Mobile blood glucose monitor startup Telcare gets $33M round

Telecare's glucose monitoring device--Courtesy of Telecare

The race to the noninvasive glucose monitor is apparently passé. Right now it's all about getting glucose level data on mobile devices as well as enabling easy analysis and sharing of the data. That's what the wireless glucose monitor from Telcare does. For its efforts, Telcare got a $32.5 million Series C round.

The company claims its wireless blood glucose monitor is the "first FDA-cleared cellular blood glucose meter." It transmits data to mobile devices, even in the absence of a Wi-Fi connection, shares the data with a physician and provides data-analysis tools.

Telcare is not alone in its mobile blood glucose monitoring efforts. Several companies have mobile plug-in blood glucose monitors, including the iHealth Align that the company has dubbed the world's tiniest blood glucose monitor. In September, iHealth got a $25 million cash infusion from the venture arm of China's largest electronics company, Xiaomi Ventures.

And startup Glooko is working to make existing blood glucose monitors from a variety of manufacturers smartphone-compatible.

Earlier this week, market-leading Dexcom ($DXCM) unveiled a device to make its continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) mobile-compatible. Its CGM monitors work via a wearable sensor patch that has a tiny needle; it also requires a handheld receiver and a small transmitter that is attachable to clothing. The mobile-enabling device functions like a docking station for the receiver.

Most CGMs officially require two daily finger sticks for calibration, but Abbott recently released one that does not require any finger sticks at all--but it's not smartphone-compatible yet.

As for Telcare, its financing was led by Norwest Venture Partners with participation from Mosaic Health Solutions. Existing investors Sequoia Capital and Qualcomm Ventures also participated. Qualcomm invested via its Qualcomm Life Fund, which backs wireless startups in personal wellness and disease management.

Norwest partner Casper de Clercq joins the Telcare board as part of the financing. The Bethesda, MD-based company had previously raised $25.4 million.

"Telcare is capitalizing on two trends," de Clercq said in a statement. "The need to provide better care at lower cost, and the innovation in mobile, connected devices to provide timely clinical care."

Telcare's blood glucose monitor retails for $149 on the company's site, with 50 test strips selling for a $55.99. The inexpensive pricing means that institutional healthcare payers can be cut out of the picture easily.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story inadvertently had the incorrect pricing for Telcare test strips.

- here is the PE Hub story
- and the SEC filing

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