Startup Quit Genius has raised €10.1 million in a Series A round, led by Octopus Ventures with participation from Y Combinator, Startup Health and Triple Point Ventures. They join existing investors like Village Global, Semper Virens, Serena Ventures, as well as angel investors like Venus Williams.
Founded in 2017, Quit Genius is on a mission to empower people to quit their addictions and become the best version of themselves. Its flagship all-in-one programme combines digital therapy, nicotine replacement therapy and wearable technology to deliver holistic support to smokers looking to quit. The startup was created by a team of medical doctors with the realization that the status quo was unacceptable and that tech could scale their medical knowledge to help +100 million people quit their substance addiction. Currently, Quit Genius is spread between offices in London, New York and San Francisco, employing around 30+ people.
Nicotine has also long been recognized as a gateway drug that opens the door to alcohol and substance use. It is the most prevalent substance addiction in the US, affecting 48 million people and costing employers €110 billion in direct healthcare costs every year. The challenge of tobacco addiction has been complicated by vaping, which has seen meteoric rise amongst adolescents.
Quit Genius replaces legacy telephone quit-lines with a new model of care that combines programmatically-delivered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), expert coaching, a connected breath sensor and easy access to clinically-proven medication.In the last 3 years, Quit Genius has become a top digital program for tobacco cessation, enrolling 700K participants and over a dozen self-insured employers and health plans across the US, Canada and the UK. As a physician-led company, to date Quit Genius has been validated in six peer-reviewed papers, with the largest randomized-controlled trial for a digital addiction programme soon to be published.
Yusuf Sherwani, MD, CEO & co-founder, states: “Despite making significant progress, it’s still day one at Quit Genius! Scaling to hundreds of enterprise partners and millions of people will require deep investment in our technology and infrastructure. The messy reality is that an individual addicted to nicotine is also much more likely to have other substance use addictions and the wrong approach can often see people swapping one addiction for another.”
In 2020, the startup will launch one of the first dynamic addiction programmes encompassing capabilities across alcohol dependence and opioid use disorder. The team states that offering a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in addiction treatment, so users will receive a highly curated and personalized experience irrespective of which addiction or combination of addictions they are working to overcome.