Lifeforce CEO on the benefits of delivering longevity medicine via telehealth.
Earlier this year, US personalized health and longevity company Lifeforce landed $12 million in Series A funding from investors including M13 and Peterson Ventures. The new funding follows seed investment from co-founders Tony Robbins and Dr. Peter Diamandis, and tennis legend Serena Williams. The Los Angeles based telehealth provider is on a mission to improve human longevity with an integrated health optimization platform combining biomarker data with clinical expertise and validated interventions.
Every three months, Lifeforce members receive in-home diagnostic blood tests covering more than 40 biomarkers relating to physical, cognitive, sexual, and psychological performance. Results are then interpreted by medical doctors, who create personalized programs, including lifestyle adjustments, supplements, and even hormone and peptide therapies customized to a person’s specific biology and goals.
Longevity.Technology: While the world awaits the development of longevity drugs that will boost healthspan and longevity, many people are already trying to take more proactive control of their health through lifestyle changes, supplements and beyond. Recent years have seen the increasing emergence of clinical providers seeking to support those looking to optimize their health as they age. Indeed, Lifeforce’s stated aim is to “redefine the way we approach preventative healthcare and aging” so we caught up with co-founder and CEO Dugal Bain-Kim to find out how.
Bain-Kim has worked in digital health most of his career but found that healthcare’s predominant focus on “sick-care” was often still reflected in digital health approaches.
“Working in digital health was an awesome experience,” he says. “But it was still one step removed from my personal passion: proactive health and longevity optimization.”
‘No incentive’ for longevity in healthcare
The traditional approach to healthcare is, says Bain-Kim, not working for the increasing number of people who expect a more proactive approach to their health.
“If you’re a health-motivated person, who wants to stay on the front foot, making sure you are functioning at your best and keeping yourself on the right track, then primary care is not cutting it for you,” he adds. “The incentives aren’t aligned – doctors don’t get paid for practicing effective longevity medicine.”
Things came to a head for Bain-Kim when he reached his own health roadblock aged 38.
“After six or 12 months of poor health habits following the birth of my daughter, I decided it was time to get back on track, and I was quite cocky about my ability to do that, having always been a health motivated person and athlete,” he recalls. “But when I tried to do it through the same things I’ve always done before – tightening up my diet, working out a little bit harder – my body just didn’t respond like it had in the past. I was 38, not 28, and my physiology had changed.”
Consumer experience a ‘kick in the pants’
Not knowing where to go to get the expertise and the right tools to make the right decisions, Bain-Kim set out as a consumer to try and find answers.
“It was a terrible experience – incredibly fragmented, expensive, ineffective – bouncing around between at-home finger prick and saliva tests, all from different labs and only showing one piece of the puzzle,” he says. “Or conversations with my primary care doctor – seven-minute visits with zero interest in longevity or proactive health optimization. I even looked at these concierge clinics wanting to charge me $50,000 a year to take care of me. But I ended up back in the same spot that most people are in – with a bunch of supplements in my cupboard and no idea what’s working or what I need to be taking.”
While his experience as a consumer was less than satisfactory, Bain-Kim also said it was the “kick in the pants” he needed as an entrepreneur.
“I realized there was a massive opportunity to build a comprehensive platform that makes health and longevity optimization easy, effective and convenient via the telehealth and at-home model,” he says.
This realization ultimately led Bain-Kim to his co-founders – machine learning and AI expert Joel Jackson, Robbins and Diamandis – and so Lifeforce was born.
“It was a group of folks all coming together – different life stages, different personal experiences – but all really excited about this idea that if you could optimize health and longevity for a mainstream consumer, you can have a massive impact on human potential,” he says.
A holistic approach to longevity
With a scientific advisory board full of renowned functional health leaders and physicians, including the Cleveland Clinic’s Dr Mark Hyman, Lifeforce is built on the belief that longevity must be treated holistically.
“There are three main pillars to our care delivery model,” says Bain-Kim. “The first is maintaining the functional systems that will drive quality of life. These are things like energy, libido, mental clarity, body composition – all the things that dictate your quality of life.”
The second pillar of Lifeforce’s model is around reducing the risk of the five diseases most likely to kill you prematurely, namely: heart attack and stroke, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and dementia.
“One of the best ways to live a long time is to not die early,” says Bain-Kim. “If we can bring the risk of those five diseases down then that is a massive service on the longevity front and a very practical and applied one.”
The final pillar is helping people manage their rate of cellular aging – an area that Bain-Kim admits is exciting, but also has the “thinnest amount of validation” of the three pillars.
“We aim to be the arbiter for our members around when something is validated and science-backed so that it’s ready for us to bring into the platform and give people access to it,” he says. “When we do – you’ll know that we’ve done the due diligence on it.”
Largest longevity platform in the US
After a one-time $349 payment for the initial consultation and baseline measurements, Lifeforce membership costs $129 per month, which covers telehealth access to clinicians, health coaches, and the quarterly testing.
“You get unlimited one-on-one health coaching to really help you with the program and stay on track, particularly on the lifestyle side,” says Bain-Kim. “Every three months, we send a phlebotomist back to your house, do another blood draw, look at the results, and tweak your program. By nine or 12 months, we’ve got a good sense of how your body responds to different things, and people are usually getting into that ‘green zone’ of where they want to be.”
Having only launched in early 2022, Bain-Kim says that Lifeforce is now operating “one of the largest, if not the largest” longevity platforms in the United States. And it seems to be working – 85% of members reported seeing an improvement in quality of life within the first three months of their plan.
“What’s also important for us is the data that we’re collecting along the way,” he says. “We’re doing this cadence every three months, where we’ve got the biomarkers, combined with the interventions, and then patient reported outcomes for how people are feeling. We’ve run close to 20,000 diagnostics so far, and building up this longevity database is key to our future strategy and building even better programs.”