With $8M, Retrofit focuses on data, not dieting, to help people lose weight

More than 90 percent of Americans on a diet fail to lose weight, some experts say. But Chicago-based Retrofit says 94 percent of its clients are successfully slimming down with a program that relies on both data and remote expert advice.

Launched last year, the company offers a 12-month program that it says can help clients lose 10 or 15 percent of their body weight. On Tuesday, Retrofit announced that it had raised $8 million in a Series A round intended to help the company scale up and build out its product. The round was led by Draper, Fisher and Jurvetson and included new investors Correlation Ventures and Hyde Park Angels, as well as previous investors New World Ventures and I2A Fund.

For a monthly fee of $259 or $349 (the price depends on how much weight you want to lose), clients get access to a team of dieticians, exercise physiologists and behavior coaches, who communicate with them via Skype.  They also use a Wi-Fi enabled scale and wireless pedometer to monitor and share their activity with their Retrofit team. By observing clients’ activity, Retrofit’s experts can recommend the behavior modifications that can lead to lasting results, the company said.

With the rise of fitness tracking devices, like the Fitbit and Nike Fuelband, even long established programs like Weight Watchers are starting to take a more data-driven approach to weight loss. But Jeff Hyman, Retrofit’s founder and CEO, said his company offers a private program, which contrasts with Weight Watchers’ emphasis on group classes. He also said Retrofit prioritizes the behavior change aspect of weight loss.

“Half of what we do is focus on what goes on between the ears,” he said.

Retrofit says it has many hundreds of clients around the country and, to date, has raised $10.7 million in venture funding.

Image by DVARG via Shutterstock.