Livongo Health has secured $20 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and others to expand a technology-enabled service to help people with diabetes better-manage their condition.
Livongo’s system includes a glucose meter that transmits data to the cloud where they can be analyzed and monitored by the company’s diabetes educators. These educators contact the patient when his or her blood sugar swings too high or low. Patients can also share data with their doctors, friends and family.
Since launching in September Livongo has signed several large employers on as customers, including health-care providers such as Mission Health System and companies like Iron Mountain Inc. and Office Depot Inc.
Emerging digital technologies are enabling new services to help people manage chronic conditions like diabetes, which affects 29.1 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes can lead to vision loss other complications if not managed properly.
Venture firms have also funded startups like Omada Health Inc. The company’s digital offering begins with a 16-week program that pairs people at risk for Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease with a health coach and a peer group. The program is tailored to individuals and is designed to help them improve nutrition, fitness and to overcome psychological barriers to changing their lives.
Other venture-backed startups also aim to connect glucose data to smart devices and the cloud. Telcare Inc., which has received U.S. regulatory clearance for a cellular-enabled glucose meter, disclosed a $32.5 million financing in October. Another, Glooko Inc., said in March that it $16.5 million. Glooko’s technology connects glucose meters to smartphones so that blood-glucose data can be sent to doctors.
Livongo began with a vision to help patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes take charge of their diabetes and their health. Chief Executive Glen Tullman, former CEO of Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc., began seeing the difficulties of managing the condition firsthand when his son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 11 years ago.
At the end of 2013, he acquired technology to create a two-way smart glucose meter. He combined this with a service that enables patients to get help when they need it and for family and caregivers to be alerted to emergencies. Doctors, meanwhile, can use the data to identify patients who need extra attention and to allow patients to skip a regularly scheduled appointment if their diabetes is well under control.
Livongo provides free blood-sugar testing strips and supplies. The company said this encourages people to test their blood sugar more regularly. Through an agreement with Iron Mountain , a self-insured storage and information-management company, began offering Livongo’s services in January after determining that 35% to 55% of its diabetes population could use more help managing their condition. About 30% of its diabetes population began using Livongo in the first quarter, according to Scott Kirschner, director of benefits strategy. Iron Mountain also uses Omada’s service to help prevent prediabetic people from developing Type 2 diabetes.
Rhonda Comer, a 48-year-old employee of Office Depot in Bristol, Va., said her Type 2 diabetes is under better control since she began using Livongo this year. She has regular discussions with Livongo diabetes educators who have helped her adjust her diet and make other life changes. She also checks her blood sugar more frequently. The accountability that comes with having a coach has been helpful, she said.
Livongo, based in Mountain View, Calif., raised the Series B round from Kleiner Perkins, DFJ Ventures and General Catalyst Partners. The company in the future expects to target other chronic diseases as well, such as high blood pressure, Mr. Tullman said.
Write to Brian Gormley at firstname.lastname@example.org.