Veri: A healthy discussion with a startup founder fighting poor metabolic health

We spoke with Anttoni Aniebonam, Veri CEO and co-founder, about the health startup's mission to combat obesity and diabetes, plus the valuable connections he made at Aalto University.

Anttoni Aniebonam, CEO of Veri

More than 1.9 billion adults - almost a quarter of the world's population - are overweight, according to the World Health Organization's latest figures (source). Obesity levels are rapidly increasing the world over.

While we have long associated countries like the US, Mexico and the UK with high obesity levels, other countries are following suit.

In China, more than 50% of adults are now overweight (source), while in India, 27 million children are expected to be obese by 2030. In Finland, The Global Obesity Observatory puts the national obesity risk at 6.5/10 for adults and 7/10 for children. (source)

It's believed that the rising worldwide levels of obesity are responsible for the increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Estimates put the number of the global adult population living with diabetes at 415 million - of which 95% have type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is now the ninth leading cause of death globally (source), a position that could rise if the prediction that the number of people with the disease will increase by 47% in the next 18 years proves correct (source).

Anttoni Aniebonam, co-founder and CEO of Finnish startup Veri, has made it his mission to combat poor metabolic health. We spoke with Anttoni about Veri's revolutionary approach.

Hi Anttoni, could you summarise what Veri does?

Veri combines a wearable continuous glucose monitor (CGM) with an easy-to-use app to help you find the right foods and habits for your body.

What problem is Veri solving?

I think one of the most challenging parts of leading a healthy lifestyle is a lack of access to suitable information. So-called 'foods' that are bad for us have become normalised to the extent that we’re not even aware of the harm they can cause.

We all have access to general health advice, but it doesn't go far enough and doesn’t consider our individual needs.

We all have a unique makeup, and we respond to different foods and exercises in different ways. Veri is democratising access to information about our bodies, empowering us to make better choices.

Why is Veri focussing on monitoring blood glucose levels?

High blood glucose levels are one of the major indicators of poor metabolic health, as well as one of the predicting factors for obesity.

Small fluctuations in glucose are normal. However large peaks and crashes leave us feeling mentally, physically, and emotionally depleted. Left unchecked, glucose dysregulation can eventually lead to chronic diseases. By monitoring our blood glucose and learning the best way to address the unique needs of our body, we can stabilize our glucose, stabilize our health, and create balanced lives.

Remember, when we talk about foods that cause glucose fluctuations, we’re not just talking about sweets and chocolate. Highly processed carbohydrates that we eat and drink all turn into glucose in the body - so you can see why it’s important that we pay close attention to what we’re eating.

How does Veri process the sensor data?

Although the sensor is an essential part of the Veri product, we consider the app the most innovative aspect of our offering.

Our app helps wearers reach optimal metabolic health. Using the sensor data, it scores how your body reacts to different meals, food quantities, and forms of exercise.

The Veri app can also pull contextual data from other wearables, including the Oura Ring and Apple Watch, painting a complete picture of your metabolic health.

The app uses this wealth of data about a user's unique body to create tailored educational content that explains how the foods they eat and the exercise they do impacts them in particular and what they should change to improve their health.

The goal is to keep blood glucose levels as stable as possible - we can do that by identifying trends and acting on the results.

...and you left Aalto to start Veri?

That's right. Although my time at Aalto was cut short, I gained some really valuable lessons there.

The brilliance of Aalto is that it enables you to study and associate yourself with people across design, business and technology. When you bring people of different disciplines this close, you're destined to create fireworks.

During my time at Aalto, I also made excellent connections, from inspiring professors to incredible advisors from Stanford University to lucrative angel investors. If I didn't go to Aalto, none of this would have been possible.

So, what's next for Veri?

We're currently a team of around 45 people. We have our headquarters in Helsinki, plus a team of eight on the US East Coast.

There is a lot more work to be done. The prevalence of obesity and diabetes are huge hurdles to global health. We’re on a mission to solve the metabolic health crisis, and we won't rest until we've done so.

Before you go, what advice would you give to budding start-up founders?

I'd say: surround yourself with people from diverse disciplines - they'll help you plug in the gaps in your own knowledge.

In the early stages, all you have to go on is your reputation. So, I'd also recommend doing good work in whatever your discipline of interest. That way, the people you need to impress will be more likely to trust your vision of what your start-up will become.
 

Aalto University's entrepreneurial community is helping startups like Veri to thrive. Want to kick off your own entrepreneurial journey? Check out the Starting Up course. The open access online course covers the fundamentals of startup entrepreneurship. If you want to learn more about founding your startup with Aalto, explore the Aalto Startup Centre

Be the first one to contribute!
  • Published:
  • Updated:
Share
URL copied!

Show other posts from this blog

Elsi Verrinder, Fepod
Published:

Fepod: a medical startup's innovation helps to optimise pain medication doses

We spoke with Elsi Verrinder about Fepod's innovation and her journey from Aalto PhD student to CSO of a medical startup.
Panu Miettinen, co-founder of VacuumWood.Tech
Published:

VacuumWood.Tech: A wood structure start-up that’s going against the grain

Find out how VacuumWood.Tech is using ultra-sustainable wooden structures to fight climate change.
Tiina Vaahtio, Flowrite
Published:

A free-flowing conversation with AI communication startup, Flowrite

We spend about 3.1 hours on work emails daily. We spoke with Flowrite, an AI communication startup that’s helping professionals save time.
Visa Sippola, CEO and co-founder of Surgify
Published:

Surgify: Drilling down into a surgical startup’s journey

Follow Surgify's journey from concept to fruition. Plus, learn how Aalto University played an integral role in Surgify's progress.