Found, a startup focused on weight care management, is emerging from stealth today with $32 million in total funding and the news that it has appointed former Bumble COO Sarah Jones Simmer as its new chief executive.
Found was incubated at Atomic, a San Francisco-based venture studio in the spring of 2020. Earlier this year, it raised $24 million in a Series A round led by GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Atomic, with participation from Define Ventures. And over the course of the last year, it raised $8 million in previously unannounced seed funding, largely from Atomic in addition to Define Ventures.
Jack Abraham, co-founder of Found and Atomic managing partner, said the startup was built to address the “challenging” issue of weight care while incorporating telehealth. (Abraham also is a co-founder of hims and hers, a telehealth service for wellness and care.)
“With over 70% of the population overweight or obese and these numbers increasing at a concerning rate, we saw a need for a personalized, science-based approach to help bend the curve,” said Abraham, who initially started Found with Atomic's Emily Yudofsky.
And while some point solutions exist for a specific medication or treatment, Abraham added, Found was started in an effort to offer “a comprehensive, tailored, and precision-based solution to help anyone looking to lose weight.”
By comprehensive, he means that the startup draws from “dozens” of medications, supplements, diet plans, exercise routines and coaching programs to help its members achieve their personal weight and health goals.
Since its 2020 launch, Found has helped “tens of thousands” of members lose over 200,000 pounds, according to co-founder and COO Swathy Prithivi, who had served as the company’s interim CEO before Jones Simmer’s hiring earlier this month. It is currently available in 31 states at an average cost of $100 per month with a variety of plans.
“A lot of what spurred creating Found was that obesity is a disease, not a decision, and that it's time that we modernized weight care so that obesity is treated like a disease and not a decision,” she told TechCrunch.
Weight, continued Prithivi, is “deeply stigmatized” as a category.
“We've all been told to eat less and move more, and then shamed for our lack of willpower when we don't see success,” she said, “but there's very little success to be seen when 50% of the U.S. is on diets but only 5% lose weight. And this is despite decades of research that show us that losing weight and keeping it off is more than just diet and working out.”
Found, she said, aims to help people focus more on body positivity and what they can “find” -- such as being able to finish a 5K or keeping up with their grandkids or a newfound confidence -- during their weight management journey. And it does it by combining advice from clinicians, a community of others going through the same process and “prescription interventions” when deemed necessary. The company aims for a holistic, personalized and integrated approach that includes addressing sleep, “mindful” eating, movement, stress and a person’s biology.
Jones Simmer comes to Found from Bumble, where she laid the foundation for that company’s entire initial public offering. During that process, she was battling Stage 3 breast cancer -- doing drafts of the S-1 from a chemo chair and sending it to the board the morning of her double mastectomy.
The move to Found from a company she’d worked at from its early days of being founded out of a two-bedroom apartment was, in large part, a personal one that stemmed from her experience in battling cancer. She was also drawn to the company’s mission to fight stigma around obesity and weight loss in a similar way that Bumble fought stigmas around online dating.
“I entered remission very shortly after the IPO, and after a pretty grueling year or so of treatment that I think was like, 20-plus rounds of chemo, multiple surgeries and 37 rounds of radiation,” Jones Simmer said. “ All of that really causes you to reflect on how you want to spend your days and what's important to you.”
So despite her deep respect for Bumble CEO and founder Whitney Wolfe Herd, and love for the company and team, Jones Simmer left Bumble earlier this year because she wanted to “take a bet” on herself.
“At one point during my fight with cancer, my doctor gave me a timeline that made me reconsider whether I had a lifetime to achieve my personal and professional goals,” she said. “My prognosis looks better now, but my viewpoint has changed permanently.”
Plus, she says, she missed building and wanted to go back to something earlier stage.
“I wanted the chance to integrate the lessons I learned at Bumble and really think about building something else that had a similar opportunity for impact and that could touch people's lives,” Jones Simmer told TechCrunch.
Today, Found has 130 employees, including its coaching staff, and a large part of its capital will go toward expanding its headcount. The company also announced today that it has named Alexandre Linares as its new chief product officer. Linares previously served as the VP of product at Headspace, where he oversaw product and growth for the app, which today serves an estimated 70 million people.
GV Partner Frederique Dame, who has also invested in the likes of Pill Club and Kindbody, has joined Found’s board as part of the Series A.
She said she backed Found because its mission resonated with her.
“Found takes a fresh approach to helping people lose weight, bringing the weight clinic model online with personalized, evidence-based coaching designed to improve patient outcomes,” wrote Dame via email.
Also, Dame and Prithivi worked closely together at Uber from 2012 to 2016.
“I always admired her focus and dedication to operational excellence,” Dame said.
Found, she believes, is unique in two key ways. For one, its toolkit’s diversity. And second, its approach to stigma and attempting to shift the narrative around weight management.
“It’s the most integrated platform, and the most tailored to your needs,” Dame told TechCrunch. “And, Found makes access to care easy and convenient, while emphasizing body positivity and self acceptance.”
The article was updated post-publication to reflect that Austin is not its headquarters. Found is actually remote-first but its new CEO is based in Austin.