Keyto, a startup that helps people adhere to a ketogenic diet, today announced that it has raised a $2.5 million seed round of funding and launched an Indiegogo campaign for its Keyto breath analyzer and accompanying app.
The ketogenic, or “keto” diet, is a low-carb, high-fat diet and all the rage right now. Here’s how Harvard Health Publishing describes how the diet works:
In essence, it is a diet that causes the body to release ketones into the bloodstream. Most cells prefer to use blood sugar, which comes from carbohydrates, as the body’s main source of energy. In the absence of circulating blood sugar from food, we start breaking down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies (the process is called ketosis). Once you reach ketosis, most cells will use ketone bodies to generate energy until we start eating carbohydrates again.
One of the ketones the body produces when on this diet is acetone, which is released via your breath. The Keyto analyzer measures the amount of acetone you exhale and communicates that level to the Keyto app. The app then reports back on what your ketosis level is on a scale of one to ten (the higher the level, the more efficient your fat burning). Based on your current and goal weights, the Keyto app then provides food and meal recommendations for you, as well as a community of other Keyto users to share information with and a color coded guide of over 10,000 items to eat while on the diet.
Keto adherents can pick up a Keyto system for $99 on Indiegogo right now. After the crowdfunding campaign, Keyto will retail for $150. In an interview, Keyto Co-Founder Dr. Ray Wu told me that the Keyto device is already in the production process and will ship to backers in January of 2019.
I asked Wu why, if the company is already in production and has raised a seed round, is it turning to crowdfunding? “One of the biggest reasons is business intelligence,” said Dr. Wu, “We’re trying to gauge how many units we should be producing, and we want to get people excited about the product.”
We are not dieticians or scientists here at The Spoon, so we can’t recommend (or condemn) the keto diet, nor validate the effectiveness of the Keyto product. However, Keyto isn’t the only company looking to pick up on what you exhale. This past July, Lumen launched an Indiegogo campaign for their own eponymous device which claimed to measure the CO2 in your breath to see if you are burning carbs or body fat.
FWIW, that Lumen campaign went on to raise more than $1.8 million dollars. Will Keyto be able to ride the keto craze and muscle up more money than that?