Issue No. 249: Good as New

This issue is presented by

🎙 On the Podcast

Mindbloom CEO Dylan Beynon discusses the company’s approach to at-home ketamine therapy.

We also cover: the mental health crisis, the shortcomings of existing treatment options, and efforts to destigmatize psychedelics.

Listen to today’s episode here.

🍎 Samsung’s new app targets personalized nutrition

The global electronics company announced Samsung Food, an AI meal planning app that recommends recipes based on dietary preferences, nutrition goals, and available ingredients.

Healthyish. The app doesn’t dish dietary advice just yet. But, plans to integrate with Samsung Health and introduce new features for estimating calorie counts from food photos will support diet management.

Acting as a kitchen assistant, the app also syncs with Samsung’s smart kitchen appliances and exports grocery lists to simplify shopping.

Diet tech. Keeping pace with Apple and Google, Samsung’s health ecosystem is catering to demand for personalized, preventative wellness.

Enhancing its wearable tech, the company recently added sleep, heart rate, and menstrual cycle insights for the Galaxy Watch. Searching for an edge, creating a digital dietitian could set it apart from the competition.

Nutrition x AI. Lacking education and inspiration, consumers are willing to pay for personalized nutrition — prompting a race to make eating right as easy as possible.

  • CGM platform January AI launched an AI-powered app translating biometric data into real-time food and lifestyle suggestions.
  • Y Combinator-backed SnapCalorie announced $2M for its app that generates nutritional breakdowns from smartphone photos.
  • Diagnostics platforms ViomeInsideTracker, and ZOE use at-home tests to inform which foods to avoid, minimize, or eat more of.

In the grocery aisle… Albertsons recently upgraded its digital health app to help customers track the macronutrients of foods in their carts while shopping.

Punchline: Food curation apps unlock a new level of ease, translating users’ preferences into actionable meal plans, shopping lists, and cooking instructions. But, beyond AI, personalized nutrition should consider how a human touch—via oversight from an RD or health coach—could amplify outcomes.

✅ Execution is everything

Steve Jobs was right: “Ideas without action aren’t ideas. They’re regrets.”

That’s why ambitious healthtech companies trust Lightmatter.

Combining domain expertise with technical prowess, Lightmatter’s team of designers, developers, and strategists empowers innovators to execute their ideas.

Working with organizations of all sizes—from wellness startups to health systems—they’ve supported partners like Harvard Medical School, Two Chairs, and Ayble in building a healthier future.

See what’s possible: Check out Lightmatter’s work here.


🍼 Startups confront the maternal health crisis

US maternal mortality spiked to a near-historic high in 2021, highlighting a disturbing trend.

  • Childbirth is 3x more dangerous in the US than other high-income countries.
  • 1,205 women died during pregnancy (or shortly after) in 2021, up from 754 in 2019.
  • Racial and socioeconomic disparities are fueling a crisis that disproportionately impacts minority groups.

Making matters worse, over 80% of pregnancy-related deaths are considered preventable.

Complicated by a lack of access and an absence of culturally competent training, more women are missing out on critical aspects of maternal care. Struggling to adapt, the nation’s healthcare system has yet to grasp women’s physical and emotional needs before, during, and after birth.

Moms need more. Prioritizing the well-being of babies and moms, new initiatives are taking shape. A start, last year, the White House unveiled a maternal health blueprint expanding Medicaid’s postpartum coverage and providing resources to rural hospitals.

Meanwhile, digital health startups are bridging the gap between hospital and home care.

  • 2022: Mahmee, Millie, Noula, and Cayaba Care raised funding for pregnancy-support services, emphasizing diversity and inclusion.
  • Jan 2023: New York-based maternity center Oula secured $19M for its hybrid clinic combining midwifery and obstetrics.
  • June 2023: Pomelo Care added $25M in a round led by a16z, partnering with major medical providers on value-based virtual care.

Another approach… Exercise during pregnancy can reduce the risk of complications like gestational diabetes, premature birth, C-section, and postpartum depression. Taking note, Expect Fitness offers an OBGYN-approved platform, and Pvolve partnered with Ovia Health on postpartum content.

Takeaway: Maternal care needs a new model, capable of serving women of all backgrounds when and where they need it. While tech-enabled, mission-driven startups are making headway, absent sweeping change, the outdated institutions will stifle progress.

📰 News & Notes

  • Oura partners with Talkspace on patient sleep reports.
  • Withings announces FDA-approval of BodyScan smart scale.
  • Fitt Jobs: Hundreds of health & wellness companies are hiring.
  • Othership secures Brooklyn property for next social bathhouse.
  • Lifesum introduces hormonal meal plans as a workplace benefit.
  • lululemon grew revenue 18% in Q2, accelerates new store openings.
  • GoSaga inks master territory agreement with FitLab, plans 250+ fitness studios.*

💰 Money Moves

  • Cosmetics company e.l.f. Beauty acquired high-performance skincare brand Naturium for $355M.
  • Talofa, a gamified running app for mental and physical health, raised $6.3M from undisclosed investors.
  • Plant-based food company Eat Just secured $16M in a funding round led by VegInvest/Ahimsa Foundation.
  • London-based bladder health startup Jude added $4.2M to fuel US expansion.
  • Beta Bionics, a diabetes management platform, raised $100M in a Series D round to advance its artificial pancreas tech.

Today’s newsletter was brought to you by Anthony Vennare, Joe Vennare, Ryan Deer, and Jasmina Breen. Special thanks to Jess Schram, digital health investor and startup consultant, for contributing research and insights on maternal health. 

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