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Bitewell bags $4M for food health benefits

Illustration of a hundred dollar bill-shaped box filled with produce

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Bitewell, a "food-as-medicine" marketplace for employers, closed a $4 million seed round.

Why it's the BFD: The Denver-based company is taking food-as-medicine to the next level by being the first ever corporate food health benefits provider.

Details: This round of funding was led by Lake Nona Sports & Health Tech Fund and Refinery Ventures.

  • Other participants in the round include Alex Morgan’s Trybe Ventures, Mudita Venture Partners, Harvest Ridge Capital, and Bertelsmann's BDMI.
  • Proceeds will fund building the data and engineering teams, alongside R&D and sales and marketing, CEO Samantha Citro Alexander tells Axios.
  • The company has 15 clients using the platform.

How it works: Bitewell’s marketplace lets users shop for groceries, restaurant meals and meal kits as an insurance-subsidized benefit.

  • The company has a FoodHealth Score, which ranges from 0-10, and uses a grey/red/yellow/green color system incorporated into its food marketplace.
  • Like a credit score for food, every food purchase is scored, and the aggregate score of all food purchases helps users understand if their diet is net-accretive or net-dilutive to their health.

What they're saying: "Food as a health benefit, is today where mental health benefits were about 10 years ago," Alexander says. "We are not a weight loss app, but a food-as-a-health benefit app."

  • "The company is solving a big problem and the TAM opportunity is huge," said Fabrice Braunrot, co-founder of Harvest Ridge Capital.
  • "We look to fund companies we think can grow and/or go public and have an exit," Braunrot continues. "One of the big financial drivers here is that there is so much money to be saved in unnecessary health care spending."
  • Bitewell's value proposition is "a better lifestyle, productivity for the organization, and lower cost of health care," says Mariano Gonzalez, founder of MGV Capital — which invested in Bitewell's pre-seed round in 2021 and doubled down this time around.

What's next: “This funding should provide us with an 18-month runway and bring us to a few hundred thousand users," Alexander says.

  • The funding will go toward building the data and engineering teams, she noted.
  • "As health care industry outsiders, we don’t have to unlearn how things are traditionally done," she said. We are breaking the system from the outside instead of the other way around."
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