Health IT, Startups

Israeli startup Sweetch leverages AI for diabetes prevention

Earlier this year, the company, which raised $3.5 million in 2016, revealed the findings of a three-month study of its technology conducted at Johns Hopkins University.

Numerous medical stakeholders — from providers to startups — are targeting diabetes management as a way to improve patients’ health and cut down on overall healthcare costs. But one company out of Israel wants to stay one step ahead by focusing on preventing diabetes altogether.

Founded in 2013, Sweetch offers an artificial intelligence-based platform that seeks to identify those at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In a phone interview, co-founder and CEO Dana Chanan explained that her company’s solution “acts as a digital coach that works 24/7 for the user.” The company’s approach involves supplying users with the Sweetch app and a digital scale. Using AI, the startup sends individuals personalized recommendations, which adapt over time, about how they can be active and lose weight. Sweetch also gives patients a personalized weight loss plan.

The ultimate aim is to encourage individuals at risk of developing diabetes to integrate healthier habits (like physical activity) into their daily lives.

Chanan said the Tel Aviv startup has a B2B2C business model. It works with health providers, insurers and pharma companies to bring its approach to their patient populations. She noted Sweetch has customers in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia and is working to secure clients in Asia.

Earlier this year, Sweetch revealed the findings of a three-month clinical trial conducted at Johns Hopkins University. The study included 55 prediabetic adults at different levels of obesity. The results show that using Sweetch, participants lowered their A1C levels, increased their physical activity and lost weight. The full study is published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

In 2016, the startup raised $3.5 million in a Series A round led by equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd and Philips.

Chanan said Sweetch is now working on getting another round of funding. “We achieved a lot from the last round,” she said. “Now we need to scale up and be able to address all the potential in the market.”

Photo: filipefrazao, Getty Images