About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Habitual – a whole-life programme for improving health

Nesta’s Impact Investments team backs tech ventures working in areas aligned with our 2030 impact goals. Nesta’s healthy life mission looks to increase the number of healthy years lived by all, with an initial focus on tackling obesity. Nesta Impact Investments is pleased to invest in Type 2 Diabetes reversal startup Habitual.

We invested £405k alongside MMC and Foodlabs and secured a matching £405k grant from Innovate UK’s Healthy Ageing grant.

Habitual provides meal options (nutritionally complete meals including shakes, soups and porridges) together with behaviour change support and a curriculum via a mobile app to help drive rapid, safe and reliable weight loss. The outcome is that many people achieve the 10-15% weight loss necessary to reverse type 2 diabetes and live complication- and medication-free for life.

Why are we doing this?

There are over 60m people living with diabetes in Europe. About 90% of these patients have type 2 diabetes, which is linked to being overweight or inactive and/or having a family history of the disease. Diabetes is one of the largest causes of loss of healthy life years in developed countries, but type 2 diabetes is largely preventable by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet.

Until recently, type 2 diabetes has been regarded as a chronic, lifelong condition. However there is now very good evidence from two randomised clinical trials (DiRECT and DiADEM) that diabetes reversal is achievable for 45-60% of patients at 12 months.

What's next?

Along with our investment, the Innovate UK grant will allow Habitual to design, develop and incorporate continuous glucose monitoring into its diabetes remission programme, increasing efficacy, retention and clinical outcomes.

To bring the benefits of this approach to millions of people with diabetes at a reasonable cost requires translating the existing approach into something that can be delivered via an app, with strong community and clinical support.

Habitual’s founders and their team are well-versed in doing exactly that. They previously worked on the DiRECT trial, have a deep understanding of the required approach and bring outstanding clinical and technical skills to creating a genuinely life-changing product.

“It’s exciting to find such a mission-aligned investor like Nesta that we can partner with on the ambitious goal of reducing obesity and improving health outcomes. We are looking forward to working together as we scale the Habitual platform to transform the lives of the millions of people who are at risk of, or already suffer from, type 2 diabetes and its terrible complications and comorbidities.”

Habitual co-founder Napala Pratini


John Loder

John Loder

John Loder

Investment Director - Health Sector, Impact Investments

John is an investment director in Nesta’s Impact Investments team, leading our work to back ventures that align with the healthy life mission.

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