#Asia EDBI targets solutions for diabetes through investment in US health tech startup

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Livongo's blood glucose meter for diabetes

Livongo’s meter connects through mobile networks to upload a patient’s data for analysis and sharing. Photo credit: Livongo.

EDBI, the investment arm of Singapore’s Economic Development Board, announced today it has joined a US$52.5 million funding round in California-based Livongo, a health tech startup that creates products for chronic disease patients.

Described as a “growth round,” it is co-led by US-based venture capital firm General Catalyst and Sweden-headquartered investment company Kinnevik. EDBI joined the round along with American Investment Holdings and Microsoft Ventures, as did all of Livongo’s existing investors, including VC firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers and Sapphire Ventures.

Using a mobile data-connected device and an online platform, Livongo helps people with diabetes track and upload their blood glucose levels and receive analytics insights. They can then share the data with their family members, caregivers, or doctors.

The three-year-old company will use the funding to improve its diabetes management platform and expand its services to other chronic conditions. Examples include high blood pressure and cholesterol, which are observed in a lot of diabetes patients as well.

12.3% of Singaporeans over the age of 18 suffer from diabetes and this number is estimated to increase.

“This new funding will accelerate our investments in R&D and expansion of our rules engine from 10,000 to more than 100,000 rules, allowing us to completely personalize the experience our members have,” says Livongo CEO Glen Tullman.

Through partnerships with private companies and health plans in the US, Livongo claims to reach more than 3 million people. It wants to use that traction to expand overseas.

By investing in Livongo, EDBI addresses a huge healthcare need in Singapore and Asia. An estimated 60 percent the world’s diabetics live in Asia.

Of Singapore’s population, 12.3 percent has been diagnosed with diabetes, which is over the average for Asian countries. 440,000 Singaporeans over the age of 18 suffered from the condition in 2014 and this number is estimated to reach 1 million by 2050.

Other US-based startups EDBI has invested in during the past few months include data security firm Druva and retail intelligence company RetailNext.

In February, it co-led Singapore-based healthcare marketplace CXA’s series B round with Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital Group and Philips Healthcare.

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