By Riley Kaminer
In the US, there are only 8,500 endocrinologists to serve the 37 million Americans with diabetes. Meanwhile, upwards of 2 million diabetic adults have no health insurance coverage, while many more are underinsured. Even for those with insurance, plans such as medicaid provide very limited support and education to help patients manage their diabetes.
Lorenna Feliz Santos believes that diabetics aren’t getting the help they need. She realized that firsthand when two of her sons were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
“There’s too much demand for too little supply,” when it comes to diabetes education, Feliz Santos told Refresh Miami. “Self care is very, very important. When your doctor tells you to go on YouTube to look at a video to learn how to put a device on, it’s really scary.”
That’s why Feliz Santos decided to start building DiaM, a social healthcare platform for diabetics. Since founding the company in 2020, DiaM’s community has ballooned to 100,000 users – including diabetics themselves, medical professionals, and caregivers.
How did Feliz Santos and team grow their user base so quickly? Pounding the (digital) pavement. “We connected a lot with community organizations from around the country and connected directly with bloggers and influencers,” Feliz Santos explained. People responded to the privacy and curation that DiaM provides.
The platform leverages a proprietary artificial intelligence algorithm to serve users the content that is most relevant for them. Users are able to ask questions about how to manage their diabetes, and other users or medical professionals can respond – all with content moderation from DiaM’s team of experts.
DiaM’s mission is threefold. First, to reduce the incidents of diabetes complications. Second, to empower and support diabetics, improving their quality of life. And third, to provide diabetics with the most critical information for managing their health.
Eventually, researchers will be able to leverage the anonymized data in the platform to inform their studies. DiaM is currently in talks with pharmaceutical companies as well, in an effort to help them better serve patients.
Also in the works is a marketplace that offers products and services to people with diabetes. This includes a feature enabling medical professionals and other diabetes management specialists to sell services – enabling doctors and others to have more impact at scale, while also building another stream of income.
Doctors and people with diabetes can access the platform for free. DiaM will also provide around three to four hours of diabetes management education to patients. That stands in stark contrast to many insurance providers, which only offer a single, half-day course for managing diabetes. “We wanted to make DiaM accessible and equitable,” Feliz Santos said.
For Feliz Santos, South Florida has been a perfect launchpad for DiaM. “There’s so much happening here,” she said, highlighting the eMerge Americas tech conference and ViVE health IT conferences that happened in Miami Beach this year. Equally, DiaM took part in the FAU Tech Runway accelerator program. As a Broward-based founder, Feliz Santos hopes that the whole region can come together to grow South Florida’s tech ecosystem.
DiaM has also been gaining national notoriety. It made it to the semi-finals of Stella Angel’s Women’s Fast Pitch Competition, was accepted into Lighthouse Labs RVA’s 13th cohort, and placed second in Startup Grind Miami’s pitch competition.
The startup’s six-person team is currently raising an already-oversubscribed $385,000 pre-seed round. The startup already has its sights set on a seed round and is exploring options for lead investors.
Are you interested in joining DiaM’s beta? If so, reach out to [email protected].
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