Livongo Health raises $44.5M for its cellular-enabled diabetes management system

By Aditi Pai
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Mountain View, California-based Livongo Health, the diabetes management company launched two years ago by former Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman, has raised $44.5 million from Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Cowen Private Investments, Sapphire Ventures, Zaffre Investments, the investment arm of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and Wanxiang America Corporation. This brings the company’s total funding to at least $79.5 million.

Tullman first started learning more about diabetes when his son was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at the age of seven. Later, Tullman’s mother was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and he saw many of the same challenges.

A few years ago Tullman met with an inventor who had developed a glucose meter with a cellular chip in it.

“It wasn’t FDA cleared at the time, we had to go and get it, but when we saw that, we thought there’s a way to actually create a better experience for people with diabetes and make it easier for them to not only stay healthier but also stay safer,” he said. “That combination of technology paired with a really deep understanding of the problem, those two things together are how Livongo came to be.”

Livongo Health’s offering, called Livongo for Health, consists of connected devices, a smart cloud, and a virtual care team. The device, called In Touch, serves as both a connected glucometer and a pedometer and will allow easy sharing of the data. It’s a standalone device with a color touchscreen that is cellular-connected. The offering also offers unlimited test strips at no extra charge.

The company will use some of the funds to hire people for operations to handle growth — Livongo grew from 5,000 users last year to 10,000 this year and expects 40,000 users by the end of the year. the company also plans to expand capabilities of the product for people with diabetes and add other chronic conditions like hypertension and weight management.

In September 2015, Livongo hired Dr. Jennifer Schneider, former Chief Medical Officer of Castlight Health, as its Chief Medical Officer. In her new role, Schneider is responsible for product development, clinical analytics, and the company's clinical studies.

Around the same time, Livongo signed on home improvement store chain Lowe’s as a customer. Initially, Lowe’s deployed this program to employees and their family members who were diagnosed with diabetes in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama. After getting positive results from the pilot, last month, Lowe’s deployed the program to employees and their dependents across the US. Livongo has signed with more than 50 large customers, including Quicken, Office Depot, Office Max, and SC Johnson. The company is also working with some payers, like Humana, Cigna, and a few of the Blues.

Last year, Livongo raised $20 million. At the time, the company said it would use the funding to accelerate deployment of its Livongo for Diabetes program for self-insured employers.