Have you ever thought about the state of your metabolic health? And more importantly, do you truly understand what metabolic health entails? The term involves the harmonious regulation of blood sugar levels, effective management of lipids, maintaining a healthy weight, orchestrating hormonal balance, and quelling inflammation among other factors.
Now, imagine stepping into a doctor’s office not just to address symptoms, but to also have medical professionals that seek to understand and treat the root causes of your diseases, rather than merely alleviating their surface manifestations.
As you enter the clinic, you see how the sterile, clinical atmosphere of traditional medical spaces has given way to an environment that feels more like a wellness center. The walls have images of fruits and vegetables, and the air is filled with the soothing aroma of herbal teas.
This isn’t your typical doctor’s visit; this is an exploration into the essence of your metabolic well-being. And this journey begins with a comprehensive assessment that goes beyond routine check-ups. Instead of focusing on symptoms, the medical team focuses deep into your metabolic profile.
And the need for such an approach is definitely rising, as poor metabolic health has been the primary cause of metabolic diseases, which today make up over 74% of deaths globally and affect roughly half of all adults worldwide.
For example, diabetes, just one of the metabolic diseases that are devastating human health, currently affects 468 million people worldwide. An additional 316 million with impaired glucose tolerance are at high risk from the disease, which is expected to increase to 471 million by 2035, data from the International Diabetes Federation shows.
Furthermore, with more than 800 million people worldwide living with obesity, raising awareness of it as a metabolic disease, increasing understanding of its roots and the solutions needed to address them, as well as changing society’s perception of and response to obesity, all remain key to tackling this pervasive health challenge.
The CEE is not immune to many of these health challenges as well, as societies in the region experience changes in dietary habits, sedentary lifestyles, and the increasing prevalence of metabolic disorders. Then, there is also the transformative potential of weight loss virtual clinics that combine behavioral change with drugs such as Wegovy and Ozempic, and that is, albeit slowly, becoming a trend throughout the region.
From personalized exercise plans to mindfulness practices, the focus of startups working on metabolic health is also on cultivating habits that resonate with your unique metabolic rhythm, promoting not just physical health but also mental and emotional well-being.
All of this is not just a doctor’s visit; it’s an odyssey into a new era of healthcare – in this article, we explore the CEE startups that are working on making such an approach a reality for regional healthcare systems.
Our list is ever-expanding so please feel free to reach us and drop some suggestions at [email protected]
What they do: Holi is a Polish digital metabolic health clinic that offers a holistic approach to treating obesity and overweight.
The Polish startup, founded in early 2023 by Polish entrepreneurs Pawel Seweryn and Mikolaj Szymanski, started with, as they say, the most comprehensive health program on the market aimed at treating obesity. As a registered medical entity, the clinic puts emphasis on the cooperation of experienced nutritionists, scientists, and a medical board that oversees the methodology, as it aims to change the perception of what metabolic health is. Earlier this month, Holi also raised a pre-seed investment of €680K, led by German fund specializing in the HealthTech sector, YZR Capital.
What they do: The Croatian-Slovenian foodtech startup develops technologically advanced production of natural detox juices and healthy meals. Its team is made of a dozen young experts who turn the highest quality natural foods, fruits and vegetables into healthy meals and juices using the high hydrostatic pressure (HPP) processing process.
Unlike the classic pasteurization, the company says its method helps preserve the taste, color, texture, enzymes, and nutrients to the greatest extent possible, while also offering complete plans for fasting processes lasting from two or four weeks. Last year, Juicefast raised €750K in an investment round led by Croatian impact investment VC Feelsgood.
Name: IQ Biozoom
What they do: Founded in 2020, the Polish startup Biozoom develops technology that enables testing of biomarker levels with laboratory accuracy based on saliva analysis. The technology allows for non-invasive and painless testing, compared to invasive glucometers that are used to monitor glucose levels for people with diabetes.
Their monitors also allow precise, real-time monitoring of biomarkers such as glucose levels, fertility issues, and human metabolism at home. The results of testing can be sent to the app and analyzed retrospectively. In October this year, the startup announced that it had secured an undisclosed fresh round of investment led by the Nordic Link VC fund.
Country: Czech Republic
What they do: Founded in 2019, Vitadio is a Czech platform that develops clinically validated digital therapeutics for type 2 diabetes. Their products are a new class of medicine that combines evidence-based approaches with technology to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes at scale. The company’s app for iOS and Android is approved to support the treatment of type 2 diabetes and is fully covered by health insurers in Germany.
The app also supports patients between doctor’s visits with personalized digital care programs and scalable support from its team of registered dieticians. Earlier this year, the Czech company closed a €3M investment round led by Theras Group and Jafam Holding.
Name: Ani Biome
What they do: Ani Biome is a Croatian age-tech startup that offers a personalized approach to metabolic health and longevity based on an AI-driven fermented micro blends program. The startup offers and quantifies various measures of systemic inflammation and offers personalized metabiotics – metabolites of fermentation.
The startup’s platform, the AI Vitality Concierge Ani provides guidance to clients through the use of non-invasive diagnostics, including daily psychobiosocial questions, tongue and skin scans, and wearables data. The platform then uses AI algorithms to create a personalized monthly plan that consists of wide-spectrum metabolites produced through Ani Biome’s multi-level methodology of fermentation.
In addition to metabolite research, Ani Biome is also developing a bank of metabolites, which currently holds 1,500 of them and which will serve as a unique approach to each client. In May 2023, Ani Biome opened a new round, aiming to raise €10M, and planning to invest most of the funds in their production capacities.
What they do: Kcalmar is a Poland-based platform for nutritionists and a marketplace that connects dieticians with patients in Poland.
Founded in 2015, the system covers the needs of the supply side and demand side of the nutrition services market, utilizing the Kcalmar.pro innovative software for dieticians, which is the result of cooperation between specialists in dietetics and programming. Kcalmar’s team is made up of young professionals who seek to create the foundation of modern dietetics.
What they do: Megi is a Croatian company that provides a virtual cardiovascular health assistant that monitors, educates, and supports patients 24/7. Using strong clinical validation, behavioural science, and AI, the tool empowers patients to become active participants in the management of their disease.
As a virtual heart nurse, Megi provides human-like interaction for every individual patient through daily life with their disease and treatment plan. The tool was created at one of the largest cardiovascular centers in the CEE, the Magdalena Clinic in the Croatian capital of Zagreb, serving as a laboratory for continuous development and experimentation.
What they do: TiqDiet is a combined online platform and mobile app that helps create and run successful diets.
Founded in 2016, the SaaS tool for nutrition planning and diet analysis connects every dietitian, nutritionist, and personal trainer with their customers. The platform helps create diet plans faster and send them to customers via web, mobile, or smartwatch. TiqDiet features a fast creation of diets and recommendations, real-time customer monitoring, and electronic records for each customer.
What they do: GenetX is a Romanian biotechnology company, whose solution is a nutrigenomic test based on a single saliva sample and through which patients learn how they can lose weight. According to the company, their solutions aim to disrupt the diet, wellbeing, and nutritional consultancy industry.
Founded in 2017, the Romanian biotech aims to democratize access to information, so that “everybody can find therapeutic nutritional solutions based on genetic code and other analysis”. The Romanian company also looks to empower nutritionists and clinicians to increase their service quality by offering them genetic and microbiome tests for their patients.
What they do: GlucoActive is a medtech startup developing non-invasive glucose measurement based on innovative and patent-pending spectroscopy.
Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Wrocław, its first product is a non-invasive glucometer called GlucoStation – a desktop device intended for home use by patients suffering from diabetes. GlucoActive’s first device in 2020 was subjected to an initial clinical experiment on 60 patients in a diabetology clinic in Wroclaw. The company is now working on its final wearable device.