Pioneering Metabolic Health
Calibrate is a modern, medical metabolic health business that is changing the way the world treats weight. Founded in 2020, this New-York based healthcare startup has tapped into the metabolic health category by combining doctor-prescribed medication with one-on-one coaching—all personalized to an individual’s biology, goals and life for 10% weight loss and a metabolic reset that lasts. The company has raised $27.6 million and seen over 50% monthly growth since launching.
Isabelle Kenyon, the Founder and CEO of Calibrate, is an alumni of investment banking, the Ivy League and the Forbes 30 Under 30. She also headed the operations and growth divisions for the New York-based digital pharmacy Capsule. Through her work, she has learned a lot about the nuances within the healthcare system within the US. Excerpts from an interview:
Calibrate – The Story Behind
‘’Trying to find a doctor who could help my mom manage her metabolic health led me to some critical insights around how weight is currently being treated. Society tells us that willpower is the key to weight loss. But decades of clinical research show that diets don’t work. In fact, Americans spent $290 billion last year on weight loss products and services and gained 1.5 pounds per person,” Isabelle says.
She also points to the fact that while 175 million American adults are overweight, there are only 4,000 board-certified obesity doctors nationwide, which is a cause for concern. ‘’This is how Calibrate started to take shape,” she explains. “With the guidance of our incredible clinical advisors—including Donna Ryan, the President of the World Obesity Federation, and Darriush Mozafarrian, cardiologist and Dean at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy—we built our first product: an entirely virtual metabolic reset.’’
Calibrate combines metabolic medication prescribed through telemedicine and one-on-one video accountability coaching to target four proven pillars of metabolic health — food, sleep, exercise, and emotional health. This is the precise approach that’s been found to be most successful according to decades of academic research.
Calibrate is tailored to each member’s biology, goals and lifestyle for a 10% (or more) weight loss that delivers success beyond the scale. The program stresses whole-body health, from reduced disease risk to improved day-to-day energy and mood. ‘’Calibrate is built on the latest weight health science, and it is vetted and approved by our world-class Clinical Advisory Board, full of the very people whose research and policy work informed our most foundational understanding of how we could transform metabolic health,’’ says Isabelle.
The Most Memorable Moment of Success
Isabelle recalls that just two hours after Calibrate launched, it received its first sign-up from a Google ad it had run in upstate New York. ‘’Somebody spent just three minutes on our site and then took out a $1500 loan and joined our program without reading a single review (there weren’t any),” she says. “For me, that was the moment I knew that our product was resonating and that we were building the right thing.”
Innovation within Healthcare Technology
According to Isabelle, placing the consumer first is one of the simplest, yet most powerful ways to innovate in healthcare. “I believe that consumer engagement can help us finally fix America’s metabolic health crisis,” she explains. “Fixing America’s metabolic health crisis can’t be done by building more clinics. We needed to use technology to help put the consumer first and bring a comprehensive program to people everywhere.”
Insights on Overcoming Challenges in the Space
Without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges is how many different stakeholders there are and how integral it is to align their different objectives to position your business for success, says Isabelle. “Healthcare is not well-suited for disruption, but it can be meaningfully improved with a combination of the right stakeholder alignment and a total obsession with the consumer experience.”
Her best advice? “Obsess over the consumer. You will always win if you focus on the consumer in a category where they came second for decades.” And the best advice she’s received? “Never give up, win by winning, and ignore the noise,” she says, noting that each is a favorite expression from former bosses.