Addiction focused startup Quit Genius scores $11M in Series A funding

The round was led by Octopus Ventures with participation from Y Combinator, Startup Health and Triple Point Ventures.
By Laura Lovett
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Yesterday morning addiction focused digital therapeutic Quit Genius scored $11 million in Series A funding. Octopus Ventures led the round with participation from Y Combinator, Startup Health and Triple Point Ventures.

This brings the company's total funding pot to $13.5 million.

WHAT THEY DO

The company is geared at treating individuals with tobacco-, opioid- and alcohol-use disorder through digital cognitive behavioral therapy programs. The service includes virtual coaching platform and a connected breath sensor.

Originally developed by doctors at Imperial College London, the company got its start focusing on tobacco and vaping. Today it is based in San Francisco and works mostly with self-insured employers and health plans on a fee-at risk model. The tobacco and alcohol services is now live, and the opioid and substance abuse services are in the pipeline. 

WHAT IT'S FOR

The company plans to use the funds to grow its product line and increase the scope of patients they treat.

“Quit Genius is re-defining the gold standard therapy to tackle addictions and it is incredible to see the positive impact the team has made in such a short space of time," Yusuf Sherwani, CEO and cofounder of Quit Genius, said in a statement. "The investment will be used to accelerate the growth of our tobacco and vaping cessation solution, as well as the development for our solutions for alcohol and opioid addictions."

MARKET SNAPSHOT

Perhaps the most notable digital-therapeutic focused on addiction is Pear. In 2017 Pear Therapeutics reSET system for substance abuse has been granted a de novo clearance by the FDA. It originally teamed up with Novartis to commercialize the product, and later its reSET-O product targeted at opioid-use disorder.

However, it hasn't been all smooth sailing for Pear. In the fall, Novartis division Sandoz announced that it is handing sole responsibility for the commercialization of the reSET and reSET-O prescription digital therapeutics back to Pear.

When it comes to tobacco, there are quite a few digital health companies working in the space. For example, Carrot focuses on smoking cessation with an FDA-cleared carbon monoxide breathalyzer, human coaching and pharmacotherapy encouragement.

ON THE RECORD

“When it comes to addiction, far too many people are still dying from deaths that are potentially avoidable," Will Gibbs, Early-Stage Investor at Octopus Ventures, said in a statement. "That’s why the personalized digital approach taken by Quit Genius is so exciting, as it is far more effective at changing behaviors and will ultimately save lives. It’s already doing this with smokers, but we believe there is a huge opportunity to tackle other addictive behaviors that can be just as hard to kick.”