Digital disease management player Livongo sets sights on $100M IPO

Livongo Health, the diabetes management startup that branched into hypertension and behavioral health, filed on Friday to raise up to $100 million in its IPO. 

The company kept mum on how it would use the proceeds, saying that it would use them for “general corporate purposes, including working capital, operating expenses and capital expenditures,” in an SEC filing. It might decide to spend the cash on acquiring new businesses, products or technology, but has nothing set in stone yet, according to the filing. 

Mountain View, California-based Livongo started out by helping people manage their diabetes. Its first focus was building a cloud-based management program around the blood glucose meter. It’s a tool that may not be the “latest and greatest,” in the words of Chief Product Officer Amar Kendale, but that most people with diabetes use.  

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Patients use a connected blood glucose meter, which sends readings to the cloud. Patients can see those readings in a mobile app, where they can also get feedback and access certified diabetes educators to help keep their diabetes in check. 

In January 2018, the company added hypertension management to its program. One year later, it acquired the behavioral health-focused company MyStrength to pick up digital tools for conditions such as depression, chronic pain and opioid addiction. Livongo branched out because people often have more than one chronic disease or condition. 

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“Of the 135 million people who have chronic conditions, a significant percentage of them have more than one,” Livongo CEO Glen Tullman told FierceBiotech in January this year. “It turns out that when we look at people with Type 2 diabetes, 70% of those people have hypertension, and 70% of those people with hypertension and diabetes have a weight problem. And 70% of those people struggle with depression.” 

It’s all part of Livongo’s plan to address “the health of the whole person.” 

“Addressing issues in silos actually made healthcare more confusing, more complex and more costly,” Tullman said. Instead of focusing on individual diseases separately in each patient—with multiple devices, multiple pieces of software and multiple coaches—Livongo wants to get rid of the siloes and offer them in one package. 

In April, Amazon announced that its voice assistant, Alexa, had become HIPAA-compliant and that it had teamed up with six companies, including Livongo, to develop programs that can book doctor appointments and find the nearest urgent care center. Livongo’s offering allows members to ask for their last blood sugar reading, identify trends, and receive personalized “Health Nudges” based on their blood pressure. 

Livongo’s IPO comes just over a year after it reeled in a $105 million series E financing. It pegged those funds to “support rapid market growth,” develop its disease management platform and data science capabilities and integrate further with its clients and partners.