London-based startup Habitual lands $2.3M seed funding

UK digital health startup Habitual has scored $2.3 million (£1.7M) in seed round funding.

The London-based firm offers a weight loss programme for people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, which combines evidence-based food replacement with digital support.

Berlin-based Atlantic Food Labs, led the round with existing investors Seedcamp and MMC also participating.

Oxford Seed Fund, which is an initiative of the Entrepreneurship Centre at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, also participated. It is Habitual’s third round since it was founded in September 2019, including a pre-seed earlier this year. Its total raised to date is just over $3 million (£2.2M).

WHAT IT DOES

Habitual supplies users with nutritionally controlled meal replacements, accompanied by an app to support them through digital coaching, virtual peer support groups and tools to track weight and mood. Its programme aims to help patients to reverse diabetes or prediabetes and live medication-free through making changes to their nutrition.

The startup operates through a direct-to-consumer program, in which individuals self-refer and pay a weekly or monthly fee.

WHAT IT’S FOR

Habitual said the capital raised will be used to fuel user growth, increase team size, and undertake clinical research trials.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

Diabetes-related healthcare has been predicted to cost more than $1 trillion per year by 2025 and innovators are designing new ways of providing care.

Swiss digital health coaching firm Oviva, recently announced a raise of €67 million ($80M) in Series C funding to expand its digital diabetes treatment across Europe.

Meanwhile, digital health coaching startup Liva won a contest to partner with health insurers in Germany, to help combat the rise in type 2 diabetes and obesity.

In April, digital diabetes management company Virta Health raised $133 million (£97.6M) in a Series E funding round, following the launch of new services focused on prediabetes, obesity treatment and provider-led type 2 diabetes management last year.

ON THE RECORD

Napala Pratini, cofounder and COO, said: “There’s never been a better time to build a digital health company, particularly in the diabetes space. With skyrocketing rates of chronic disease crippling our healthcare systems, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating adoption of digital healthcare interventions and increasing patient awareness of the importance of a healthy, balanced lifestyle, we’re not only hoping to build a massive business—but also to help millions of people across the world to live longer, happier lives.”

Ian Braithwaite, cofounder and CEO, said: “There is a growing body of scientific evidence to show that gold- standard treatment for type 2 diabetes should no longer be solely reliant on pharmacology-based management, but rather defined by empathetic and effective behavioural treatment to help patients reverse the underlying disease process and sustain remission from type 2 diabetes. This challenge is not an easy one, but we are excited about the opportunity to help define this new standard of care for millions of type 2 diabetics.”

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