Memorandum

Tandem acquires “CGM Companion” app Sugarmate – June 24, 2020

Sugarmate will remain available for its 30,000 users; a “complement” to future digital health offerings and app features; t:connect smartphone app for secondary t:slim X2 display still not launched

This morning, Tandem announced it would be acquiring Sugarmate, a free “CGM Companion” app which provides customizable alerts, real-time glycemic statistics, trend analysis, and activity and nutritional logging support for Dexcom G4, G5, and G6 CGM users. Under the deal, Sugarmate will become a “wholly owned subsidiary” of Tandem but will continue to be led by Sugarmate founder Mr. Josh Juster, an MIT-alum who has lived with type 1 diabetes for 25 years. Mr. Juster’s new title at Tandem will be Vice President, Sugarmate. We found it impressive that over 20 years ago, he worked in a group called “Cognitive Machines,” which was, according to his LinkedIn profile, a team focused on using robots for machine understanding and the generation of semantically-grounded spoken language.

Back to the present day! Impressively, Sugarmate boasts a user base of 30,000 patients on both pump and MDI therapy who will get to continue using the app, available on Apple iOS, Mac, and the web. Tandem plans to continue supporting the app and its users with new tools “regardless of their choice of therapy.” The app certainly has an attractive interface and looks like a useful learning tool for people using Dexcom CGMs.  We do not know yet how many of the 30,000 patients use Tandem currently, but we imagine the lower the better since the others would be viewed as ripe for converting, particularly at this time when AID (automated insulin delivery) is so hot, and there are only two choices at present. 

Notably, the acquisition comes on the heels of Tandem’s anticipated launch of its t:connect mobile app later “this summer” - this is apparently another delay from 1Q20 expectations for rollout in the “weeks” after April 30. Sugarmate is not a replacement for the t:connect app. While specifics were not mentioned, Tandem’s press announcement notes that it hopes to leverage Sugarmate, as a complement to the company’s future “mobile health offerings” and “new app features.” Tandem notes that t:slim X2 pump data will not initially be available on the Sugarmate app and that company is evaluating the best way to align its digital health assets with Sugarmate. Financial terms of the acquisition were also not disclosed.

How Does Sugarmate Work?

Sugarmate is marketed as a companion app for Dexcom CGM users (the app can also take data from Nightscout). For low readings, the app can trigger a phone call to patients (even in Do Not Disturb mode or sleep) to alert users, text friends and families of urgent lows, and even offer customizable alerts for certain trends. In some cases, the app actually alerts users before Dexcom does, offering more time to adjust. A demonstration of the automatic phone call feature drew positive audience response during a demonstration at Diabetes Mine 2018. The app also provides over 30 real-time statistics and graphs highlighting trends such as GMI, Time in Range, morning glucose levels, evening glucose levels, and carbs consumed. Notably, users can email themselves or their healthcare providers an excel spreadsheet of these data points to encourage collaborative learning. Most impressively, the app even has Alexa/Siri integration, further allowing patients to simply ask blood sugar readings (“What’s my sugar at?”), look up nutritional information using voice recognition and barcode scanning, and track food, exercise, or insulin with both photo-taking and voice dictation capabilities. Sugarmate has very impressive reviews (4.8/5 stars with 6,300+ reviews) on Apple iOS, indicating tremendous enthusiasm for its user experience. We’re exciting to see how the analytics and data review features in Sugarmate could be bolstered even more as Tandem builds in data integration with insulin dosing data from its pumps.

SugarMate History

Sugarmate was founded in 2016 by Mr. Josh Juster, an MIT-graduate and type 1 patient for 25 years. Before creating Sugarmate, Mr. Juster had worked as a Program Manager at Microsoft, Chief Product Officer for New York City-based market research company Infogroup, and co-founded companies GoTime and Wild Village. Information on Sugarmate’s investors and data on the product was not found.

Close Concerns’ Questions

  • What are the deal terms, broadly speaking?

  • How easy is it to use Sugarmate?

  • How do Sugarmate’s offering compare to those of competitors?

  • How does Tandem intend to expand upon its digital health offerings after Sugarmate?

  • What is the status of Tandem’s t:connect mobile app?

Screenshots of Sugarmate

 

--by Ani Gururaj, Albert Cai, and Kelly Close