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Investors back health-tech startups to manage diabetes around the world

ImpactAlpha, April 25 –  Real-time data and personalized feedback are the buzzwords of new diabetes-management ventures worldwide. Nearly 600 million people will develop diabetes by 2035. Two-thirds of new cases will be in low- and middle-income countries, driven by urbanization, changes in diet and and increasingly sedentary lifestyles. In the U.S., where as many as 100 million adults are diabetic or prediabetic, the annual cost burden is at least $266 billion.

Costs like that have attracted health-tech ventures that promise to reduce them through management and prevention. Livongo Health, based in Chicago, raised $105 million to drive behavior change by combining a blood glucose meter, a cloud-based “digital dashboard,” and real-time information and support for patients. General Catalyst and Kinnevik led the round, and were joined by corporate venture funds Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and Microsoft Ventures, along with DFJ, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sapphire Ventures, Zaffre Investments, 7wire Ventures and Echo Health Ventures.

In Spain and Mexico, SocialDiabetes is a popular smartphone app that integrates with glucometers from multiple providers. Patients can share their information with caregivers, doctors and insurance companies, who can track their progress through a real-time dashboard and help them adhere to treatment plans. Barcelona-based SocialDiabetes raised undisclosed funding from venture capital firm ALLVP. SocialDiabetes has partnerships with reinsurance firm MunichRE, medical-device maker Abbott and telecomm provider Vodafone.

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