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Happy Hump Day, health technicians!

👶 Situational awareness: The number of people unable to get to work last month due to child care issues is the highest since the government began tracking data, reports The Washington Post.

1 big thing: Ayble seeds $4.6M

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Former tech leader Sam Jactel started talking openly about poo two years ago when the 28-year-old founded Ayble Health, a virtual healthcare provider for people with digestive conditions.

Why is this important: Ayble Health, which tackles a large but historically underserved patient group to which it belongs, debuted today with $4.6 million in seed funding co-led by Upfront Ventures and M13, Jactel tells Erin exclusively.

  • Jactel founded Ayble after living a decade with ulcerative colitis while working in technology and life sciences.
  • “Basically, I had 10 years of market research to manage this disease,” Jactel recalls, “and the standard care approach only addresses part of it. Drugs alone are not enough.”
  • Founder Collective and Inflect Health have joined the round.

How it works: Ayble offers a personalized digital care platform for patients and doctors that combines dietary advice with behavioral health tools because psychological factors contribute to digestive diseases.

  • “We see ourselves as a means to improve care wherever it is delivered,” says Jactel.

State of play: Gastrointestinal care is at the forefront of virtual first aid, following renewed interest in digital health companies focused on the heart and metabolism. Other startups in the digital IG space include:

  • Vivante Health, which connects people to a virtual care team including nurses, dietitians and health coaches, raised $16 million in Series A funding in March.
  • Oshi Health, which connects users to a virtual care team led by gastroenterologists, raised $23 million in Series A capital last fall.

By the numbers: Digestive diseases are relatively common in the United States, according to a large population-based study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology by researchers at UCLA and Cedars-Sinai.

  • Gastrointestinal illnesses account for more than 100 million hospital visits in the United States each year, according to research.
  • Yet less than 20% of people with abdominal pain, bloating or diarrhea see health care providers about their symptoms, the researchers note.

Between the lines: Although not officially launched to the public (the company has a private waitlist and will launch commercially in early 2023), Ayble has published peer-reviewed research.

  • His lead study, though small, suggests that digital tools like Ayble’s program can help increase adherence and engagement rates among people with digestive diseases.

What they say : Jactel says that because discussing gastrointestinal conditions remains awkward, it was important when he started building Ayble to think about a platform that would help people feel seen and heard without disrupting their communication system. existing care.

  • “Nobody wants to talk about poo. It’s deeply embarrassing for people,” says Jactel. “We want to destroy this taboo.”
  • M13 investor Morgan Blumberg agrees, telling Axios: “Making it fun and empowering is the vision” of Ayble. “They don’t say ‘Come see us instead of your doctor’ or try to disintermediate the system. They meet people where they are.”