Announcing Our Investment into Levels
Problem: In recent decades, we have seen the emergence of an increased cultural focus in our food, as is the natural outcome of a materially-rich society.
We’ve seen new (or rather, newly-named) fad diets, an increased awareness of the geographical provenance of our food and the materials that went into it, emerging technologies such as GMO foods, and new delivery models that attempt to help us in acquiring our food more efficiently. However: food is sustenance, and those cultural and technological evolutions have yet to really have an impact on the health of our population. While we could recount oft-quoted statistics (by us), let it suffice to say: the rates of human beings who successfully manage their caloric intake is much lower than we would hope. We believe that part of that is because we fundamentally lack understanding of what our food is doing to us, because if we did, we would make a change. A study by McKinsey found that around 50 percent of US consumers now report wellness as a top priority in their day-to-day lives, a significant rise from 42 percent in 2020. A healthy metabolism is necessary for maintaining a healthy weight, building muscle, and preventing disease. A balanced diet and regular exercise are essential for keeping metabolism functioning optimally. Metabolic health represents a massive market that’s only expected to grow in the coming years. Today, there are 88M prediabetic Americans (70% of whom will be diabetic within 10 years), and 90% of people with prediabetes don’t even know they have it. Our current system of material abundance, combined subjective understandings of how our bodies are functioning and internalization of often-wrong received wisdom has failed generations of children (as well as outright lies from food companies, and their marketers). If we only knew what we were doing to ourselves, we might change.
Levels is a health company focused on capturing glucose data utilizing proprietary software and hardware to redefine metabolic health. Levels produces a sensor that attaches to the back of a person's arm, and via a tiny probe that inserts under the surface of their skin, continuously measures a person’s glucose, taking a reading automatically every 15 minutes. That data is accessible via your smartphone app. It provides real-time feedback on how diet and lifestyle choices impact your metabolic health by leveraging biosensors like continuous glucose monitors (CGM).
Levels helps you see how food affects your health with personalized insights so you can optimize your nutrition and activity. With a pent-up and robust demand, Levels has brought tremendous attention to the significance of glucose monitoring and is positioned well to integrate with other verticals within the space.
Why We Invested: We had the pleasure of meeting and building a meaningful relationship with the founders of Levels, Josh and Sam, about a year prior to investing in the company. This was truly special because we got to really know the founders and learn about the issues of metabolic health prior to going into business with them. We believe wholeheartedly that Levels will make a big splash in the Human Performance industry. Their products are affordable and easy to use, which makes them a favorite among consumers. We firmly believe that this team is changing the way people think about their health. It will be exciting to see what they come up with next!
Team: Founders Sam Corcos & Josh Clemente
Josh Clemente, the founder and president of Levels, is an engineer and CrossFit trainer. He was previously a SpaceX Lead Life Support Systems engineer, developing equipment that will sustain astronauts on trips to the International Space Station beginning in 2020. He has also spent time designing and building Hyperloop technology and leading engineering for a company providing vehicle-based rescue systems for SWAT teams. Josh enjoys the outdoors, functional fitness training, coffee, podcasts, and restoring motorcycles.
Sam Corcos is Co-Founder and CEO at Levels. He is also a founder at CarDash (cardash.com), a Y Combinator company that makes automotive repair and maintenance as convenient and transparent as possible. His previous venture, Sightline Maps, provides an intuitive platform for 3D printing and visualizing topographical maps, marketed primarily towards the U.S. military. Sam also wrote a technical book, Learn Phoenix, on building scalable, highly-concurrent web and mobile applications with Phoenix, React, and React Native and he co-authored a paper in the field of oncology on the effects of cisplatin used in conjunction with purified green tea polyphenols on non-small cell lung carcinoma. Sam’s cultural vision for remote work is one of the reasons that we were super excited about Levels- his forward thinking approach, we believe, will continue to
Onwards and Upwards: As we see the continued emergence of continuous glucose monitors, both for diabetes and recreational users, we believe that we will only see the continued adoption of CGMs and wearables broadly. While wearables so far have generally been non-invasive, the advent of invasive wearables augurs a new paradigm shift. As minimally invasive wearables are able to track more and more chemicals and hormones in our blood, we will see an explosion of the various types of monitoring and applications that we will use to understand what is happening within and to our bodies- empowering all of us to make better choices.