Rethinking the type 2 diabetes epidemic

For decades we’ve heard that diabetes prevention is simple—lose weight, eat less, and exercise more. But something is wrong with the conventional wisdom. Nearly 115 million people live with either diabetes or prediabetes in the United States, and that number is growing. It is time to reverse this trend.

Virta was founded in 2014 with the goal of reversing diabetes in 100 million people by 2025. We have made this possible through our advancements in the science of nutritional biochemistry and technology that is changing the diabetes care model.

What motivates us? We like to let our patients tell the story:

“Today I turn 58 years old. Thanks for the Virta program and everyone’s support this year, I'm adding another 10 years, if not more, to my life. I'm off so many meds I can't name them all. A1c 5.1, my weight is down over 100 lbs. I feel the best I’ve felt since coming out of Boot Camp at age 17. All this in one year. I will continue with Virta because this is my lifestyle now. Live long my friends. We can do this together.”
Tim
Second Year on Virta

How we do it

Virta is an online specialty medical clinic that reverses type 2 diabetes safely and sustainably.

Drawing on decades of research, including that of our founders and advisors, Virta is driving two major innovations. First, we take a highly individualized approach to repairing metabolic health that is focused on carbohydrate intake and nutritional ketosis. By addressing the underlying causes of diabetes, Virta shifts the paradigm from diabetes management to reversal.

Second, our advancements in technology, including data science and machine learning, enable continuous, on-demand care and treatment optimization delivered by Virta physicians and health coaches. Taken together, these innovations enable Virta to engage patients with the truly personalized care essential for safe and sustainable reversal of type 2 diabetes in millions of people - each with unique biochemistry, medications, and life circumstances.

Founding Team

Sami Inkinen, MSc, MBA
Sami Inkinen, MSc, MBA
CEO, founder
Sami Inkinen, MSc, MBA
CEO, founder

Sami Inkinen is a data-driven entrepreneur and expert in building category-leading companies. It was his personal connection to diabetes and passion to advance health on a global scale that was the motivation behind Virta Health. Prior to Virta, he co-founded the leading online real estate marketplace Trulia, serving as its COO and president and board member until its IPO and eventual sale. Sami holds an MBA from Stanford University and a Master of Science in engineering physics from the Helsinki University of Technology.

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Stephen Phinney, MD, PhD
Dr. Stephen Phinney, MD, PhD
Chief Medical Officer, Founder
Dr. Stephen Phinney, MD, PhD
Chief Medical Officer, Founder

Dr. Stephen Phinney is a physician-scientist with 40 years of experience and an internationally recognized expert on obesity, carbohydrate-restricted diets, diet and performance, and essential fatty acid metabolism. Dr. Phinney holds a Doctorate in nutritional biochemistry and metabolism from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received his medical degree from Stanford University, and completed post-doctoral research at Harvard University.

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Jeff Volek, PhD, RD
Dr. Jeff Volek, PhD, RD
Chief Science Officer, Founder
Dr. Jeff Volek, PhD, RD
Chief Science Officer, Founder

For two decades, Dr. Jeff Volek has performed cutting edge research on human adaptation to carbohydrate restriction, focusing on clinical and performance applications of nutritional ketosis. His scholarly work includes more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts and five books, including a New York Times Best Seller. Dr. Volek has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Michigan State University, and a Master of Science in exercise physiology and Doctorate in kinesiology and nutrition from Pennsylvania State University.

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Scientific Advisors

Bruce Bistrian, MD, PhD

Dr. Bistrian is Chief, Clinical Nutrition, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Bistrian is also the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Division of Nutrition at Harvard.

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Fredrick Hecht, MD

Dr. Hecht is the Osher Foundation Endowed Chair in Research in Integrative Medicine and a Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. He is also Research Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.

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Ronald M. Krauss, MD

Dr. Krauss is Senior Scientist and Director of Atherosclerosis Research at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Adjunct Professor of Medicine at UCSF, and Adjunct Professor of Nutritional Sciences at UC Berkeley.

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Carol Levy, MD

Dr. Levy is the Director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes Center and an Associate Professor of Medicine and Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

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Ethan Weiss, MD

Dr. Weiss is a cardiologist specializing in preventive cardiology, coronary artery disease and general cardiology. He is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco and a member of the Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI).

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Kevin Fontaine

Dr. Fontaine is Chair of the Department of Health Behavior, School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. A psychologist specializing in the treatment of obesity, he is also Adjunct Faculty in Rheumatology and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.

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Industry Advisors

Peter Attia, MD

Dr. Attia is the founder of Attia Medical, PC, a medical practice with offices in San Diego and New York City, focusing on the applied science of longevity and optimal performance.

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Senator Bob Kerrey

Senator Kerrey was trained in pharmacy before becoming Nebraska's Governor and Senator. He is currently a Managing Director of Allen & Company LLC, the lead financial advisor to Virta Health.

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Zeev E. Neuwirth, MD

Dr. Neuwirth was appointed Senior Medical Director of Population Health for the Carolinas Healthcare System (CHS) in November 2016. In this newly created position within CHS, he serves as the senior most physician responsible for advancing the system's value focused strategies.

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Robert E. Ratner, MD, FACP, FACE

Dr. Ratner was Chief Scientific & Medical Officer for the American Diabetes Association, the nation’s largest voluntary health organization leading the fight to Stop Diabetes® from 2012-2017.

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Michael E. Chernew, PhD

Dr. Chernew is the Leonard D. Schaeffer Professor of Health Care Policy and the director of the Healthcare Markets and Regulation (HMR) Lab in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School.

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Mark D. Smith, MD, MBA

Dr. Smith is currently a Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco and Visiting Professor at the School of Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley.

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Shawn Leavitt

Shawn Leavitt is the SVP of Total Rewards for Comcast, one of the world’s largest media and technology companies, including Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal and Spectacor. In this role, Shawn and his team are responsible for improving the wellbeing of the company’s 150,000 employees by enhancing their total reward experience and delivering customized products to drive better outcomes.

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John Cannon

John Cannon most recently was Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Health Care Service Corporation, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, which provides health insurance and associated benefits to over 14 million people in Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, Montana and New Mexico.

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Board of Directors & Observers

In addition to Sami Inkinen and Stephen Phinney, we have the support of four other exceptional board participants.

Bob Kocher, MD
Bob Kocher, MD
Director

Bob is a Partner at Venrock and focuses on healthcare IT and services investments. He is a Consulting Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, Senior Fellow and Advisory Board Member at the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at USC, and Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution Engleberg Center for Health Reform.

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Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP, FRCP
Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP, FRCP
Director

Donald is President Emeritus and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), an organization that Dr. Berwick co-founded and led as President and CEO for 18 years. He is one of the nation's leading authorities on health care quality and improvement. In July, 2010, President Obama appointed Dr. Berwick to the position of Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which he held until December, 2011.

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Bryan Roberts, PhD
Bryan Roberts, PhD
Observer

Bryan joined Venrock as a Kauffman Fellow in 1997. He is based in Palo Alto and invests broadly across the healthcare industry. Bryan received his Ph.D. in Chemistry & Chemical Biology from Harvard University. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College.

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Vishal Vasishth
Vishal Vasishth
Observer

Vishal Vasishth brings over 20 years of experience across operations and investment in both developed and emerging markets. He earned a B. Tech degree in India, a Master’s degree in Sciences from North Carolina State University and an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.

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Investors

Venrock
Obvious
Bronze
Great Oaks
Redmile Group
Creandum
Rock Health
Allen Co
Caffeinated Capital
SciFi
Specialized Types

Specialized Types

Uprising

We are also supported by several Angel investors, including:

  • Max Levchin
  • Senator Bob Kerrey
  • The Walton Family
  • Dr. Elad Gil
  • Pete Flint
  • Seth Sternberg

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