Digital health coach Noom nets $540M to tackle diabetes, high blood pressure

Some see the dollar amount of a venture capital round as a mark of what a company has been able to achieve so far, while others may argue it’s a measure of the tasks it has ahead. But once you cross the half-billion-dollar line, does it matter?

Noom, developer of digital coaching programs for wellness and weight management, has collected about $540 million to leverage its behavior-change platform into virtual treatments for high blood pressure, diabetes, stress and sleep.

Coming in at nearly 10 times larger than its most recent VC round in 2019, the fundraising also serves as a yardstick of how much the world has changed. Since then, partly in thanks to the international pandemic, people have come to value digital care offerings that can reach users wherever they are, day or night—and Noom aims to do so through its network of more than 3,000 full-time health coaches.

The Series F round was led by the company’s new investor Silver Lake, joined by Oak HC/FT, Temasek and Novo Holdings. Returning backers included Sequoia Capital, RRE and Samsung Ventures.

“Noom is a pioneer and clear leader in building weight management solutions that combine sophisticated technology, human coaching and psychology to support long-term, positive health outcomes,” Silver Lake’s co-CEO Greg Mondre and Managing Director Adam Karol said in a statement, adding that they see its “consumer-first technology” being applied to a variety of chronic and behavioral health applications.

RELATED: Noom's diabetes prevention app posts strong clinical results

Last May, Noom said it would work with the blood glucose monitoring company LifeScan and its portfolio of OneTouch meters and test strips to launch a digital pilot program in Type 2 diabetes and weight loss. The project would integrate the company’s OneTouch Reveal app with Noom’s diabetes management hub, and track clinical outcomes as well as patient satisfaction. 

Shortly after that, Noom published a study showing that its flagship, smartphone-based weight loss program was more effective in older adults than younger ones. Among more than 14,500 participants between 35 and 85 tracked over the course of four months, weight decreased as ages increased.

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“The prevalence of obesity and diabetes among middle-aged and older adults is on the rise, and with an increase in the world population of adults 60 years and older, the demand for health interventions across age groups is growing,” Noom’s clinical research coordinator, Laura DeLuca, said at the time.

Last year also saw Noom ink a partnership with Eversana to tackle medication adherence in clinical trials and help participants manage side effects and lifestyle changes.

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The new capital will help Noom expand its commercial reach as well: The company aims to spread into new geographic areas as well as drill into employee benefits programs. A portion of the proceeds is also slated for share buybacks. 

Elsewhere, investor demand for digital health companies continues strong the world over, with Swedish developer Kry netting $316 million to scale up its platform last month, while Munich-based Kaia Health raised $75 million after it saw its virtual physical therapy business grow by 600% in the face of COVID-19.

In addition, the Type 2 diabetes-focused Virta Health scored a $133 million Series E round, just months after raising $65 million, to fuel the development of its nutrition and coaching programs.

Meanwhile, players such as CVS Health, 7wireVentures, Accelmed and Endeavor Vision have recently put together hundreds of millions to launch investment funds focused on building up new digital health companies.