Weight-inclusive care company knownwell raises $20M from a16z

Steven Loeb · December 20, 2023 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/57a3

The company offers in-person and telemedicine services to treat the root cause of early obesity

While obesity can cause health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, and joint problems, excess weight is often a symptom of an underlying health problem, not the problem itself, and stigmatizing patients can actually lead to worse health outcomes.

"Lifestyle intervention alone does not work for the vast majority of patients with obesity. And separately, but relatedly, all available, peer-reviewed data suggests that pulling patients off of GLP-1’s leads to rapid weight regain for the vast majority of patients," said Brooke Boyarsky-Pratt, CEO and co-founder of knownwell, a weight-inclusive primary care and metabolic health company, which announced a $20 million Series A funding round on Wednesday. 

"When a patient regains weight and ends up at the same weight they were originally, they are actually less metabolically healthy than before they lost the weight originally," 

Founded by Pratt, who has had lifelong obesity, and Dr. Angela Fitch, the President of the Obesity Medicine Association, knownwell looks to uncover and treat the root cause of early obesity.

The company, which offers patients virtual care, while also owning and operating its own clinic in Needham, Massachusetts, takes a clinically and patient driven approach to effectively partner with patients for long term results, Pratt explained, meaning it's trying to change the conversation with partners.

"People shouldn’t be looking for a GLP-1 solution. They should be looking for a comprehensive, longitudinal program for patients with the chronic disease of obesity," she said.

"We encourage employers to ask for longitudinal, peer reviewed data from potential partners. At knownwell, we’re clear about what the clinical evidence suggests and follow the standard of care. Put simply, how we mitigate this issue is that we provide care plans that adhere to what we know works."

Among knownwell's offerings are metabolic health services, which can be fit into a patient's integrative care plan, which includes remote patient-monitoring, nutrition counseling, behavioral health services, stress and sleep management, and prescription medications. It also offers primary care, nutrition counseling with registered dieticians, and behavioral health services.

Since its founding in 2022, knownwell has served over 5,000 patients.

The funding round, which was led by A16Z with participation from existing investors, including Flare Capital Partners, brings the company's total funding to $24.5 million. This money will be used, in part, to furthering knownwell's enterprise solution in which it partners with health systems, payors, and employers.

"Our enterprise offering is an important way for us to reach patients because it increases accessibility. We will be able to serve more patients through payers and employers," said Pratt. 

The funding will also be put toward expansion of knownwell's clinics and telehealth offering, as well as product development, including incorporating AI-powered patient stratification, asynchronous communication, and provider workflow enablement tools. 

Along with the new funding, the company also unveiled knownwell teens, a new clinical offering aimed at children and teens. 

According to the CDC, the prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents from 2017 to 2020 was 19.7%, or about 14.7 million people. That included 26.2% among Hispanic children, 24.8% among non-Hispanic Black children, 16.6% among non-Hispanic White children, and 9.0% among non-Hispanic Asian children.

(Image source: knownwell.co)

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