Glooko Gets $16.5M Injection For Its Diabetes Management Platform

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Diabetes management startup Glooko, which sells a unified diabetes data management healthcare service, which includes Bluetooth-enabled hardware to import blood glucose readings from a range of (proprietary) glucose meters to make it easier for doctors to remotely monitor patients, has pulled in a $16.5 million Series B round. It had previously raised a $3.5 million Series A round back in 2012.

The Series B round brings a new strategic investor on board, in the form of medical device company Medtronic — a company Glooko describes as a “diabetes industry titan”, given it owns a majority (66%) of the U.S. insulin pump market.

Glooko launched its hardware device and app in 2011 and has been building out a platform approach to diabetes management since. It sells b2b, to health systems and clinicians, who then furnish their patients with Glooko hardware to gain access to their blood glucose data. (So it’s distinct from b2c diabetes management startups such as mySugr, which are selling apps direct to diabetes sufferers.)

Glooko’s MeterSync technology currently supports downloading data from more than 30 glucose meters — which it says represents more than 90% of the glucose meter market. It also plans to integrate with insulin pumps & CGMs (continuous glucose monitors) to continue building out its unified approach — fueled by the new funding injection.

On the software side, Glooko offers a Population Tracker for remote access to patient data combined with analytics. It also includes a module for predicting hypoglycemia unawareness, with the aim of avoiding the expense (and risk) of hypo-related hospitalizations. Integrating personalized predictive algorithms is another task it has earmarked for the new funding.

“Our company mission is to improve diabetes outcomes at lowered costs. The country’s healthcare system is being incentivized to move towards preventative care compared to fee-for-service model, and Glooko fits well into that need while tackling one our largest healthcare issues ($245 billion in U.S. in 2012),” it tells TechCrunch.

“We charge contracted health systems & clinics a subscription, per patient per month (PMPM) fee for our services. With larger patient volume, the PMPM fee slides downwards. Both health systems & insurance companies are accustomed to PMPM subscription models so Glooko isn’t swimming upstream with this approach.”

As well as adding Medtronic to its investor roster, Glooko’s Series B brings in another new investor, Canaan Partners (Canaan’s Wende Hutton has also joined Glooko’s board). While existing investors, The Social + Capital Partnership and Samsung, also participated in the round.

Glooko is not disclosing usage figures at this point, given it remains a newer and smaller fry vs the diabetes industry titans it is swimming with — noting only that it has “thousands” of users and “millions” of blood glucose readings in its database thus far.

The startup’s trajectory — of starting with a mobile app (in its case a diabetes logbook app) and building out a health technology service platform that’s integrating with established medical device makers and insurance providers — is a path it reckons a growing wave of digital health startups will be looking to follow.

In terms of competitive landscape, Glooko says it competes with the likes of Livongo, TelCare and iHealth but where they require users to buy into proprietary hardware devices for pulling in blood glucose data Glooko offers the promise of interoperating, via its MeterSync tech.