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MetaMed Research Inc.
IndustryManaged health care
Founded2012 (2012)
Defunct2015 (2015)
HeadquartersNew York, New York, United States
Area served
Key people
Jaan Tallinn – Founder
ProductsPersonalized medical research

MetaMed Research was a medical consulting firm aiming to provide high-end personalized medical research services. It was founded in 2012 by Michael Vassar (previously of the Singularity Institute[1]),[2] Jaan Tallinn (co-founder of Skype and Kazaa),[3][4] Zvi Mowshowitz,[3] and Nevin Freeman[5] with startup funding from Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel.[4] Metamed stated that its researchers were drawn from top universities, as well as prominent technology companies such as Google.[6]


Vassar founded MetaMed to apply the principles of rationality as taught by Eliezer Yudkowsky to medicine, having left Yudkowsky's Singularity Institute to do so. MetaMed was intended to provide an alternative to typical healthcare by providing higher quality research.[6] Vassar explained,[7]

Vassar had left to found MetaMed, a personalized-medicine company, with Jaan Tallinn of Skype and Kazaa, $500,000 from Peter Thiel, and a staff that included young rationalists who had cut their teeth arguing on Yudkowsky’s website. The idea behind MetaMed was to apply rationality to medicine — "rationality" here defined as the ability to properly research, weight, and synthesize the flawed medical information that exists in the world. Prices ranged from $25,000 for a literature review to a few hundred thousand for a personalized study. "We can save lots and lots and lots of lives," Vassar said (if mostly moneyed ones at first). "But it’s the signal — it's the 'Hey! Reason works!' — that matters. It's not really about medicine." Our whole society was sick — root, branch, and memeplex — and rationality was the only cure.


Company researchers gathered detailed medical information on each client, using this as the basis for the creation of personalized research reports for various conditions (or, in some cases, for the purpose of client performance enhancement).[8] It also assessed the expected value of various tests, and created maps of correlations between possible medical conditions. One aim of the company was to aid doctors with advanced artificial intelligence and data from information experts.[9]

MetaMed's personalized medical research services were targeted at the market for concierge medicine, with prices ranging from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands.[6][10][11]


By 2015, MetaMed was defunct, which Tallinn attributed to the difficulty of producing research results and limited interest from consumers.[12]


  1. ^ "Machine Intelligence Research Institute Progress Report, January 2012". 5 February 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Peter Thiel-backed MetaMed brings personalized health care — but only to the 1 percent". VentureBeat. 1 March 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Our Scientists, Doctors, & Researchers | MetaMed". Archived from the original on May 5, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Peter Thiel-backed MetaMed thinks you should have your own on-demand medical research team". The Next Web. 1 March 2013.
  5. ^ "MetaMed, 2011". 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-01-31. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Vance, Ashlee (13 June 2013). "MetaMed Enhances Medical Diagnoses With Data Analysts, Researchers". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  7. ^ Frank, Sam (January 2015). "Come With Us If You Want To Live: Among the apocalyptic libertarians of Silicon Valley". Harper's.
  8. ^ "Why Personalized Healthcare Matters". Archived from the original on May 3, 2013.
  9. ^ Mitchell, Luke (16 June 2013). "The $250,000 Physical". New York Magazine. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  10. ^ Young, Robin (24 July 2013). "A New Kind Of Second Opinion — At A Price". NPR Here and Now. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  11. ^ Pogorelc, Deanna (3 July 2013). "If a doctor's opinion isn't enough, MetaMed will sell you a team of personal medical researchers". Med City News. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  12. ^ Clarke, Liat (24 April 2015). "The solution to saving healthcare systems? New feedback loops". Retrieved 24 May 2015. Tallinn learned the importance of feedback loops himself the hard way, after seeing the demise of one of his startups, medical consulting firm Metamed.