From their work with purpose-led start-up teams, BurdaPrincipal Investments have made some observations where social purpose provides start-ups with distinctive competitive advantages.
Hubert Burda Media has announced an investment in Quit Genius, a UK and US-based startup that uses cognitive behavioral therapy to help quit smoking and vaping tobacco products. Burda’s international growth capital arm BurdaPrincipal Investments (BPI) joined the $11 Million Series A funding round led by Octopus Ventures, with participation from Y Combinator, Startup Health, and Triple Point Ventures. Quit Genius will use the funding to expand into other types of addiction, such as alcohol and opioid addiction.
Addiction is a huge problem: One in four Americans battles a substance addiction that adversely affects their health. The healthcare costs associated with cigarettes and tobacco alone for US employers is $120bn annually. The global prevalence of smoking and other addictions, combined with global and national commitments to reduce rates of tobacco, alcohol and opioid use, presents a huge opportunity for a solution across multiple geographies and categories.
“At BPI we are working in-depth into the health tech space. One of the models we are excited about is digital therapeutics; their potential to further co-exist and disrupt traditional healthcare solutions with higher, more tangible ROIs driven by data. We are delighted to join the Quit Genius team and our fellow investors and are looking forward to being part of the journey!”
Amelia Townsend, Principal at BurdaPrincipal Investments
Founded by doctors
Quit Genius was built by doctors — Yusuf Sherwani (co-founder and CEO), Maroof Ahmed (co-founder and COO) and Sarim Siddiqui (co-founder and Head of Product) — who met on the first day of medical school. They saw the terrible effects of smoking on patients’ health but didn’t see doctors giving those patients a clear path to quit smoking.
Quit Genius is solving this problem by leveraging technology to provide customised, yet scalable cognitive behavioural therapy to help users quit 100% virtually. This is achieved through an app-based product using data insights to deliver a personalised program, specific to a user’s triggers; via qualified quit coaches, audio sessions, animated videos, and interactive exercises. This is combined in the case of smoking with a breath testing device that increases user accountability, and appropriate nicotine replacement therapy. Quit Genius are seeing exceptional outcomes backed by clinical research, and across multiple clients.