Livongo Health, a healthcare technology startup that helps patients to manage their diabetes better using various technology tools, has secured US$52.5 million in growth funding, co-led by existing investor General Catalyst Partners and international investment company Kinnevik.

Livongo Meter

Livongo Meter

Singapore-based EDBI, American Investment Holdings, and Microsoft Ventures also joined the round, along with all of its previous investors, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, and Sapphire Ventures.

The proceeds from this investment will help US-headquartered Livongo accelerate growth in diabetes management, expand to other chronic conditions, and move to international markets in the coming months. “This new funding will accelerate our investments in R&D and expansion of our rules engine from 10,000 to more than 100,000 rules, allowing us to completely personalise the experience our members have,” said Glen Tullman, CEO of Livongo.

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Started in 2014, Livongo claims it empowers people with chronic conditions to live a better life. The startup has  developed a new approach for diabetes management that combines the latest technology with coaching. By offering the right information, tools, and support at the right time, it provides its members with real-time, personalised insights and support to make diabetes management easier.

Livongo says it currently reaches more than 3 million covered lives. The firm is now working to expand its solutions to support current members who have other chronic conditions. For example, 71 per cent of people with diabetes have high blood pressure and 65 per cent have high cholesterol.

“Our team is focused on empowering our members to live healthier lives, not just manage their chronic conditions. That means we have to address all of their health issues in a comprehensive way,” Tullman added. “In addition to diabetes, we’re focused on extending our programme to support other chronic conditions like hypertension and to continue to deliver an experience that our members love while improving clinical results and lowering costs.”

Livongo’s clients include leading healthcare organisations such as Lowe’s, Office Depot, Iron Mountain, Optima Health, Mount Sinai, University of Massachusetts Medical School.

“Diabetes is a large, fast-growing, and life-long condition that requires a comprehensive approach to lift quality of life and address patient needs,” commented Chris Bischoff, Senior Investment Director at Kinnevik. “Livongo is a category-defining company and there is strong potential for Livongo to replicate their US success in Europe and other international markets.”

The diabetes management industry is expected to grow from US$1.8 billion in 2015 to US$12 billion by 2020 with the chronic disease growing into a worldwide pandemic: The number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.

About 60 per cent of diabetics in the world live in Asia. By 2030, without intervention both China and India combined will have almost half a billion diabetics. In Singapore, diabetes is the 10th leading cause of death accounting for 1.7 per cent of total deaths in 2011. In 2013, 400,000 Singaporeans, aged 18 and above, had diabetes. By 2050, nearly 1 million Singaporeans could be affected by diabetes.

In 2015, Bangalore-based entrepreneur Manu Madhusudhan came up with Cooey, a IoT-based digital platform for chronic patient health management. The startup has developed smart devices like Bluetooth-enabled BP monitor and weighing scale that auto-log medical data and share it remotely with the doctor and the patient’s loved ones. These products, which can be connected to smartphones, can collect four pivotal data (patient profile, health vitals, medicines and lab reports), and analyse them to provide relevant health tips to improve health management.

EDBI has been on an investment spree over the past one and half years. Since the beginning of 2017, it has invested in three companies, including Software-based storage startup Hedvig, camera tech venture Lytro, insurtech company CXA. Recently, EDBI announced a partnership with Philips to make joint investments in innovative companies in the digital health sector in Asia.