Signos, a weight management startup, has raised $17 million, according to a news release Wednesday.
The total includes $13 million in Series A funding from GV, formerly known as Google Ventures, and $4 million in seed funding from 1984 Ventures, Courtside Ventures and Tau Ventures. The company’s angel investors include current and former professional NFL players, including Larry Fitzgerald, Jerod Mayo and Kelvin Beachum. Dexcom, a company that provides glucose monitoring systems for diabetes management, made an undisclosed investment in Signos and will give the startup data.
Signos will use the money to make its weight management solution widely available to the public.
The company claims to help users lose weight and keep it off by monitoring their blood glucose levels with a wearable continuous glucose monitor, providing real-time information about those levels, and making personalized recommendations about their diet and exercise via an app. It combines blood glucose data with other data sources and artificial intelligence to make its recommendations.
Signos plans to sell directly to consumers and currently has about 100,000 people on its waiting list. That could help the company develop and improve its product faster, Signos CEO Sharam Foulagdar-Mercer said.
“It is critical for us to have embarked on a B2C journey,” Foulagdar-Mercer said. “If you go to the B2B side first, the sales cycles take much longer, of course, and so everything kind of slows itself down.”
The company doesn’t have any immediate plans to work with providers or health plans.
Investors have poured money into weight management apps as the nation’s obesity rate has reached record levels. Nearly three in four adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese, with the nation’s obesity rate eclipsing 42% in 2017-2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The obesity rate was less than 31% when the CDC measured it between 1999 and 2000.
Obesity can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
In addition, adulthood obesity may lead to more than $2,000 in additional medical costs per person every year, according to researchers at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. That could cost the nation as much as $190 billion extra each year.
Wellness was one of the best-funded digital health categories during the first nine months of the year, bringing in $2 billion in venture capital funding, according to data from Digital Health Business & Technology. The category grew 265% more than it did during the same period last year, including seven funding rounds of at least $100 million.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the Signos' number of users.