Venture capital firm Seventure Partners has joined a US$35m Series B Round in Digital Nutrition Platform Zipongo. The US$9m invested into the Californian company comes from Seventures’ €160m Health for Life Capital™ fund, the premier fund dedicated to the expanding microbiome and nutrition space.
Seventure was joined in the round by existing lead investor Mayfield (who contributed US$18m in 2016), and Zaffre Investments, the investment fund of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. The fund will enable Zipongo to expand its commercial presence across Europe, with a primary focus in the UK.
Currently Zipongo’s platform consists of a number of different apps, which are designed to change people’s behaviour around food. The app learns the users preferences and lifestyle and can suggest recipes, shopping lists and restaurant recommendations but is independent from sponsoring from advertisements.
The company said, it will also use the money to launch its new product FoodScripts™. According to Dr. Jason Langheier, CEO and founder of Zipongo, FoodScripts will enable doctors to write a prescription for food. Compared to medication the right food choices are a much cheaper way to treat a condition. FoodScripts adds specific modules to Zipongo’s platform to address conditions like hypertension, diabetes, obesity through prescriptive, personalised, evidence-based nutrition programmes. Roll out to pilot customers will start this spring. The ultimate goal is to reduce the reliance on medication by using food as an alternative first-line therapy, thus lowering chronic disease costs. Most recently, German immunologists confirmed that nutrition can change the epigenetic pattern of cell progenitors of the innate immune system leading to higher susceptibility of inflammation, a driver of chronic diseases such as diabetes and atherosclerosis. A recent ranking of risk factors for death puts dietary risks above smoking.
Currently, Zipongo works with 150 US corporations including wellness companies to reduce chronic disease and improve the health of employees and members. The Company estimates that every US$1 invested in corporate wellness yields $6 in corporate savings.
Isabelle de Cremoux, CEO and Managing Partner of Seventure Partners, who had the idea to set up a fund focussed on microbiome and nutrition, commented: “Zipongo’s success in the US reflects the growing importance to users to make educated decisions about their nutrition and health. The Company is a perfect investment for Health for Life Capital™, sitting at the intersection of wellbeing and technology and we are pleased to be supporting its European growth strategy.”
Zipongo is Seventure’s Health for Life Capital™ 17th investment. Seventures portfolio includes inflammation and cancer specialists such as Anaeropharma, Enterome or MaaT Pharma, personalised nutrition players such as DayTwo or TargEDys as well as developers of products that rebalance the microbiome such as Eligo, Biomx and Vedanta.