Mar 8, 2022 - Economy & Business

Scoop: Vivante Health raises $16M as it aims to digitize digestive care

Illustration of an x-ray of a stomach showing dollar bill signs.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vivante Health, a digital health company that wants to bring virtual tools to digestive care raised $16 million in Series A funding led by 7wireVentures, Robert Garber, partner at 7wireVentures, tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Digital health companies focused on heart and metabolic issues have seen sky-high fundraises and valuations in recent years, but far less attention has gone towards digitizing support for gastrointestinal (GI) conditions.

  • "These conditions have been unfairly stigmatized," says William Snyder, Vivante's CEO. "And I think people are getting more secure in discussing different aspects of their health, such as behavioral health."
  • "Finally, someone’s paying attention to GI care," says Garber.

Details: The new funding is the second part of a Series A that Vivante collected in 2020 under the direction of then-CEO Kimon Angelides. "It's essentially an A1," says Snyder, following a restructuring he has led.

  • New investors in the round include Human Capital, Intermountain Ventures, SemperVirens and Elements Health Ventures.
  • Previous backers FCA Venture Partners, NFP Ventures, Lifeforce Capital, and Big Pi Ventures also joined in.

State of play: Vivante is one of a relative few companies looking to digitize digestive care.

  • New York-based Oshi Health raised $23 million in a Series A round last fall co-led by Flare Capital Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners and Frist Cressey Ventures.
  • "Gut health is a big opportunity, there’s a big market and it’s growing," says Namrata Rastogi, a primary care physician and health tech advisor.

By the numbers: GI illnesses are relatively common in the U.S., according to a large population-based study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology by researchers at UCLA and Cedars-Sinai.

  • Digestive diseases account for more than 100 million hospital visits in the U.S. each year, the researchers write.
  • Of the roughly 72,000 people they surveyed, 61% reported having had at least one GI symptom in the past week.
  • Less than 20% of individuals with abdominal pain, bloating or diarrhea see a health care provider about their symptoms, the researchers note.

How it works: After users complete a questionnaire, Vivante connects them with a care team of nurses, a registered dietitian and health coach, and a set of connected devices for remote monitoring.

  • Vivante also offers a microbiome test called GutCheck, but the science of microbiome testing is still early.
  • Garber says it's just one of the datapoints Vivante uses to inform its approach, "It’s one piece of someone's overall GI story."
  • "With the microbiome, the question is whether it’s worth it," Rastogi tells Axios. "We’re learning more and more about how certain foods affect gut bacteria, and how that changes management for patients," but there are still unknowns.

What we're watching: Diseases don't exist in silos (just as they don't abide by national borders), so experts tell Axios companies like Vivante may represent a kind of first phase of digital disease management.

  • In the near future, expect to see a consolidation of efforts to manage disease across multiple conditions, says Mintu Turakhia, a cardiac electrophysiologist and the director of the Stanford Center for Digital Health.
  • "We’ve been seeing ecosystems around chronic conditions," says Garber. "The holy grail is a single point of care for all those needs."

Erin Brodwin co-authors the Axios Pro Health Tech deals newsletter. Start your free trial at AxiosPro.com.

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