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Stop-Smoking Digital Health Company Carrot Earns $25M


Johnson & Johnson Innovation led the round, which will help Carrot commercialize its smoking cessation platform.

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Carrot aims to help people quit smoking.

Carrot has raised $25 million in a funding round led by Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JJDC), money that is poised to propel the digital health company in its efforts to help patients quit smoking.

California-based Carrot announced the financing today, along with plans to commercialize its Pivot platform, the first digital smoking cessation tool to gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. Company officials say getting Johnson & Johnson on board will prove invaluable to Carrot’s digital health, anti-smoking mission.

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“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,” Carrot’s founder and leader David S. Utley, M.D., says in a statement.

Pivot comprises a carbon monoxide breath sensor and a smartphone app featuring coaching, pharmacotherapy and community. The platform’s various arms push its potential beyond traditional quit-smoking programs conducted only via the telephone, Carrot claims.

“Quitting smoking greatly reduces chances of developing smoking-related diseases, yet successful quit attempts require a multidisciplinary approach,” Utley says.

So far, Carrot says, Pivot’s “novel approach and positive voice” have earned the platform enrollment rates “many times higher” than the national average for smoking cessation initiatives offered by employers.

The company is working with self-insured employers and health plans who hope to convince members to kill the habit.

Carrot hopes its solution will scale to help as many as 40 million Americans and 1 billion people across the world quit smoking. That could help reduce $1.4 trillion in healthcare costs related to smoking each year, Carrot says. Smoking is also the top cause of preventable illness and death, killing 6 million people globally every year.

Johnson & Johnson’s contribution to the funding round earned a JJDC investor a seat on Carrot’s board.

Utley invested some of his own money in the latest round, which also saw support from New York Life Ventures and existing funders Khosla Ventures, Marc Beinoff and R7 Partners.

“These technologies have the potential to play a meaningful role in the future of the life insurance industry,” Tim Del Bello, who heads New York Life Ventures’ investments, says in a statement.

Before today’s news, Carrot had raised just shy of $6 million, according to Crunchbase. Carrot went online in 2015.

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