Carrot Chews On $25 Million

REDWOOD CITY — Digital health company Carrot Inc. has raised a $25 million investment round to commercialize its Pivot smoking cessation program. JJDC led the round, joined by New York Life Ventures and existing investors Khosla Ventures, Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, Carrot founder David S. Utley, M.D., and R7 Partners.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and death worldwide. It kills 500,000 people in the U.S. each year and more than six million globally.

“Quitting smoking greatly reduces chances of developing smoking-related diseases, yet successful quit attempts require a multi-disciplinary approach,” said Utley, Carrot’s founder, President and CEO. “Given Johnson & Johnson’s expertise across its medical device, consumer health and wellness, and pharmaceutical sectors, we are excited to have JJDC lead this round as we believe it takes a concerted healthcare approach to address the consequences of smoking on a global scale. We’re also pleased to have the funding of New York Life Ventures and the continued confidence of our existing investors. Their support furthers our mission to help millions of people to quit smoking.”

Pivot is a tech-enabled platform that seeks to fundamentally change both the scale and tools of smoking cessation. In place of antiquated telephonic quit programs, Pivot uses an FDA-cleared carbon monoxide breath sensor, engaging smartphone app, in-app coaching, pharmacotherapy, and community to deliver proven quit methods in a novel, consumer-grade package.

Carrot’s mission is to save millions of lives by delivering a smoking cessation solution that can scale to the 40 million people in the U.S.—and 1 billion globally—who smoke. The WHO estimates that smoking’s economic cost is a startling 2 percent of world GDP, or $1.4 trillion in healthcare costs and lost productivity. Carrot is initially partnering with self-insured employers and health plans to offer Pivot to help their employees and members quit smoking. Due to its novel approach and positive voice, Pivot has demonstrated enrollment rates many times higher than the national average for employer-delivered cessation programs.

“Carrot is a strong example of those companies that are driving exciting innovations at the intersection of digital health and life insurance,” said Tim Del Bello, Director of Investments at New York Life Ventures. “These technologies have the potential to play a meaningful role in the future of the life insurance industry.”