Health Care

Former dating app exec to lead weight management startup Found

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Found, a startup aiming to bring the weight management clinic model to the masses, has hired Sarah Jones Simmer as its next CEO, the company announced Thursday.

Jones Simmer previously served as chief operating officer and chief strategy officer for Bumble, a dating app. Found also hired Headspace’s former vice president of product, Alexandre Linares, as its chief product officer.

The ex-Bumble executive was inspired to get into the healthcare business during her ongoing battle with breast cancer, she said.

“The past year made me rethink everything. In May 2020, my world was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer.,” Jones Simmer wrote in a blog post. “I had spent a year thinking about ‘health’ more than I had in my entire life, and as a result could appreciate the unique inflection point Found was addressing in the larger health ecosystem, by tackling one of the biggest health-related issues that exists today: weight care and improving our relationships with our bodies. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be a part of it.”

Found seeks to help consumers manage their weight through customized plans that address issues such as diet, exercise, sleep and stress, and can include prescription medications.

The company believes its direct-to-consumer model makes weight care more accessible and helps people overcome the stigma often associated with being overweight or obese, Jones Simmers said in an interview. Patients who want to lose weight also can face long wait times to meet with specialists, she said. “We’re now introducing a much more seamless experience,” she said.

Found doesn’t have immediate plans to partner with health systems, insurers or employers, but it could in the future, Jones Simmer said.

“Comorbidities are definitely something we have an eye on,” Jones Simmer said. “If we nail this clinical care delivery model, there will certainly be other options available to us and ways that we can integrate it with other treatment.”

Found raised $24 million in Series A funding earlier this year from Alphabet’s venture capital investment arm, GV, and venture capital firms Atomic and Define Ventures. The company also received $8 million in previously unannounced seed funding, according to a Found blog post.

Investment in digital health exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, with $19 billion invested in the first half of 2021 alone, according to Mercom. Telehealth, wellness and mobile health apps have seen the largest gains year over year and show no signs of letting up, despite a drop off in telehealth visits.

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