Bridges vol. 40, July 2014 / Startup Corner
By Robin Tim Weis
The facts are bleak: Today more than 347 million people worldwide have diabetes, and the metabolic disease is predicted to become the seventh leading cause of death by 2030, according to the World Health Organization.
This trend translates into the fact that more than 26 million children and adults in the United States, constituting nearly 10 percent of the entire US population, have diabetes, with diabetes afflicting some 25 percent of seniors, as outlined by the American Diabetes Association.
The facts are even grimmer when it comes to diabetes in youth. Today in the US, about 215,000 people under the age of 20 have diabetes. This is especially troubling as monitoring blood glucose can be a complex chore for young diabetics who seek active lifestyles. Often the necessity of monitoring blood sugar and administering insulin to keep the body in balance can be exhausting and demoralizing.
MySugr, an Austrian startup founded in 2011 by Debong, Frank Westermann, Gerald Stangl, and Michael Forisch, has vowed to make “diabetes management more fun.” The IOS-based app acts as a diabetes logbook that game-ifies the experience of monitoring and administering insulin levels. The application provides thorough feedback and encouraging motivation, allowing users to win points for every entry and devise challenges to help reach their personal goals.
The startup first gained fame for winning the startup competition of the 2011 Pioneers Festival in Vienna, which has been deemed the “smarter SXSW” by Forbes. MySugr went on to receive seed funding from the Berlin-based accelerator XLHealth. Previous investors in the startup include business investor Johann Hansmann and the Austrian Wirtschaftsservice.
Following its success in Europe, MySugr expanded to the US market. With the help of its joint venture partner Delta-PM, MySugr launched its FDA-approved diabetes management app in 2013. Consequently, Venture Beat deemed it one of Europe’s top 5 startups to watch in 2014. The startup now has offices in Vienna and San Francisco, with its app being available in 50 countries and in eight languages. Currently MySugr has more than 123,000 users. For more, and continually updated, information, please go to: www.mysugr.com.