Investment Thesis Area: Startups Using Nutrition to Improve Healthcare Outcomes

Click here to read the Investment Thesis Report.

FCA’s Fall 2018 Vanderbilt intern, Ethan Polan, was instrumental in publishing the report.

Here is an excerpt, “reducing the prevalence of obesity in America will result in numerous economic and health benefits for individuals and for the country. As is the case with many human behaviors, diet choices are difficult to change and maintain. Obesity is primarily attributable to individual choices, environmental and genetic factors, though the inherent conflict of interest that is created by government farm subsidies can make it difficult for consumers to make the right choice consistently. The companies highlighted in this report offer solutions that vary widely across a spectrum, from pairing consumers with registered dieticians, reversing and managing conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, to more effective means of counting calories. These companies rely primarily on two strategies, used together or independently: empowering and engaging the user through programs that promote stronger adherence to healthier diets, and better coordinating efforts between patients and care providers.  

Worth highlighting is how technology is revolutionizing the way we think about weight management. The pace of technological and scientific development has allowed for myriad approaches to the issue. Traditional approaches to weight management, like counting calories and nutrients, have been made more effective through the means of technologies like smart watches and smart scales, and their synchronization to mobile fitness applications. Apps also include photo platforms that allow dieticians to comment and give feedback on a user’s meal, modernizing a longstanding relationship between a dietician and a client that had typically been confined to an office. Of the more modern approaches highlighted in this report, some of the newest research has been commercialized through understanding how an individual’s metabolism responds to different food groups – fats, carbohydrates, sugars, and proteins – to help build a customized diet. These efforts help users think about not only eating healthier, but also eating smarter, as the basic premise is that a healthy diet varies from person to person and effective and sustainable weight management is achieved through personalized diet.

Building healthier eating habits is an onerous undertaking, and can oftentimes be discouraging – the American food and beverage industry has certainly not made it any easier, either. At FCA, we are excited about the entrepreneurs who recognize this and seek to find a long-term solution to improving healthcare outcomes through concentrated nutrition guidance. “