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Exclusive: Telenutrition startup Nourish swallows $35M Series A

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Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Telenutrition startup Nourish raised a $35 million Series A led by Index Ventures, CEO Aidan Dewar tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: "The U.S. health care crisis is in many ways a chronic condition crisis — and when you dig even deeper, you realize the chronic condition crisis is a nutrition crisis," says Dewar.

How it works: New York City-based Nourish is designed to assist dietitians, users and insurers.

  • The company virtually links people with a wide range of chronic health issues to registered dietitians covered by insurance.
  • Those dietitians get help with insurance verification and other administrative work to help them focus on patients.
  • Nourish is in network with insurers including Aetna, Cigna, United, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Medicare. Dewar says 94% of patients pay nothing out of pocket for its services.
  • Users meet with dietitians over video chat, receive a care plan, log meals, message with the dietitian and receive educational content.

The big picture: Food-as-medicine is being embraced as a new appetizer on the menu of holistic care, with companies including Andreessen Horowitz-backed Season Health and corporate food health benefits provider Bitewell drawing recent deals.

What they're saying: "The core of the experience is that telehealth video chat and the tools are more for interaction between sessions," Dewar says.

Flashback: Dewar and cofounder Sam Perkins got interested in food-as-medicine after struggling with their own health issues — Dewar with chronic migraines and Perkins with a GI condition.

  • Both separately tried addressing their concerns with primary and specialty care, but didn't resolve them until they each worked with dietitians.
  • They regrouped with third cofounder and longtime friend and coworker Stephanie Liu and started Nourish.

Reality check: The company hasn't yet published any research on its outcomes but has invested in a clinical quality team with aims to do so, per Dewar.

  • Nourish's providers currently track a range of outcomes depending on a user's conditions.
  • For gut health, for example, the company tracks the symptom and severity of eight symptoms; for diabetes, it tracks data on blood sugar levels and time in range.

Zoom in: Maverick Ventures and TCV joined the round, alongside existing investors Y Combinator, Thrive Capital and BoxGroup.

  • Individual backers including professional soccer player Alex Morgan and founders from Oscar, Olipop and Notion also joined, bringing total fundraising to $44 million since Nourish's founding in 2020, per Dewar.

What's next: "Our goal would be to make this the last capital we ever need to raise," Dewar tells Axios. "If a future round happens, it'll be opportunistic rather than to extend our runway."

  • Funds will support additional features including AI-powered personalized meal planning and recipe creation, and tools for streamlining administrative workflows for dietitians.

State of play: Other food-as-medicine companies to draw the attention of venture capitalists.

  • Maternal health-focused Chiyo this week closed a $3 million seed.
  • Food-as-medicine startup Season Health last fall signed a deal to acquire the clinical assets of dietitian network Wellory.
  • Bitewell, a startup billing itself as a food-as-medicine marketplace for employers, last summer closed a $4 million seed.
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