Founders tend to build businesses around their expertise, and Frank Westermann and Anton Kittelberger are experts in diabetes.
They met and bonded over their shared diagnosis of type 1 diabetes (Westermann was diagnosed over 26 years ago), and in 2012, they launched the MySugr diabetic self-management app. Westermann relocated to the United States from Austria four years later to launch MySugr to the American market before Roche bought the company for $100M in 2017.
In April 2021, the couple embarked on their next adventure, this time in the world of diabetes, launching 9am.health, a virtual diabetes clinic that provides people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes with individualised care and cheap meds from the comfort of their own homes. The clinic at 9am.health opened in August last year.
Now the startup has raised a $16M Series A funding round, bringing its total funding to date to nearly $20M. 7Wire Ventures and Human Capital co-led the latest round, which included participation from new investors StartUp Health and Leaps by Bayer, as well as current investors Define Ventures and Founders Fund.
The funds will be used to begin pitching its services to employers, a commercial strategy that has grown in popularity among health IT businesses.
This year, 9am.health intends to aggressively increase its DTC business while simultaneously expanding to assist the self-insured employer sector, providing employees with access to its virtual diabetes treatment programme as a covered benefit.
9am.health, based in San Diego, California, was founded in 2021 by Frank Westermann, Anton Kittelberger, Paul Geevarghese, and Bernhard Schand and presently markets its goods directly to consumers. The startup is backed by 7Wire Ventures, Human Capital, Founders Fund, Define Ventures, Speedinvest, iSeed Ventures, and StartUp Health.
It charges $25 a month for prescription medicine home delivery, treatment regimens, and round-the-clock access to a virtual care team that comprises registered nutritionists and certified diabetes specialists. Through its agreement with Scarlet Health, users can pay an additional $15 per month to have a phlebotomist collect blood at their house.
“People demand a new approach that fits their busy lives, thus 9am.health provides them with a relationship-driven model that does not trade quality for cheaper cost,” stated Frank Westermann, Co-founder and Co-CEO of 9am.health. “Many members of the 9am.health team, including myself and Co-CEO Anton Kittelberger, have diabetes and understand how difficult it is to prioritise your health when the healthcare system does not prioritise the patient. We are reducing the obstacles that people experience and surrounding them with compassionate care.”
“The 9am.health team has designed a unique consumer-directed and comprehensive diabetic experience that includes drugs, devices, labs, and treatment offered by diabetes experts all in one location. The pandemic revealed that health consumers are eager for a new healthcare system that responds to their demands, improves care, and does it at a reasonable cost “said Glen Tullman, Managing Partner at 7Wire Ventures and CEO of Transcarent. “The 9am.health leadership team is composed of entrepreneurs that are purpose-driven, enthusiastic, and skilled in translating people’s needs into amazing experiences, and I look forward to collaborating with the team on their continued growth.”
Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are two of the most common chronic illnesses in the United States, costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars each year and costing individuals thousands of dollars in medical bills. Both populations are at high risk of acquiring serious long-term health problems if their conditions are not addressed. Diabetes patients are also at a higher risk of having serious Covid-19 disease, according to research.