Nutrition startup Culina Health raises $4.75m funding to democratize access to clinical nutrition

Nutrition startup Culina Health raises $4.75m funding to democratize access to clinical nutrition

Published: 01-06-2022 10:13:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 288 | Tags:

Culina Health, Co-founded by Registered Dietitian Vanessa Rissetto and Steven Kuyan, announced it has secured $4.75 million in seed funding after 18 months of bootstrapped growth to a 20 practitioner practice, delivering over 18,000 sessions to date. The personalized nutrition platform is exclusively powered by registered dietitians committed to  making clinical nutrition accessible to millions of everyday Americans.

Funding is co-led by Healthworx, the investment arm of CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, with additional participation by Rethink Impact, Tensility Ventures, Alpine Meridian Ventures, Knightsgate Ventures, Graham & Walker, Arkitekt Ventures, and Redo Ventures. Culina Health is the first digital nutrition platform to receive funding from a venture group affiliated with an insurance payer, in this case, Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Mortality rates from heart and metabolic disease are at an all-time high, despite the fact that science has shown that nutrition can play a powerful role in preventing or even reversing certain conditions.  However, insurers are slashing consumer nutrition benefits due to a lack of care consistency and measurable outcomes. Culina Health is the only platform in the market providing clinical-level, integrated care management in a scalable and cost-efficient way. Over the next five years, demand for clinical nutrition services is forecasted to multiply due to continued societal emphasis on disease prevention through healthy dietary habits, which will be amplified by lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Vanessa Risetto, Culina Co-CEO, Culina Health: ''To date, tech companies who focus on nutrition have taken personalization out of the equation and focused on fads and/or "one-size-fits-all" solutions. What have we gotten out of that? An obesity rate that has increased 30% in the last 30 years (12.2% in 1991 to 42.4% in 2021) and one-third of the U.S. population with Type 2 diabetes - preventable conditions that can be resolved with care from a dietitian. Registered dietitians haven't been seen as an integral part in prevention and we see that as a huge missed opportunity in this $78BN market. We are excited to work  with investors who share our vision and want to help Culina reach the 88% of the US population that needs the support of a Registered Dietitian."

Culina Health is covered by most major insurance plans, also making it more affordable and accessible than other consumer nutrition platforms. 

Heidi Patel, Managing Partner, Rethink Impact: "We invest in female leaders using evidence-based solutions to deliver innovations to the communities who need them most. We love that Culina works alongside existing care providers and insurers to provide personalized, tech-enabled nutritional care for its patients, many of whom make less than $50,000 a year. Vanessa and Steve, and their team, have developed an impactful care delivery methodology that will drive compelling health outcomes for millions of patients."

Doba Parushev, Director of Venture Capital, Healthworx: "We are excited to invest in Culina Health at this pivotal moment. For people who are living with chronic conditions, and especially GI and autoimmune ones, managing care can be daunting. Getting symptoms under control while balancing labwork, specialist visits, nutrition, lifestyle modifications, medication - it is often a stressful and overwhelming process. Culina's ability to use registered dietitians for complex care support has the potential to change all of this. Working with and alongside people's existing care providers, Culina not only addresses nutritional needs in a personalized and scalable way, but ensures that the entire journey - from diagnosis to treatment to management - is as seamless, efficient, and effective as possible. Vanessa and Steve's team, the differentiated product they have built, and their impactful care delivery methodology  are all the right ingredients to deliver compelling results and change the lives of patients."

Funds from this round will be used to continue to invest in product development, technology and expansion.