Concierge care biz One Medical acquires Rise, a nutrition app supported by virtual nutritionists.

By Stephanie Baum

FEBRUARY 9, 2016 – In a world positively laden with apps, weight management and nutrition are a big portion of the wellness management division of mobile health apps. By IMS Health’s reckoning they account for 12 percent of these apps. But two year old startup Rise still found an exit in the form of a $20 million acquisition by One Medical, according to The Wall Street Journal blog, Digits.

That’s because Rise was more than a calorie counter. The company used a range of personal coach avatars backed by real nutritionists who provide constructive feedback on food choices and what the user could do next time to improve. In so doing, it sought to lower the cost of personal nutritionist and trainers with its technology. It provides $9 per month messaging service for diet maintenance to a one-on-one coaching experience for $50 per month, according to TechCrunch.

The article noted that Google Ventures, a Rise investor, brought Rise and One Medical together through an introduction. Other investors in Rise included Greylock Partners and Cowboy Ventures. It raised a total of $4 million from investors, according to WSJ blog Digits.

2016 specialty concierge medicine today

In an interview with TechCrunch, Rise CEO Suneel Gupta explained what he liked about One Medical.

“I think it’s actually a big step forward for our ability to compete in the market and offer the best possible service,” he said. “For us we see One Medical as a leader in primary care, with a total focus on user experience and a healthy amount of funding to really invest in making peoples’ lives better. For us, we are predominantly a product development team, and now we get to focus on what we do best, which is product development.”

Rise itself acquired a company itself along the way — HealthyOut, which uses machine learning to browse menus of nearby restaurants and offers recommendations on the best healthy food options for different kinds of diets.

One Medical closed a $65 million investment round in December to support its concierge primary care business. At the time, it said it would use the funding to move beyond the seven cities where it runs 40 offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. It also planned to add more digital health tools beyond its product offer of same-day appointment booking, prescription renewals, messaging and “digital dermatology.”

More than 200 venture-backed healthcare startups were acquired by larger companies since the beginning of 2015, by the reckoning of Dow Jones VentureSource.

There has been a certain amount of skepticism on the future of the direct to consumer model in digital health. Although the acquisition seems encouraging, at least one person who commented on TechCrunch’s post thought the deal left something to be desired and wondered if there wasn’t a larger story behind the deal.

I haven’t used Rise yet but have been following them for a while. Anyone know more about this? $20m isn’t anything to complain about but at that price there’s gotta be more to this story (they had trouble growing, didn’t think they could go anywhere, etc). Most CEOs don’t found companies to sell them at $20m (at least when they are as young as Rise is). — Brian Sachetta, IOS Developer at Intrepid Pursuits


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