New Venture Partners and Unilever Ventures invest in personalised
weight management system
25 January 2009
New Venture Partners LLC, the global venture capital firm dedicated
to corporate technology spinouts, and Unilever Ventures, the early stage
venture arm of Unilever, have jointly invested in MiLife, a company
focused on providing technology solutions for personalised weight
MiLife will use the proceeds from the investment to assist with
market expansion into the UK and entry into the US. In conjunction with
the funding, Anton Arts of New Venture Partners joined the MiLife Board
MiLife is a spinout from Unilever Corporate Research (UCR). UCR’s
initial goal was to explore long-term weight loss and behaviour-change
coaching systems through automating techniques used by leading
As a result of its research, it developed an automated, highly
personalised weight loss and physical activity management system that
incorporates, for the first time, an essential behaviour-change
component through adaptive systems known as the Idapt engine; this is
the heart of the MiLife system.
“The MiLife system has proved highly effective in trials,” said
Ciaran McCourt, CEO, MiLife. “Recent results show very high user
engagement and high levels of physical activity attributable to the
unique combination of devices and coaching. Furthermore, 84% of the
users lost weight in the first three months, with around a quarter
losing a clinically significant 5% of their body weight.
"In users that were overweight before using the program (BMI 25+)
this resulted in an average weight loss of 8.2lb / 3.7 kg. This ranks
extremely well against trials undertaken on other commercial diets and
matches the effectiveness of one-to-one behavioural therapy at much
The MiLife system leverages an innovative technology platform to
automatically accumulate, measure and track personal data via biometric
The user wears an unobtrusive wireless MiBand wristband that
continuously measures physical activity and gathers weight recordings.
All data is automatically and continuously reported back to MiLife.com
where it is analysed.
The MiLife system then reports back to the user with personalised
adaptive coaching to encourage necessary behaviour changes to achieve
desired weight loss. Additional tools such as habit breakers, reminders,
community interaction, and meal planning all contribute to the highly
engaging and successful system.
“The MiLife system’s behaviour-change component is the ‘missing link’
in today’s commercial diets and electronic weight loss gadgets. For that
reason, it has attracted the attention of major corporate players
interested in exploiting effective solutions for healthy weight loss, to
improve consumer’s life style and prevent the onset of weight-related
medical conditions,” said Anton Arts, Partner at New Venture Partners.
“We were impressed by the management team’s unique skill set and
proven track record in pursuing the wide range of global business
opportunities in this field. MiLife enjoys unique benefits from the
unparalleled depth of Unilever Corporate Research in the field of
nutrition and vitality that underpin the product.”
MiLife’s long-term vision is to expand capabilities beyond weight
management to address sleep and stress management, as well as lifestyle
diseases such as diabetes and coronary heart disease.
Since its launch in the UK market, MiLife has enjoyed exceptional
consumer interest for its solution to lose weight in a healthy way,
including media coverage by the BBC and others.
“Our goal is for MiLife to become the online coaching company of
choice for preventative health and wellness,” said John Coombs, Managing
Director at Unilever Ventures and Chairman of the Board of MiLife.
“We’re energized by the support provided by New Venture Partners and
look forward to developing and growing the company together.”
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