Case Study

Doubling down to make Calibrate a household name

Nicole Johnson, Partner

Summer 2021

3 min read

In Forerunner’s search for investments transforming industries and changing culture, we always start with the consumer: Who has the greatest, timeliest needs begging new ways of doing business? We then closely consider a company’s opportunity to leverage a standout brand: Who stands to change the industry narrative altogether, and become a household name? 

We led Calibrate’s Series Seed round of financing with clear answers to these questions (see our Series Seed investment thesis published in 2020 here). Countless teams and resources were (and are) working to address the staggering obesity epidemic in the U.S. affecting over 40% of adults. But Founder and CEO Isabelle Kenyon was coming at it from a whole new angle, with a bold mission to change the way the world treats weight—with category-redefining potential to transcend the concept of weight loss with its focus on metabolic health.

The thesis is playing out as expected, and then some. For generations of consumers tired of the dieting hamster wheel, Calibrate’s ‘metabolic reset’ has posed a totally new framework for understanding and managing obesity, recognizing members’ underpinning biology as the root of their obesity as opposed to a lifestyle choice, and targeting their whole health to drive lasting results. The program is resonating deeply with members, driving phenomenal product-market fit. Member results are exceeding expectations, and the company is driving unprecedented growth direct-to-consumer, targeting $20M in sales in its first full calendar year of business. 

The member stories from this past year are an unmissable measure of the Calibrate’s success—see Dara’s, Micheal’s, Karin’s—highlighting not only sustained weight loss, but a full embrace of the Metabolic Reset as a cornerstone of their improved overall health.

Market dynamics are rich. The Pandemic has been extremely difficult and illuminating for the obese population, 100M+ individuals strong in the U.S., driving heightened demand for sustainable solutions to manage obesity. And on a higher note, there’s the recent FDA approval of Wegovy, a next-generation GLP-1 drug that dramatically improves total weight loss potential to 15% of total body weight, on average. But the drug isn’t a miracle on its own nor is it easy to get it covered by insurance. Calibrate is uniquely positioned as the vehicle to help consumers access and maximize Wegovy. 

A true paradigm-shifter, the program is ripe for cultural relevance. At its best, we believe Calibrate’s metabolic reset will become a household name in the U.S. and beyond, synonymous with taking whole-body health into your own hands. As their earliest members hit the one-year mark with their metabolic reset this summer, the team rolled out a whole new suite of products for year two and beyond with Calibrate—it’s just the beginning.

The time is now for Calibrate, and we couldn’t be more eager to double down on our Seed and Series A investments with our latest commitment to the team alongside Series B co-leads Founders Fund and Tiger Global Management, new investor Optum Ventures, Series A lead Threshold Ventures, and Redesign Health as Calibrate gears up to scale the metabolic reset to millions of Americans.

Unique people. Unique approaches.

We’re a diverse team of visionaries and veterans who looked at the VC industry and said: “We can do more.” Together, we’re redefining what VC can be — for consumers who deserve better.

We’re a diverse team of visionaries and veterans who looked at the VC industry and said: “We can do more.” Together, we’re redefining what VC can be — for consumers who deserve better.