SHIFT Invest completes investment in British start-up that helps people live healthier lives
The Dutch impact investment fund SHIFT Invest is the lead investor in a £3 million (over €3,340,000) financing round in the start-up Changing Health. This company is the market leader in digital behavioural change programs in the British healthcare sector and may be coming to the Netherlands soon.
Changing Health combines proven psychological instruments with artificial intelligence. These are offered through a platform and tele-coaching with the aim of changing habits and lifestyle. This results in affordable and scalable lifestyle programs with proven effectiveness for, among others, type 2 diabetes patients. The company was founded in 2016 by Professor Mike Trenell as a spin-off from Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Through artificial intelligence, each user gets a personalised experience. Big data is used to identify the social, environmental and demographic factors that influence a person's lifestyle. For example: person X thinks he doesn't have enough time to exercise, most of his friends drink alcohol three to four times a week and he lives 500 meters away from three takeaway restaurants. His individual programme is then tailor-made and provides the right support for his specific situation.
A private coach
In the UK, Changing Health works with healthcare professionals and insurers who offer this lifestyle intervention to their patients, something which is already deployed by thirty National Health Service organisations in the UK. This programme educates and coaches people with type 2 diabetes to change their lifestyle and condition. The user is offered digital learning modules in the app, receives digital nudges and advice and has one year of contact by phone with their own coach who is specially trained in health psychology.
"Changing Health is a great example of how digital innovation can reach people with an urgent need for health improvement," says Florentine Fockema Andreae, partner of SHIFT Invest. "The company is led by a strong team that combines nine years of scientific research and academic knowledge with a business approach to help people actually live healthier lives."
The investment will further expand the range of lifestyle programmes with a preventive programme for people at risk of type 2 diabetes and a weight loss programme. In addition, Changing Health is also expanding its intervention programmes to countries other than the UK. Together with its investor Menzis, SHIFT Invest is looking into the possibilities for Changing Health in the Netherlands. "Changing Health is growing rapidly," says CEO John Grumitt. "Health experts recognise that accessible lifestyle intervention is the best way for people to live longer and healthier lives. This investment enables us to offer 'lifestyle as a medicine' to people internationally".
In addition to SHIFT Invest, the existing shareholders also participate in this investment round. These are Tate & Lyle Ventures and North East Innovation Fund (supported by European Regional Development Fund).