People to Know 2015: The mySugr Team
It’s no wonder Fredrik Debong has always imagined his type 1 diabetes as a scary monster: He was diagnosed with the disease when he was just 4 years old. By age 21, Fredrik was so tired of fighting, he decided to give up and let the monster run free.
What followed was a cycle of erratic testing, random insulin injections, and frequent hypoglycemia. “By the time I was 24, I realized just how badly diabetes could suck, and my thinking changed,” says Fredrik, who has a background in medical computer science. “I wanted to build something more meaningful, something that solved real problems for people with diabetes, that helped make sense of it.”
He joined forces with Frank Westermann, Gerald Stangl, and Michael Forisch to form mySugr. Their goal: create an app that integrates gaming, data tracking, and diabetes while speaking to individuals in a relatable voice, not dry medical jargon.
The result was mySugr Logbook, an FDA-registered digital journal that enables users to create their own animated diabetes monster, which they can tame by tracking a customized combination of data, including blood glucose readings, carb intake, medication, mood, and more.
Since it formed in 2012, the company, which is headquartered in Vienna, Austria, and has an outpost in San Francisco, has expanded to offer four other apps—and counting. “We’re not pharmaceutical industry executives with 40 years of experience,” says Fredrik. “We’re people with diabetes building practical tools for ourselves and our peers.”
Adrian James is the cofounder and president of Omada Health, a digital health company that helps people reduce their risk for obesity-related chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, by delivering behavior change therapies via laptop, tablet, or smartphone.