Welltok raises $25M to personalize healthy living

Welltok's CafeWell platform is tailored to each specific person, their body and their goals

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
October 15, 2014
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I've recently started to change my diet in order to lose weight, and there's no getting around the fact that shedding pounds is a thankless job. It requires you to rob yourself of things you enjoy, there's no one else around to even compare yourself to, let along to encourage you along. It's no wonder that so many people who try to do this fail.

Social health and fitness network Welltok wants to change that by making being healthy an experience that can actually be somewhat rewarding. The company has just raised $25 million in new funding, it was announced on Wednesday. The funding, which was led by Bessemer Venture Partners, is the first close of a planned $37 million round. The company expects to fill out the other $12 million by the end of this year.

The company had previously raised $48 million, most recently a $22.1 million round in February of this year. The company has now raised $63 million in total venture capital funding from investors that include New Enterprise Associates, IBM, Qualcomm Ventures, Emergence Capital Partners and InterWest Partners. When this round closes, the company will have raised $75 million in all. 

"We are seizing the moment – our vision of connecting consumers with personalized activities to optimize their health and reward them for doing so is converging with the market’s drive to get consumers – not just patients – more involved and accountable in their own health,"  Jeff Margolis, chairman and CEO of Welltok, told VatorNews.

"This new funding round will support our business growth and platform development, and allow us to be even more agile in anticipating and targeting market demands."

Welltok is the developer of the CafeWell Health Optimization Platform, which is designed to incentivize people to eat better and exercise more. It doesn't just promote weight loss; it helps people with specific diseases and medical problems to manage their care.

Launched in 2011, CafeWell asks users to give information about themselves and their health wish list, after which the platform will give them activities tailored to their specific goals, including tips, tricks, and articles. Users can invite friends and family to join them, and make connections with health experts and other members.

The platform has integrations with at least two dozen popular apps and wearables, including FitBit, Wildflower Health, FatSecret, Jawbone and Wellsource, so an insurer or provider could use the platform to reward members for walking a certain number of steps each month, as measured by the FitBit device. The site also offers reward system, where users who meet certain goals have the chance to win prizes, such as gift cards and discounts.

Welltok also has partnerships with insurance companies, including Aetna, United Healthcare and Centura Hospital System, who give access to CafeWell to all of their members. While the company does not disclose how many members it has in total, a Welltok spokesperson told me that it is in the millions.

Users can remain anonymous, so they’re not sharing their health habits with their bosses or insurance providers, while health plan managers and employer groups have a way to engage users in health and wellness activities.

Founded in 2009, the Denver-based Welltok also has offices in New Jersey and Seattle, which came about from two acquisitions it made in the last year: rewards platform IncentOne and interactive media company Mindbloom.

It was also announced that Stephen Kraus, partner at BVP, will become a member of the board of directors at Welltok.

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