Omada Health seals a $23M Series B to bring digital therapeutics to diabetics
I first met with the Omada co-founders three years ago when they were still employees at IDEO. We chatted over lunch at South Park Cafe, and they quickly won me over with their vision for a software-based therapy to prevent diabetes more effectively and for less money than a drug. We offered them a $20,000 grant to quit their jobs and join us at Rock Health’s first class.
The Omada Health co-founders, Adrian James, Sean Duffy, and Andrew DiMichele, at the original Rock Health office
Over the next few months, the founders helped build a culture that remains ever-present amongst the Rock Health portfolio companies today: providing support to one another, mixing work and play, and never forgetting the customer (the patient) we are here to serve. They did this while building the foundation for a company well-positioned to have a tremendous impact on healthcare.
So what do they do? Put simply, Omada is defining a new category of medicine: digital therapeutics. It turns out, 3 out of 4 of us will die from a preventable, chronic condition — something that could potentially be reversed with the right behavior change therapies. The Omada team knew the world desperately needed better ways to access these proven therapies, so they built a rich, immersive online platform to do it.
Omada’s initial focus has been the 80 million Americans who have prediabetes. They have built a digital therapy for prediabetics, called Prevent, that is based on a pivotal clinical trial—the Diabetes Prevention Program— the substance of which is currently being catalyzed by the CDC as part of the Affordable Care Act. With an online, human-centered, and beautifully designed product, they are able to scale more quickly than the current standard of care, brick-and-mortar programs.
In the Prevent program, every participant gets a dedicated health coach, an online group of like-minded peers for support, an engaging, interactive health journey to experience over a set period of time, and a bunch of smart technology (like a wireless scale) that gets delivered to their doorstep.
“These are the key ingredients – accountability, social support, and long-term follow-up – that research shows are critical for sustained behavior change,” says Adrian James, President and Co-Founder. “Software is the delivery mechanism.”
Omada is the first company to bring them together in a way that not only delights their participants, but demonstrates real clinical outcomes. They’ve gone after prediabetes first, because 1 in 3 Americans has it, and without intervention, up to 70% of them will go on to develop type 2 diabetes.
Their current round of funding represents the merging of the best of technology and healthcare. Andreessen Horowitz is one of the top tech investors, with a portfolio that includes the likes of Facebook, Skype, AirBnB, Pinterest, and Box. And Kaiser Permanente Ventures is the investment arm of the nation’s largest healthcare system. Together, they have committed to working across industries to ensure Omada Health’s success.
This sort of cross-industry collaboration is exactly what our healthcare system needs. In order to solve these great challenges, we need to welcome talent and expertise from both inside and outside the industry.
“A truly disruptive solution in health care requires a radical collaboration of clinical rigor and great design,” says James. “Both are essential and they have to co-exist from the beginning.”
Omada exemplifies this sense of being innovative without being exclusionary. And being disruptive without being dismissive.
We are so proud to know this team, be part of this company, and continue to cheer on Omada Health as they build a movement to better our healthcare system.