Isabelle Kenyon is an investment banking, Ivy League, and Forbes 30 Under 30 graduate. She is also the founder and CEO of Calibrate, a telemedicine startup seeking to revolutionize the $ 70 billion weight loss industry.
Daniela Spector (Daniela Spector (photographer) – [None]
Last June, Isabelle Kenyon took her telemedicine startup Calibrate out of stealth mode with a team of 10 and an ambitious goal: Kenyon wanted to stir up the $ 70 billion weight loss industry by focusing on holistic metabolic health instead of pounds the scales concentrated. By January, she had raised $ 22.5 million for Series A, expanded her team to 52 people, and watched Calibrate customers get real results with the program.
Seven months later, Forbes can exclusively report that Kenyon has reached a new milestone: Calibrate has raised a Series B financing round of US $ 100 million, which is jointly led by new investors Founders Fund and Tiger Global. Optum Ventures also participated in the round, which brings Calibrate’s total funding to $ 127.6 million, as did existing investors Forerunner Ventures, Threshold Ventures and Redesign Health.
Kenyon sees this funding as fuel to begin testing Calibrate on corporate channels, she told Forbes. “Corporate channels could mean employers, it could be” [the insurance] Payer, it could be the government through Medicare and Medicaid, ”she said. “It could be anyone else subsidizing the cost of the program.”
The completion of Series B also means that Brian Singerman, partner in the Founders Fund, will join Calibrate’s board of directors. He describes his decision to invest in Calibrate as one “almost entirely” based on Kenyon and its vision. “What I’m looking for is the market version,” he said. “And as a rule, especially in such cases, it means that the founder is first class.”
Singerman, who ranks 25th on the Forbes Midas list and whose notable investments include Oscar Health and Affirm, told Forbes that his approach to investing was industry-independent and instead “open to anything that makes one of the world’s greatest companies can be”. the planet.”
Calibrate isn’t quite there yet, but it’s growing. The company expects sales of $ 21 million in 2021, beating Kenyon’s forecasts by about $ 10 million to $ 12 million, she said. Emily Melton, co-founder of Threshold Ventures, who joined Calibrate’s board of directors after leading the Series A funding round, can attest to the pace of growth: “When I first invested, we got the number of members we got in one Month, now signed. “One day,” remarked Melton.
The customers who visit the Calibrate platform are on average 45 years old and predominantly female. Three-quarters of its members are white, and 52% report an annual household income of less than $ 150,000 (the majority is between $ 75,000 and $ 150,000). Calibrate charges $ 129 a month for its entire range of lifestyle coaching and weight management offerings (a one-time health assessment is $ 249), a rate that’s not insignificant for households in this income bracket. However, with Calibrate members reporting an average annual body weight loss of 14%, Kenyon and her advisors see the platform’s consumer trends as a sign that the conversations about comorbidities, health and wellness that have broken up due to Covid are spurring people on to make real changes to their health programs.
“I think we had this moment and this synthesis where consumers looked and said, ‘My health is the cornerstone. If you’re not healthy, you have nothing, ”Melton said.
The other tailwind that will propel Calibrate’s business is the FDA’s June FDA approval of Wegovy, an injection for chronic weight management, according to Melton and other advisors. Dr. Donna Ryan, former president of the World Obesity Foundation and clinical advisor to Calibrate, says the demand for Wegovy has been “extraordinary” in part because of its beneficial effects on blood pressure, glucose levels and “the other metabolic disorders.” this occurs when excessive abnormal body weight is reversed. ”
While Wegovy’s approval is too young to be a significant contributor to Calibrate’s $ 21 million revenue in 2021, it will likely feed into members’ future weight management plans – if medically appropriate and when the insurance can cover the cost of the drug (which is in the north). of $ 1,000 per month out of pocket). Addressing the latter issue, Kenyon and her team developed a proprietary pharmacy engine for Calibrate, which makes it easier for members to obtain weight loss medications that are covered by their insurance plans. It’s a handy tool because when it works on a large scale, Kenyon hinted that it could be used for other drugs and diseases like diabetes.
It also means that despite Calibrate’s pace of growth over the past year – and despite a $ 100 million capital injection that could theoretically allow her to breathe – Kenyon is still a long way from taking her foot off the accelerator.
“Why the focus on speed? Because it all boils down to the same thing: the faster you reach more people, the faster you change the way the world deals with weight, ”says Kenyon. “So for me, them [Series B] Runde is really creating tremendous pressure to actually make Calibrate a household name and to grow the consumer business faster than we have built it before. “