Form Health said Thursday that it has raised $12 million in a Series A funding round to expand its medical weight loss offering for patients that don’t have access to regional obesity specialists.
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M13 led the Series A with participation from SignalFire and NextView Ventures. In total, Form Health has now raised $16 million, including a $4 million seed round raised in 2019, according to founder Evan Richardson.
Richardson, also a founding member of Grand Rounds Health, started Boston-based Form Health in 2019 to provide telemedicine to help patients with obesity via a combination of care from board-certified physicians and medication.
“I started looking for additional areas where patients could direct their own care in a new way, have access to good care and apply it at the right time,” Richardson told Crunchbase News. “Obesity medicine is a space I have looked at for a while, and back in 2010, tried to take a program and spin it out, but for a lot of reasons, there wasn’t an economic model for it at the time.”
When he returned to the issue in 2019, Richardson saw that a lot had changed: Most people were using a smartphone and telemedicine was now key.
Also helping to bring focus to the issue was that in 2013 the American Medical Association recognized obesity as a medical condition and created the American Board of Obesity Medicine around it, he said, which certifies the clinicians for Form Health’s telehealth functions.
As a result, there is now a much more developed perspective on the medical science of weight loss with the perspective that a combination of behavior therapy and the application of medical care, which can include pharmaceuticals, could create a multidisciplinary approach, Richardson added.
Patients who use Form Health’s platform experience a loss of 15 percent of body weight in the first three months and up to 25 percent in six months, Richardson said. As a medical-based service, Form Health’s service may be covered by insurance at little or no cost.
“This is a space that is going to be changing rapidly,” Richardson said. “Folks have struggled with weight their whole lives, and 40 to 42 percent of Americans are obese. It doesn’t come down to one thing, but a changing set of realities where technology and medical tools impact the experience.”
Form Health now operates in 16 states, and the new funding will enable the company to expand access broadly to 90 percent of the U.S. population. Going forward, the company will focus on expanding awareness and insurance coverage, as well as working with physicians to get more referrals.
The company joins a number of other startups in the weight loss and metabolic health space that have received venture capital funding lately. They include digital metabolic health business Calibrate, which raised $22.5 million in Series A funding in January for its weight loss program that offers a year-long metabolic reset that combines FDA-approved prescription medication with behavior therapy around food, sleep, exercise and emotional health delivered through one-on-one video coaching.
Richardson said that although there are more companies coming into the space, Form Health’s differentiators are the focus on science-based care from certified physicians and dieticians, a high frequency of patient interactions and insurance reimbursement.
M13’s General Partner Latif Peracha said he was introduced to Form Health through one of the startup’s seed investors and that he was aware of the developments in the market. Sitting with Richardson was important to understanding the tailwinds, Peracha said in an interview.
“It is a rare opportunity to back someone with his specific expertise, coming from Grand Rounds,” he added. “It comes down to the product and the fact that the medical piece is one component. They are taking a holistic look at diet, behavior and physical fitness.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias