Diabetes startup Glooko goes for the hat trick: new CEO, new product and FDA clearance

Glooko, a diabetes-management startup with an all-star set of Silicon Valley investors, is kicking off the new year with a trifecta of big announcements.

On Thursday, the Palo Alto company said it had hired a new CEO (its first), launched a new product in the U.S. and won the clearance of the FDA to sell its products over the counter.

Glooko launched in late 2011 with a mobile system for helping people with diabetes monitor their blood sugar levels, keep notes about their readings and share information with their doctor. Its $40 cable plugs into a range of self-monitoring blood glucose meters and then feeds the data into an iPhone app.

The startup has been led on an interim basis by co-founder and chairman Yogen Dalal, a Mayfield Fund managing director. But the company said Rick Altinger, formerly an executive at Intuit Health, had been newly tapped to take on the role. After helping to build up WebMD (where he was employee #24), he went to other executive roles in health IT.

Glooko’s products are in the hands of a few patients in the US and overseas, but now that it has won regulatory approval, Altinger said they plan to ramp up distribution. In addition to selling to patients directly, the company will look to target healthcare providers.

“We’ve gotten the monkey off our back – the FDA challenge has been achieved,” he said, adding that the company spent about $1 million to go through the FDA clearance process. “Now that we have that, we can start engaging with customers and other constituents.”

The company also said it was debuting Glooko Logbook Charts, a product previously only available to users in the European Union that gives patients a deeper analysis and visualization of their blood glucose data.

As my colleague Om Malik wrote in a story on Glooko earlier this year, diabetes management is becoming a big opportunity for more companies in digital health. Omada Health and Ginger.io, for example, are also using their technology to help treat and prevent the disease, which is estimated to affect 26 million Americans and cost the country $200 billion a year.

To date, Glooko has raised about $4.5 million from investors including The Social+Capital Partnership, Bill Campbell, Google’s Vint Cerf, and Cisco co-founder Judy Estrin.