures and Hans Tung of GGV Capital both highlighted a sleep and meditation app Calm.
The pandemic shone a spotlight on wellness and mental health. Calm was already one of the biggest names in wellness tech, and it’s poised to expand as the world emerges from pandemic lockdowns, Uzzaman said. Before the start of the year, it scored a $2 billion valuation in its Series C round.
“Mental health is often overlooked yet is among the most important aspects of healthcare,” Tung said.
Get the full list here:
Biogen’s new Alzheimer’s drug stumbled through testing, but will nonetheless become available in the US with a price tag of $56,000. Experts say the drug’s approval could make it more difficult to enroll people in tests of better treatments, and are worried about its effectiveness:
The arrival of the first new Alzheimer’s drug in two decades should have been a moment of celebration. But so far, the healthcare industry is feeling concerned.
On Monday, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a new medication called Aduhelm. The drug, made by the biotech company Biogen, is designed to remove a sticky plaque that builds up in the brains of some people with Alzheimer’s, which it did in clinical trials. But it isn’t clear that using the drug to clear this plaque leads to an improvement in memory and cognition.
“I don’t believe that the drug provides benefits,” Dr. David Knopman, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic, told Insider.
See why the new medicine has the health community worried:
Pegasus California School seemed impressive. The class sizes were significantly smaller than other Val Verde schools, and it offered dedicated evening study sessions overseen by faculty. The school guaranteed parents, in writing, that every graduate would gain admission to one of the top 100 US universities. But there was a hitch:
Even though it was a part of an American public-school district, tuition and fees at Pegasus added up to more than $34,000 a year. And even though it was largely staffed by Val Verde teachers and administrators, it was actually a boarding school. And even though it conferred a Val Verde diploma to graduates, Pegasus California School was really a private academy exclusively serving Chinese students in Qingdao, China.
How it got there, and how it leveraged the resources and personnel of a middling public-school district for the benefit of private investors and wealthy families halfway across the globe, is the story of one businessman’s quest to monetize American public education with the help of California’s most powerful education official.
Read our full exclusive report on Pegasus California School here:
You’re invited: Join us and learn how to navigate the complicated process of buying a home in today’s hot market on Tuesday, June 22 at 12 p.m. ET — during a free, hour-long virtual event presented by Fidelity. Register here.
Finally, here are some headlines you might have missed last week.