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Why Tidepool is Open and Non-profit

January 7th, 2014 | Howard Look

Happy New Year!

Back when we founded Tidepool (originally named “GreenDot Diabetes”), we made two important decisions:
1) We would be an open source effort, and
2) We would be non-profit.

These were not decisions we took lightly. Most of us live in the SF Bay Area, in the heart of the very much for-profit Silicon Valley and near venture capital mecca, Sand Hill Road. 

Quite simply, we chose to be open and non-profit because it’s the best way for us to make a difference for people with diabetes. We are here to help the industry make a great leap forward. We think we are building a platform and great apps that can help everyone with diabetes, and being open and non-profit allows us to “do the right thing” and help the industry as a whole in a non-competitive way.

We were very fortunate to have very generous donors in 2013 who believe in us and our plan. That “seed round” (using Silicon Valley terms) of philanthropy allowed us to hire a phenomenal team passionate about helping the world of diabetes technology. Seven of the 11 Tidepoolers have Type 1 Diabetes, and two of us have family members with T1D.

We recently kicked off our “A round” fundraising efforts for 2014. Because we are open and non-profit we are happy that we can be transparent about our plans and ask for your help in making them better.

Our 2013 $1.5M “seed round” will last us through the end of April. 2014. For our “A Round” of philanthropy, we are seeking $3M, which will carry us into 2015 while we continue to build out our platform and applications that accelerate progress towards cloud-connected, closed-loop systems. We will likely need one more funding round in 2015, which will then take us to the point where we can generate modest revenue and become a self-sustaining non-profit.

Here’s how you can help us be successful with our fundraising plans:

  • If you are a “Githubber”, you can find our Helmsley Charitable Trust draft application here. Feel free to comment using issues, or fork the markdown and submit a pull request.
  • If you have a Google account, you can comment on the draft documents here.
  • If you have friends at the Helmsley Charitable Trust, JDRF or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, tell them the difference we are making and encourage them to put in a good word for us!
  • If you have friends with a connection to T1D who you think might like to support Tidepool’s efforts, please put them in touch with us.

And of course, if you’d like to help personally, we’d welcome that, too! We applied for 501c3 status (read our application here) back in June, 2013 and are still waiting for a decision from the IRS. Having broad financial support from the diabetes community, at any level, is very helpful to the cause. Thanks in advance!

For 2014, we’re really looking forward to building on the great progress and momentum we generated in 2013 (check out some of the great blog posts below). Thanks again for all of your support!


JDRF's Jiangfeng Fei via DiabetesMine “JDRF: Patient Needs Must Drive T1 Diabetes Innovation” Dec 9, 2013.

Mike Hoskins at DiabetesMine.com “Wanted in a Nutshell: Hassle-Free Diabetes Tech,” . Dec 6, 2013.

Christel at ThePerfectD.com “Swept Away by Tidepool,” Dec 5, 2013.

Wil Dubois at DiabetesMine.com “A Skeptic’s View of Our Summit: Anger and Hope in Palo Alto,”  Dec 3, 2013.

Steve Blank “When Customers Make You Smarter,” Dec 2, 2013.

John Walsh and Ruth Roberts at Diabetesnet.com “Tidepool – Acquiring, Storing, and Opening Data for Improved Diabetes Care

Amy Tendrich at DiabetesMine.com “The making of a D-Tech Startup: Tidepool’s Universal Data Platform,” May 28, 2013.

Also check out these videos from our “Lean Launchpad for Healthcare” final presentation at UCSF: