ZOE Lays Off Staff Amid Restructuring


Direct-to-consumer diagnostics have a retention problem.

The news: UK-based nutrition startup ZOE has undertaken cost-cutting measures, including layoffs.

Writing on LinkedIn, CEO Jonathan Wolf said the company “overexpanded”, with its monthly burn becoming unsustainable. Reining in costs by 20%, Wolf said ZOE needs to “operate more in line” with revenue.

One and done. ZOE combines at-home labs, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), and a subscription app to make personalised nutrition recommendations.

With ~$90M in funding, including backing from Steven Bartlett’s Flight Fund, the company was growing, adding 100K new members in 2023. But, retaining users beyond the initial test and subscription period has proven difficult.

Speaking to Sifted last year, ZOE co-founder Tim Spector said “half” of users churn within six to nine months. Responding to Wolf’s LinkedIn post, previous members echoed this sentiment, claiming the pricing model and renewal fees were untenable.

Fitting in. From test kits to hardware, DTC diagnostics democratise health data. But, startups and consumers still aren’t sure how to use – or price – it.

  • In March, CGM upstart Supersapiens terminated all memberships after failing to raise funding.
  • This month, metabolic health platform Levels added $2.5M+ in a crowdfunding campaign after revamping its business model and adding lab testing.
  • Moving in, device makers Abbott and Dexcom are starting to sell over-the-counter CGMs.

Punchline: Shifting from high-growth to long-term sustainability, startups are fine-tuning their business models to deliver recurring revenue and impactful health outcomes. But, perfecting the price-to-value equation is no guarantee, meaning cuts, closures and consolidation are inevitable.

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