© Veri
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About Veri

  • Founders: Frans Lehmusvaara, Anttoni Aniebonam and Verneri Jäämuru
  • Founded in: 2020
  • Employees: 34
  • Money raised: -
  • Ultimate goal: End the metabolic health crisis.

Have you ever had such an amazing meal that afterward you felt a buzz in your head? This is the result of elevated glucose levels in your body after this. While there is no formula for how to tackle this there are certainly ways to control these glucose levels which unattended can have a seriously negative impact on one’s health. In order to do this, Veri has developed a wearable that measures the way food influences glucose in our blood. In today’s installment of the Start-up-of-the-day series, Anttoni Aniebonam, one of the founders of Veri, tells more about the start-up and the importance of metabolic health.

What do you do at Veri?

“We provide people with continuous glucose monitors combined with a mobile application. Continuous glucose monitors are attached to the back of your arm, and they monitor your glucose every 15 minutes. They translate the information into an easy-to-use and understandable mobile app.

The mobile app itself connects your glucose data with the food, exercise, and sleep data. The food data you log into the Veri app. Sleep and exercise data, you can log in to the Veri app, but most of our users bring their data from different wearables such as the Apple Watch.

We’ve built our scoring framework together with researchers and metabolic health experts from Harvard, Stanford, Duke, CDC, and American Diabetes Association. The scoring rubric and algorithm are built with the idea that we give minute-to-minute feedback, hour-to-hour feedback, day-to-day feedback, and then week-to-week feedback. What this means is that minute-to-minute feedback is how the glucose moves. Glucose moves very rapidly throughout the day with different inputs.

Minute-to-minute data is very rapid when moving. The data is basically all the meals we would eat. We call this the meal score. When you eat different things, we are able to provide you with feedback on how you score on each meal after the data is logged. We focus on how your glucose responds to food and give the user a metabolically healthy record. Because it’s not clear cut what friendly food is like generally speaking. We are all individuals, and we all respond to different foods in different ways.

On a day-to-day level, we look at the four pillars of metabolic health, which are nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress. And we give one score that then represents how well did you do today in terms of your metabolic health. On a week-to-week basis, we provide a metric called metabolic health span. This looks at all of your data. It looks at the key metrics that we’ve co-developed and researched with our advisors. It looks at key metrics such as average glucose, BMI (body mass index), glucose escalation, and glucose variability. The score then shows how much you have healthy years ahead of you related to your glucose levels.”

What does metabolic health mean?

“I think that companies like us have coined the term. If you think about the body as an engine, you could think about your metabolism as an engine too. You would put fuel into the engine, and it would burn that fuel. Depending on the state of your metabolic health, that engine is running very clean, or it’s not running that clean. If it’s not running clean then it is causing sort of problems in your body. If you feed your body bad fuel, it’s not going to be able to run clean. That is going to cause you things such as gaining weight, which is an obvious thing. But there are things such as acne and you having elevated glucose levels.”

© Veri

How does your wearable work?

“The wearable is attached to the back of your arm. It has ten small hairs combined like a filament that reads your glucose levels from your interstitial fluid. Your interstitial fluid is basically skin, interstitial fluid, and blood. The hairs don’t reach quite a blood level. Instead, the hairs sit on the interstitial fluid and measure your glucose levels from there. Glucose levels in the interstitial fluid are slightly different from blood glucose levels.”

How did the idea about Veri come about?

“My own background is in sports, and I’ve always been curious and interested in nutrition and food. I played soccer very wholeheartedly. I wanted to go pro when I was growing up but then I got injured. And because of that, I had a very tough year and the negative experience of losing my health. Then I gained a lot of weight during that year, even though I was living pretty much like I used to.

Then I started looking a lot into mental health and understanding the link between mental health and physical health and understanding what metabolic health is about. I got interested in this topic in 2013 and I have been studying it ever since. During my university years, I met Verneri Jäämuru and we’ve been working closely ever since. We started talking about the way personalized nutrition can be achieved based on different biomarkers. In 2018 we found ourselves deep into studying how personalized nutrition can help metabolic health. It was a hobby project, but we were so curious and always talked about it. And it turned out that other people also got intrigued in understanding more about their metabolic health.”

Where does the name Veri come from?

“The name Veri comes from Finnish it means blood. Blood is the lifeline of humans. And our blood can tell so much about us. What we measure as a metric is blood glucose. And blood is a very key part of the human experience, not in a grotesque way. If we understand our blood better, we are much more capable and able to understand the state of our health and metabolic health. That is what we’re going after. It’s also very easy for people to pronounce it because most people know the word “very” as in very nice.”

What have been some of the challenges that you have faced on the way?

“I think there haven’t really been too many big difficulties. We’ve been growing fast. I think the main difficulties really are relatively boring in terms of being hard to hire great people. We’ve been very successful and lucky to get the people that we have on the team. It’s always hard to hire really good people. And just building really good processes for the team to exile and feel that they are working on the right things. It’s a hard, scientific, magical craft, that just takes repetition. And as we, the whole founding team are first-time founders. It’s always a new thing when you build a team that is much smarter than you and much more experienced than you to manage that team. But the team manages itself pretty well.”

What have been some of the best moments so far?

“It really gravitates back to the team. I am so happy we hired certain people to the team, and we did all of these things. I’m so happy we’ve had times we’ve been able to fly the whole team to Croatia, spend time together and get to know each other. What I am really happy about are things that are very much connected to the team and the amazing talent that we’ve been able to get into the team. But as well as how we are as a team, how we function, and how everyone is so excited to learn from each other.”