Weight Loss Startup Found Raises $100M, Hires New Health Officers

By Janice Bitters Turi ,

Weight loss platform Found has raised $100 million in a Series B funding round to expand its platform across the U.S., company leaders told Crunchbase News.

The San Francisco-based startup also brought on a new chief medical officer, Dr. Rekha Kumar, and a chief behavioral health officer, Dr. Acacia Parks. Those new hires underscore the element of the platform that CEO Sarah Jones Simmer says sets Found apart from other weight loss-focused startups: its clinicians that can assess medical needs and prescribe medication to aid in weight loss, if needed. Found also employs full-time coaches to advise users virtually.

“At Found, our mission is to dismantle the diet culture and help people find lasting weight loss through the best of modern medicine and personalized support,” Jones Simmer said in a statement. “With our latest funding and talented new clinical leaders, we’re making meaningful progress toward helping people lead more fulfilling, happier lives through our innovative approach to weight care that drives lasting results.”

The funding round was led by WestCap Group, a growth equity firm founded by former Blackstone and Airbnb executive Laurence Tosi, with participation from IVP, The Chernin Group, G9 Ventures, and Able Partners. Existing investors at GV, Define Ventures and Atomic also participated in the round. Angel investors this time include Fidji Simo, CEO of Instacart, and Julia Cheek, CEO of EverlyWell.

Found’s pitch to investors and users centers on not only willpower to eat and exercise well, but very importantly: biology.

“There’s a lack of knowledge around what is possible when it comes to weight loss,” Allen Mask, partner at WestCap said in a statement. “That’s part of the reason why most people struggle and lose hope. Now, we know it takes more than willpower — it takes science and support.”

Indeed, research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, as well as respected academic institutes, show that genes can play a significant role in a person’s weight.

A 2019 report by Harvard Medical School shows that more than 400 genes could aid in obesity, but notes that a small number of those will play a significant part in a person’s weight. Overall, genes account for somewhere between 25 percent to 80 percent of what might be causing people to strap on a few extra pounds or struggle to lose that weight once it is there, the Harvard report notes.

“Found takes a thorough, unbiased approach to weight care that I’ve dedicated my clinical practice to and transforms it into programs that can benefit everyone that may need it,” said Dr. Kumar, who was previously the medical director of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and is an associate editor of The Journal of Obesity. “With its scale, Found can play an instrumental role in tackling the obesity epidemic which is why I’m thrilled and honored to join as chief medical officer.”

Found is available to people in all 50 states, but has licensed clinicians in 37 states so far. Jones Simmer said in a recent interview that one of her near-term goals for the company is to expand clinician availability to every state in the country.

And while Jones Simmer says she hates to judge progress by the number on the scale, she’s also set a goal for her users, which she hopes the startup can help them achieve by 2026: 10 million pounds lost, collectively.

Since its 2019 launch, Found members have, on average, lost 10 percent of their weight by their sixth month using the application, the startup said. In all, its users have lost nearly 300,000 pounds so far.

Source :  https://news.crunchbase.com/news/found-weight-loss-platform-startup-vc/

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