A fully digital diabetes prevention and reversal programme has secured a six-figure funding package to support its public launch in 2021. The programme’s founders spoke to Health Tech World about the system’s benefits and their plans for the future.
Habitual was founded by Dr Ian Braithwaite and Napala Pratini in September 2019 after they met delivering diabetes reversal programmes for the NHS. It was then that they realised the potential to transform how people think about diabetes and other related diseases.
Their three-part programme was built in collaboration with specialists from Harvard Medical School, the University of Cambridge and Stanford University, and focuses on total diet replacement, personalised habit-change and ongoing support to achieve sustained disease reversal and long-term weight maintenance through a companion app.
Braithwaite said: “The other thing we combine with total diet replacement is something called digital behaviour change. Where we differ and where we are unique is that we do this entirely digitally. If you can imagine someone who loses 15kg and reverses type 2 diabetes, that is amazing, but that journey is incomplete unless you are also helping them establish healthy habits in the long-term.
“We talk about mental health, physical health and nutritional health because unless you help them with all of these aspects, it is harder to sustain that disease reversal and that weight loss in the long-term.”
Habitual’s habit change programme combines daily psychology-backed content with whole health tracking, enabling the user to create healthier habits and observe how they impact your health trajectory over time.
The programme has now secured a raise of £325,000, taking its total to £575,000. Investors include European seed fund Seedcamp, as well as MMC Ventures. This followed investment of £250,000 from various angel investors, including Roger Hassan, the COO at Tier Mobility and Stephen Bourke, the co-founder of Echo Pharmacy.
Pratini said: “It definitely speaks to what we have built, the trials results that we have seen and also Ian and I’s experience. I also think that it has to do with the growing interest in this space, both in terms of disease reversal and also digital health, especially as a result of COVID.
“It is really about changing how we as healthcare systems think about diseases like type 2 diabetes. We really believe in a world in which healthcare systems, rather than treating those diseases reactively, actually take a much more proactive approach.”