Startup Q&A is an interview series showcasing early-stage health, fitness, and wellness companies.
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In this Q&A, we caught up with Anttoni Aniebonam, co-founder and CEO of Veri, about how personalized feedback can unlock metabolic health. As continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology rapidly scales, Anttoni discusses how his product excels at connecting the actions of an individual lifestyle to signals from the body.
Can you tell us about what you’re working on at Veri?
Anttoni Aniebonam: At Veri, we help people improve their health by helping them find the right foods for their bodies. With the Veri mobile app, users scan a wearable glucose sensor to get actionable insights and recommendations on nutrition and lifestyle habits to improve metabolic health.
It’s our belief that the tools currently available in the market to track nutrition are broken: Subjective fad diet plans; tools with extremely slow feedback loops like a mirror or a weight scale that only reveal progress in months or years; and calorie-counting applications lacking the required depth to truly understand the complexity of metabolic health.
With Veri, using glucose, food, activity, and sleep data—as well as more analytical measurements in the future—we’re able to provide users lightning-fast, personalized, and continuous guidance on which foods make or break their bodies.
How did you come up with the idea? What key insight led you to pursue this opportunity?
AA: Growing up, my co-founder and I both struggled with metabolic health-related issues like weight management and autoimmune disease. We started exploring ways to solve these issues at scale in 2018, when we realized that there was a missing piece in the wellness place: tracking nutrition in a meaningful way.
Eventually, after studying the space for months and testing out most of the gadgets and “biohacks” the wellness industry has to offer, we learned about CGMs and managed to get our hands on one.
The experience of using a CGM for the first time was extremely empowering but, simultaneously, very hard to understand due to the complexity of the data being measured. The data itself was powerful — for the first time, our bodies were talking to us…and the sound was loud. But the software wasn’t anywhere close to making the connection between personal lifestyle habits and strong signals from the body.
When you look at how hard it has become to source and eat nourishing, quality foods—and see how the foods we eat are killing us—you’ll see how the odds are stacked against us. Worse, consumers are held responsible while global metabolic healthcare suffers. We saw an opportunity to build a tool for the world which, later, sort of turned into a product and a company by accident.
How did you turn your idea into a company?
AA: In late 2019, we found ourselves with a small group of early adopters who all collectively shared the same problem. We were all obsessed with learning how blood sugar affects our health and the speed at which our lifestyle habits are taxing our bodies. There wasn’t a solution designed to fit our needs, so we decided to build one.
In early 2020, we built and launched the prototype of the product and gained our first 100 users over a couple weeks. Directly working with those first users, we were able to quickly iterate and understand what problems users wanted to solve with the product.
During the year, we continued raising funding from companies that were aligned with our greater vision, as well as influential founders who had grown relevant companies in the space. To date, we’ve raised $4M in VC from Lifeline Ventures, PROfounders Capital, and Accel, with angel investors like Oura CEO Harpreet Singh Rai and Kry co-founder Johannes Schildt.
Right now, our hybrid team is 21 strong, with people in five different time zones. Together, we’re laser-focused on bringing a product and an experience to the market that can help people feel better in their bodies — through the power of understanding what they put into them every day.
Who is the core customer? How are you acquiring customers? And how will you grow the customer base?
AA: Our 4,000-plus-strong community of users consists of health-conscious individuals aiming to optimize and improve their metabolic health and ensure they stay healthy.
Most users come to us with clear, concrete issues to tackle, varying from losing excess weight to improving their energy levels. Currently, we’re steadily distributing the product through a waitlist for early adopters while closely studying and understanding how we can create the most value for them and all users to come. We’re fortunate to have 100,000 sign up for our journey to date, and as we launch on Android, we’ll continue to put the user first.
Looking at your road map, what are some of the milestones you’re targeting over the next 3-6 months?
AA: Over the last 12 months, we’ve built a product, built distribution channels, and currently ship in the US, UK, and Europe. We’ve grown our small and humble team by 16 and raised $3.6M of additional capital from investors that we’re thrilled to work with.
For the next half a year, we’re focused on building the best-in-class product experience, introducing Android, and going off the waitlist. Meanwhile, we’ll keep building up our team of world-class, growth-minded performers that share our passion for solving the issue of poor metabolic health.