Retrofit, the weight loss program that relies on data to encourage Americans with busy lifestyles to get healthy, has raised $8 million in Series A funding in a round led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ). Hyde Park Angels and Correlation Ventures also took part in the round, as well as previous investors New World Ventures and I2A Fund. This brings total investment in the company up to $10.7 million.
“We're investing the capital back into the Retrofit product to make it even better,” says CEO and Founder Jeff Hyman. “Over 90 percent of our clients are losing weight, but I think we can do even better and we have countless ideas on how to achieve this.”
Hyman found a perfect investor fit in DFJ, who were looking for a portfolio company tackling the issue of obesity. He also expressed excitement for the “hometown” investors who participated in this round, especially considering their support of the company thus far.
Retrofit uses data paired with wellness experts to transmit personalized weight loss programs digitally to clients. “Retrofit achieves unrivaled weight loss outcomes for our clients by providing each with private lessons on how to lose weight for good. Its personalized, private, and portable,” Hyman says. Clients meet with their team of experts via Skype videochat and wireless devices such as Fitbits keep them on track to their goals.
To Hyman, the key is to move away from traditional weight loss models that focus on abstract motivational concepts. “That's not the best way to lose weight for the long-term. Instead, Retrofit uses data. Data from our board of obesity experts. Data from the wireless devices we provide. Data from scientific studies on what works,” he says.
That data has proved effective for clients on an individual level, but now Retrofit wants to expand the impact by bringing whole corporations on board. They see this as a way to combat high healthcare costs since overweight employees can cost a company up to $1,500 a year in additional health costs, according to Hyman. As such, they today announced Retrofit My Company, a contest that will award the winning organization nearly $300,000 in free weight loss services for its employees.
That prize translates into free access to Retrofit for up to 100 employees for a full year. American companies of any size and from any industry are eligible to enter by submitting a 500-word essay to www.retrofitmycompany.com by midnight on December 12, 2012. A panel of celebrity judges including New World Ventures’ J.B. Pritzker and Sagent Pharmaceuticals’ Jeffrey Yordon will select the winner based on the essay and extent to which Retrofit can transform the company. Retrofit will announce the Grand Prize winner on January 2, 2013.
“Corporations have an outstanding opportunity to help their folks lose weight and improve their health,” Hyman says. “They also have a lot at stake financially, since a key driver of increased healthcare costs is the obesity epidemic.”
By connecting with organizations to combat obesity on a larger scale, Retrofit hopes to reverse the weight problems faced by many Americans today. With related issues such as cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes on the rise, the Retrofit program seeks to use the intersection of data and in-the-flesh health experts to fight the weight challenges facing our country and to drive down health costs at the same time.
Images courtesy of Retrofit.