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AOL co-founder tries new business
Report: Steve Case's new endeavor focuses on wellness and health care; admits to flaws as manager.
April 1, 2005: 8:50 AM EST
AOL co-founder Steve Case is starting a new health care and wellness business, according to a publsihed report.
AOL co-founder Steve Case is starting a new health care and wellness business, according to a publsihed report.

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Former America Online chairman Steve Case is starting a new business focusing on health care, wellness and high-end spas, according to a published report in which he also admits to some failures as a manager.

In articles in the print and online editions of Business Week, Case announced his new company, Revolution, in which he plans to invest $500 million of his estimated $825 million net worth.

He became interested in the health care and wellness fields after the death of his brother, Daniel Case III, from brain cancer. He told the magazine that his brother's experience showed him how difficult it is for even the privileged to make well-informed decisions about care.

"Health care is monumentally complex, confusing, inefficient and inconvenient," he said. "Meanwhile, it's the biggest industry in the country, and everybody hates it."

The magazine reports ideas for his new company include online data about the price and quality of doctors, making available electronic medical records, high-end personalized health coaching services and possibly low-priced clinics housed in Target stores.

His investments so far have come to $125 million, according to the magazine, and include Miraval, a spa and wellness center operator that offers services from massage to addiction recovery. He had already purchased another company, Exclusive Resorts, which offers to the wealthy the use of high-end vacation homes for 15 days a year, giving them an alternative to buying vacation homes they rarely use.

Case joined AOL in 1982 and is credited for building it from a small company to the world's largest Internet Service Provider. But he also received much of the blame for problems after AOL purchased media conglomerate Time Warner in 2001 and the stock of the combined companies collapsed.

Case resigned as chairman of the combined company in 2003 but remains on the board. CNN/Money is a unit of Time Warner (Research).

Case admitted to shortcomings as a manager in his interview with Business Week.

"I was a better builder than manager," he says. "I actually liked the first 10 years more than the second -- and the second 10 years is where the fame and fortune came. When it went from being a little company on a crusade to a big company, I was less good at it. I was less effective.

"Maybe I was inept and ham-handed. Maybe I didn't understand the complexities of the businesses, the different cultures, and the emotional intelligence of things," he added.

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