Calibrate raises $100 Million Series B one year after launch to tackle obesity at scale
We launched Calibrate with the mission to change the way the world treats weight. In our first year, we have proven that Calibrate works. Our combination of doctor-prescribed, FDA-approved GLP-1 medication and an entirely digital, holistic intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) drives real results.
Our first cohort of members lost an average of 14% of their body weight, exceeding our promise to match clinical trial results of 10% and validating the unique power of our metabolic health program. Calibrate works, and our members’ successes tell the story. Their wins also go far beyond the scale, and they report improvements in how they eat, sleep, exercise, and manage their emotional health. So far, 75% of our members who have finished their One-Year Metabolic Reset have joined a Year 2 Calibrate Masters program, allowing us to ensure their long-term success and build out the longitudinal data platform to establish the standard of care for obesity treatment.
Since we launched, we’ve grown our business 51% month-over-month and have had the fastest state expansion on record for a telemedicine startup — Calibrate is already live for more than 80% of the US population. To support this growth, we’ve expanded our team from 10 in June 2020 to 170 team members today. Along the way, I interviewed every single Calibrater we hired and spoke to hundreds of the members who joined our Early Access program. We have learned so much, so quickly, and I am so excited to show some of “the how” that made this happen.
But first I have to share how endlessly grateful I am to our team of Calibraters, our investors, our Clinical Advisors, our Expert Council, and our trailblazing Early Access members. You made the ultimate bet on me as a leader. You believed in Calibrate when it was an idea, a deck, a landing page, a single Google review (from my mom), and today your commitment to scaling access to Calibrate demonstrates how the power of our outcomes cemented your support.
You appreciated how the size of the market compels urgency — the largest category of chronic disease, 5x bigger than diabetes, with 175 million Americans to treat. You worked with us to build the right team. You gave us feedback to design a more effective program. You showed us the critical importance of scaling Calibrate. You shared your story to convince others to join you on your journey. You celebrated small wins and big wins. But above all else, you believed in the value of driving real results to prove that our product works.
You have been in it together with me since day 1 and I am so grateful for your support.
A Game-changing Moment
We are living in a game-changing moment in obesity medicine. In June, the FDA approved a new Glucagon-like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonist (GLP-1) called Wegovy™, and Calibrate became the first and only telemedicine platform to combine it with an intensive lifestyle intervention. The most effective weight loss medication to date, Wegovy™ demonstrated weight loss of up to 20%. This is more than twice what’s currently delivered by existing GLP-1s alone, which have become the standard of care at leading academic institutions like the one that sparked the idea for Calibrate.
With 74% of American adults living with overweight or obesity (a figure that’s forecast to rise to 90% by 2030), access to Calibrate’s effective treatment combining GLP-1s with ILI is more important than ever.
But there are huge barriers to this progress. We know that improving metabolic health sets you up for long-term, sustained weight loss, but there is limited access to both ILIs, which are primarily studied in academic research rather than practiced in the real world, and GLP-1s, which are often stuck behind opaque insurance formularies.
Calibrate’s ILI program scales, using technology to drive medical efficacy and efficiency, while also using curriculum and coaching and tracking and community to drive engagement.
Obtaining insurance coverage is a critical problem for consumers. Only 1.3% of eligible patients get anti-obesity prescriptions not only because of the tremendous obesity stigma among consumers, doctors, and payors, but also because of the completely opaque system we have for navigating insurance coverage in categories with multiple branded drugs.
I’m excited to share that during our first year we built a proprietary Vertical Pharmacy Engine that ensures that more than 90% of our members make it onto a GLP-1 covered by their insurance plan. Today this allows us to overcome medication access barriers to GLP-1s, taking a process and scaling it. But tomorrow we will use this technology in other chronic disease settings, paving the way for more longitudinal treatment models that combine medications with behavior change.
This next generation of anti-obesity medications paired with Calibrate’s intensive lifestyle intervention will drive outcomes rivaling — or exceeding — bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery has been widely adopted in coverage, but is limited in scale due to capacity, side effects, and risks. As Calibrate has started to combine these new medications with our effective ILI program, we have pioneered a new standard of care in obesity treatment with a solution that is both effective and scalable.
To double down on our direct-to-consumer business and launch our enterprise business, I’m excited to announce that we have raised a $100M Series B co-led by Brian Singerman at Founders Fund and Jay Chen at Tiger Global with participation from new investor Laura Veroneau at Optum Ventures and existing investors Nicole Johnson at Forerunner Ventures, Emily Melton at Threshold Ventures, and Kira Wampler at Redesign Health.
Founders Fund General Partner Brian Singerman — former Board Director at Oscar, AirBnB, Affirm, and many other companies known for tackling huge and complex problems — will also be joining our Board of Directors.
The purpose of this raise as we enter our second year as a business is to use the real results we’ve driven for our members to meaningfully expand access to Calibrate. We will continue to invest in the tools and products to build the most effective experience for our members, while also building out partnerships with the policy makers, insurers, and manufacturers who will pioneer the next generation of metabolic health with us.
But what makes all of this matter is our member outcomes. A year ago, we promised our earliest adopters something different. A program that worked — not just for a few weeks or months, but for the long-term. Our earliest members hit their metabolic health goals six months ago and have been maintaining and building on those results ever since. One of the most rewarding and inspiring parts of my work has been speaking directly with members each day to ensure we understand and build a program that works for real people in their real lives.
As our members enter their second year, we’ve launched Calibrate Masters, a follow-on to our One-Year Metabolic Reset that provides continued support with greater independence. This is exciting for the short-term, but also important for the big picture. GLP-1s alone are only effective while patients remain on the medication, but GLP-1s in combination with Calibrate’s ILI program will help members who choose to move off of medication to sustain their results and continue to improve their health for all of the years to come.
What Makes Calibrate Work
Our audacious mission requires an effective how. At Calibrate, our team values mirror the brand promise we make to our members. We promise our members partnership, results, progress, and control, and similarly, our team is committed to working collaboratively to enable each other’s best work to drive the strongest possible outcomes.
It takes warmth, relentless optimism, and the right amount of authority to create something simple and intuitive within the complex healthcare system, so we’re in it together. We enable and empower each other. We give thoughtful real-time feedback. We lift each other up. We step up or step down to help each other out.
We’re obsessed with outcomes because real results matter. Our product is our moat. When our product works, our business works because our healthcare system values outcomes. We are inherently motivated and driven by results. When our members win, we win, and the data proves that we’ve built the best metabolic health program on the market.
We ground every experience in optimism, recognizing and celebrating successes along the way. We know that behaviors change when incremental steps add up to something much greater than the parts. We break projects down into smaller components and focus on where we have momentum because small wins create big wins. We always plan for our big bets, with the knowledge that our plans will constantly evolve as we achieve our milestone.
At every challenge, we empower each other to get creative, develop our skills and ideas, and solve big problems. Our business is multi-faceted, so each Calibrater is hired to be an expert in their piece of it. When you work at Calibrate, you’re in control — in control of your own initiatives, in control of your own impact, and in control of defining and driving your own (real) results. Not everyone has to be good at everything, but we know that when we harness our strengths, design around our weaknesses, and work together, we’re unstoppable.
At Calibrate, we run on an Operating System (Calibrate O/S for short), a set of features that create shared consciousness for the how — the way we work. Since we launched, we have been exploring and articulating how we communicate, make decisions, prioritize resources, share wins, resolve conflicts, and scale. We believe that having an explicit O/S provides clarity and guidance around the most important aspects of our company culture: We aspire to add O/S features that are clear, scalable, accessible, documented, easy to follow, and true for our culture.
When people tell the story of why Calibrate worked one day, they will talk about how our team worked and how our values mirrored our brand promise.
I’ll leave you with one last thought on what works — Calibrate members set their intention as their “Why.” Every single person who joins the program has an important reason for being on their journey .
Individual Calibraters also set their Why. Sharing why they joined Calibrate with the entire team on their first day. My Why is to change the way the world treats weight.
If these Whys resonate for you, too, learn more about working at Calibrate here.