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Venture Capital News: Zipongo Pulls In $18M

2016-11-03
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Zipongo, a nutrition app, has raised $18 million in Series B funding.
By making it easy to eat well, Zipongo has been able to help people tastefully sustain healthy eating and outcomes, and formalize Food Benefits Management for health plans, wellness platforms and a range of employers, from tech and financial services giants, to leading retailers and manufacturers. Now with the closing of their $18 million Series B funding round -- bringing total financing to $28 million -- Zipongo and partners are further enabling Nutriomics and behavior science to empower health providers and disease management systems to measurably leverage food as medicine.

The Series B was led by Silicon Valley pioneer, Mayfield, a key investor in companies ranging from Genentech and Solar City (acquired by Tesla), to Marketo and Lyft. Mayfield's recent investments in Digital Health include Basis Science (acquired by Intel), HealthTap, Lantern, Brighter, Finrise and a stealth investment in AI applied to healthcare. Mayfield was joined by existing Zipongo investors, including Series A lead, Boston-based Excel Venture Management, which has been a key backer of companies such as Craig Venter's Synthetic Genomics, Cleveland HeartLab, WellDoc, and ShapeUp (acquired by Virgin Pulse).

Zipongo, founded by Jason Langheier, MD, MPH, has been a pioneer in leveraging behavioral economics, nutrition, personalization data science and well-designed software user experiences to make eating well easy, and the health results sustainable. Dr. Langheier was inspired to launch Zipongo after helping launch the pediatric obesity clinic at Boston Medical Center, and build it based on science, rooted in training from Harvard's Nutrition Department, Duke University Medical School and the University of California at San Francisco Biostatistics and Pediatrics clinical research teams.

Today, over 150 companies and the majority of national health plans and wellness platforms work with Zipongo to drive engagement, health impact, cost savings and happiness of their people. Zipongo's comprehensive digital nutrition coaching platform and food utility tools support people from all walks of life, from those that cook and leverage grocery discounts regularly, to those who eat prepared meals from restaurants frequently. Just as Pharmacy Benefits Management companies help drive adherence to the most cost-effective drugs that lower disease-related costs, Food Benefits Management powered by Zipongo helps people eat the right foods for them -- the ultimate personalized generic drug -- to lower healthcare costs and deliver a return on investment. Zipongo's goal is to reduce the burden of chronic disease, reduce risk from the unintended side-effects of taking multiple drugs and in-hospital disease care, and help rein in unsustainable healthcare cost growth.

'Jason is a mission-driven entrepreneur who has made it easy for millions of people to eat foods that they like and are also good for them,' said Ursheet Parikh of Mayfield. 'Zipongo has also built an amazingly scalable software business in the process that delivers exceptionally high sustained user engagement and better outcomes that employers and insurance companies have found compelling.'

The new funding empowers Zipongo, its partners and their consenting study participants to expand on research and development begun many years ago driving the burgeoning data science of Nutriomics -- the study of personalizing food recommendations based on bodily measures of genetics, metabolomics, immune-response and the microbiome, and a person's nutrition status, food buying, tastes and food environment, to optimize measures of health, emotional and performance outcomes. Further study will enable health providers and health systems to prescribe Food as Medicine to more sustainably prevent and support care of many disease states -- from diabetes to inflammatory bowel disease to cancers, when paired with food utility tools that make it easy to eat well.

Excitement about the growing depth and breadth of Zipongo's existing Food Benefits Management products and services has led to a 120 percent revenue increase, year over year, since third quarter of 2015. As part of this Series B investment, Ursheet Parikh and Tim Chang will join Dr. Langheier, Juan Enriquez (Excel, Synthetic Genomics), Zac Zeitlin (New Ground Ventures) and Todd Hixon (New Atlantic Ventures, former BCG Digital Practice leader) on the board of Zipongo.

Says Dr. Langheier, 'Humanity needs to feed nearly 10 billion souls by 2050, in a way that both eradicates chronic disease and sustains Earth. In the face of that daunting challenge, we feel grateful to have so many engaged clients and users, as well as investors with so much experience in Enterprise Software-as-a-Service, Healthcare, Personalized Medicine, Data Science and Consumer Engagement, who are helping us build a company that delivers long-term value. It takes a large village -- and patient persistence -- to feed such a big family, well.'

About Mayfield
Mayfield is a global venture capital firm with over $2.7 billion under management. The Firm has been championing entrepreneurs for more than 47 years. Mayfield invests primarily in early-stage IT companies in enterprise and consumer sectors. Mayfield invests in India-based companies through a dedicated fund. Since its founding in 1969, the Firm has invested in more than 520 companies resulting in 114 IPOs and more than 160 mergers or acquisitions. Some recent successes include Elastica (acquired by Symantec), Marketo (acquired by Vista Equity Partners), SolarCity, and The Rubicon Project.

About Excel Venture Management
Excel Venture Management builds companies that apply transformative technologies to solve problems in healthcare and beyond. The Excel investment portfolio is balanced across healthcare IT and services, diagnostics, and medical devices, plus life science platforms that address adjacent markets including energy, chemicals, defense and agriculture. Our investments include Tetraphase, Aileron, ClearDATA, Molecular Templates, Cleveland HeartLab, Synthetic Genomics, and Virgin Pulse. More information can be found at www.excelvm.com.

About Zipongo
Zipongo is Eating Well Made Simple. Zipongo's platform enables digital nutrition coaching for large employers, health plans and health systems, and provides food utility tools to families that make it easier to consistently select and buy healthy food people love. Zipongo provides trusted food selection and buying environments for cooking and eating prepared meals, that meet the needs of diverse groups of people, with tools ranging from meal planning, recipes, grocery rewards and online grocery ordering, to menu coaching and mobile meal ordering. Zipongo's HIPAA secure software-as-a-service platform is built to meet people where they are -- at home, at work, or on the go, and deliver robust, anonymized population analytics back to enterprises. Learn more at www.zipongo.com and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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