MD Revolution raises $7M, completes Sharp Healthcare pilot

By Aditi Pai
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RevUp!San Diego, California-based MD Revolution, which launched its online wellness coaching platform RevUp! at CES this year, raised $7 million from angel investors. This raise brings MD Revolution's total funding to $8 million.

In conjunction with the funding, MD Revolution announced that it named Jean Balgrosky, co-founder of Bootstrap Incubation and Andy Sassine, former portfolio manager for Fidelity Investments, to its board of directors.

RevUp!, accessible online, aims to measure a user's metrics, including DNA, blood tests, biometric measurements, and health goals; monitor the user's progress while also using predictive intelligence to keep the user on track; and offer tips, feedback, and encouragement from a personal coach. For a limited time, this system is available to users for free.

First, users are asked to do an evaluation that will personalize their health program. Depending on the program, users can then send in a blood sample and a saliva sample to the company. After observing a user's habits, the program sends the user a plan to follow with diet and fitness suggestions. Users in the program also get access to a live clinical team that also monitor and coach the user.

RevUp! suggests users start by getting a Fitbit activity tracker and the MyFitnessPal app. Fitbit devices cost between $59.99 and $129.99, but MD Revolution founder and CEO Dr. Samir Damani previously said consumer health monitoring devices like the Fitbit are important for preventative maintenance.

“We have to start seeing insurers start saying ‘You know what, if i’m going to spend $50,000 for bariatric surgery or $100,000 to put a defibrillator in a failing heart, then I need to spend $200 to get a blood pressure cuff for a patient employee,’” Damani said at the Connected Health Symposium in October 2013. “It’s really quite insane when you think about the kind of money you spend towards procedures that treat disease when we could spend a fraction of that to prevent it. So the payor piece really needs to come into play before I think digital health is really going to take off.”

MD Revolution also completed a pilot with 200 people at San Diego, California-based Sharp Healthcare that showed MD Revolution's RevUp! could reverse chronic disease risks.

Participants in the pilot were all Sharp Healthcare employees with two or more risk factors for chronic disease. To support the trial and provide more digital coaching for its platform, MD Revolution also increased its staff from 15 employees to 38.

“We saw statistically significant improvements in less than 90 days in weight, BMI, visceral fat, body fat, and cardiorespiratory fitness levels,” Damani said in a statement. “A number of the pilot participants have come off their blood pressure and diabetes medications and normalized lab tests, among other salutary effects.”