Research on the human microbiome — microorganism communities that reside in parts of your body such as your mouth or stomach — has yielded a number of insights and prompted additional research into what constitutes a healthy individual. Combined with the continued interest in alternative medicine, this is causing venture capital to be invested in a prominent alternative medicine startup.
Viome has raised $86.5 million to expand its business, which is based on analyzing customers’ microbiomes, applying artificial intelligence to the data, and providing customers with supplements and other guidance based on the results.
The funding, a Series C, is co-led by Khosla Ventures and Bold Capital, with participation from other unidentified current and new investors. According to the company, its RNA sequencing technology, which was originally developed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, “is clinically validated, fully automated, and exclusively licensed by Viome [to analyze] biological samples at least 1,000 times greater than other technologies.”
The company, founded in 2016 and headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, claims to have conducted testing on approximately 350,000 consumers from 106 countries (primarily the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia), totaling approximately 600,000 samples that are feeding and informing its algorithm.
It intends to use the equity funding to expand its existing business, which includes tests based on blood, stool, and saliva samples, vitamin supplements, and dietary assessments, as well as to expand into new markets. This will include new product lines focused on oral and dental health, as well as retail partnerships, such as an agreement with CVS that will see the pharmacy chain offer Viome tests in approximately 200 U.S. stores.
CEO and founder Naveen Jain (the entrepreneur who founded Infospace in the first wave of dot-com startups, helped judge the XPrize, and more) stated in an interview that CVS will not invest in Viome as part of the arrangement in which CVS is purchasing kits up front as part of a larger revenue-sharing agreement.
“They believe that more and more people are becoming gut-health conscious and want to sell the product in their store,” he said, consuming some of his own custom-designed capsules (a combination of prebiotics, probiotics, and vitamins) while speaking to me.
Viome does not disclose its valuation, but it has raised $175 million to date and was last valued at $339 million in 2022 (when it disclosed a new $67 million in funding), according to data from PitchBook. This valuation “has not decreased,” Jain stated, but he declined to provide an updated figure. The company’s investors have included, among others, Marc Benioff, Better Health Group, and SquareOne Capital.