Livongo Health Grows with Purchase of Weight Loss Startup Retrofit

Xconomy San Francisco — 

Livongo Health, a Bay Area-based developer of devices and software for managing chronic health conditions, has acquired Retrofit, a Chicago startup that develops programs designed to help people lose weight and prevent disease.

Mountain View, CA-based Livongo, which last week raised a $105 million round of outside investment, says that its purchase of Retrofit will allow Livongo to more fully address the needs of people who live with diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic conditions—and those at risk of developing one.

Livongo, which also has a Chicago office, did not disclose any financial terms in a news release announcing the deal.

The company says in the release that it expects to bring on Retrofit’s entire 80-person workforce, including CEO Mary Pigatti, as well as the company’s “seven-plus years of data insights.”

Livongo says its clients are likely to benefit from the company’s acquisition of Retrofit. Livongo’s customer list includes health insurers, as well as large, self-insured employers like PepsiCo (NASDAQ: PEP) and US Foods (NYSE: USFD).

“For our clients, we’re now addressing the comprehensive health challenges their employees face,” Glen Tullman, Livongo’s founder and CEO, says in the release. “For our members, we now have more services that make it easier to prevent individuals from getting sick and, if they do, working with them to return to health and stay healthy.”

Retrofit, which launched in 2011, works with employees of Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU), Aon (NYSE: AON), and other companies to help them lose weight. The startup uses a combination of personalized coaching, group classes, and online communities to encourage healthy eating and exercise habits. Retrofit’s team of coaches includes registered dietitians, exercise physiologists, and other specialists, according to the company’s website.

Livongo says that it will rebrand Retrofit’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) as Livongo DPP powered by Retrofit. The program joins ones Livongo has created for diabetes and hypertension patients, the company says.

Over the years, programs from companies like Weight Watchers (NYSE: WTW) have been magnets for people seeking to shed some pounds. Weight Watchers remains a popular option for people who go on diets, but some of the things it provides to participants—information from nutritionists and peer support, for example—can now be found in online communities.

For example, Prescribe Nutrition was created by two nutritionists to develop wellness programs and allow its thousands of users to connect with professionals. The San Francisco-based startup also provides a forum where individuals and corporations can support and interact with one another on topics ranging from meal planning to stress management.

Retrofit’s approach, meanwhile, is based on research involving tailoring weight loss regimens to each individual’s needs, Livongo says. Robert Kushner, a professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and a member of Retrofit’s clinical advisory board, is considered to be a leader in the field, Livongo says.

Retrofit had raised more than $22 million in outside investment before agreeing to become part of Livongo, SEC filings show.

“By joining Livongo, Retrofit strengthens its ability to deliver personalized weight management and disease prevention solutions across diverse populations at scale,” Pigatti says in a prepared statement.