Rosita Longevity, the Mediterranean mobile health app that aims to optimise healthy longevity in the 60+ community launches in the US after raising a $2.8m seed round.
The health app’s current round is led by Ship2B ventures (impact fund from Barcelona through the BSocial Impact Fund co-invested by European Investment Fund and Sabadell Bank), with investment from JME Ventures, KFund, Seedcamp, Bankinter (through its Venture Capital program with the Bankinter Innovation Foundation), Seedlink Ventures, Telefonica Wayra, the University of Chicago, and business angels like Cristobal Viedma (founder of Lingokids), Sunny Bates, Sanu Desai and Poonam Sharma (health veteran at Oscar Health).
Longevity.Technology: Rosita had raised a pre-seed round of $500k in Autumn 2020 led by JME ventures, which allowed them to launch their beta product in Spain and demonstrate success. With the new funds, the company plans to develop longevity biomarkers with biomechanics and artificial vision, expand the longevity plans to more specific cohorts based on a combination of behavioural patterns and health history and then launch in the US.
Rosita Longevity’s health app is founded on education, aiming to teach people how to age better, how their bodies are changing and what they need to do to slow down aging. By helping seniors create new lifestyle habits, Rosita helps build their own longevity strategy from the comfort of their own home as well.
Rosita launched the mobile health app coach at the end of 2020 to the Spanish market with the goal of helping thousands of seniors increase their healthy life expectancy by creating a Longevity Plan. Building on methodology that had been developed at the school for more than 20 years, the platform addresses the aging process as a disease that can be slowed with a combination of lifestyle medicine, supplements and longevity treatments.
Most of the diseases that correlate with degeneration – metabolic syndrome with diabetes, cholesterol, hypertension, heart diseases, musculoskeletal problems, chronodisruption (the chronic disruption of circadian rhythms leading to disease), &c – are traditional comorbidities of age and can be tackled in tandem, says the company. Rosita claims to be the first longevity coach that plans a health strategy to reduce the risk of all these diseases while empowering seniors through technologies designed for them and education to take control of their next 20 years.
The company takes the view that society needs tools that can prove effective today, making the point that gerontologists and physiologists agree that the key source of any preventive strategy is consistency in the treatment. Today Rosita’s health app subscribers are logging more than 280 minutes of exercise per week, which is most unusual in senior communities; indeed, the World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes per week to excel in healthy lifespan and most seniors barely reach 50. Rosita credits its approach to an adaptive, fun, virtual coaching platform that is specifically designed for seniors.
“People know that life expectancy is around 85, but what most people do not know is that healthy life expectancy is only 65, and in many cases it is because of chronic diseases that could be prevented or reverted,” Clara Fernández, Cofounder at Rosita Longevity told us. “Health systems are saturated and their response to chronic patients is mostly pharmacological. Doctors will often prescribe exercise, losing weight or sleeping better, as a general recommendation but they have no system, no methodology and probably most importantly, no motivation.”
Fernández cites the reason for Rosita’s initial success as the health app’s fun approach, rather than dishing out homework or patronising encouragement.
“We are giving them lifestyle habits that are fun and supported by coaching to adapt and motivate them,” she says. “With the new funds we will continue to grow our proposal of a Longevity Plan to optimize healthspan for the next 10 years, adding new scientific layers in terms of parametrization and treatment, all with a focus in the US, the largest market which also has the lowest healthspan, so we can have more impact faster.”
Fernández says the opioid crisis means that society is demanding new sustainable tools to deal with pain, and that an integral approach to pain management is traditionally not pushed by doctors because of the lack of affordable long-term services for those 70% of seniors experiencing chronic pain, such as osteoarthritis.
“Rosita offers a solution that starts by reducing pain but continues by improving all your other longevity biomarkers, she says. “Users come because they feel some pain, stay because they feel better and become fans because we turn out to be their trusted longevity partner with our other programs like sexuality and nutrition for seniors.”
“Going to the US this early can be considered a risky bet,” Rosita Longevity cofounder Juan Cartagena told us. “Consolidating in Spain, or launching in Portugal, Germany, France or UK seemed like a more “traditional” approach for European startups. Even Latin America could feel more approachable. Except when you look at the data.
“The health systems in the US are built to keep people “alive”, but they live many of those years with disease, which could often be prevented, like the metabolic syndrome. This is a tremendous burden for the health care systems of those countries, and more importantly for the seniors and their families.”
An example Cartagena gives is that the cost of a frail person is around 10 times larger than the cost of a non-frail person of the same age (“we are talking tens of thousands of dollars per person per year”), and that frailty is heavily linked to lifestyle choices and prevention medicine.
The US is a place where the health app feels it can have a lot of impact fast. “Many of the longevity biotech companies will bring extra life expectancy to young people with incredible technology, but few seniors will benefit from it,” he explains. “We believe we can bring direct impact to people’s healthspans very quickly and specifically for the population group who needs it most.”
Image credit: Rosita Longevity