Deal To Watch: Diabetes Care Meets OtterBox

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Akibah Health has been selected as a “Deal to Watch” by KingsCrowd. This distinction is reserved for deals selected into the top 10%-20% of our due diligence funnel. If you have questions regarding our deal diligence and selection methodology, please reach out to



Approximately 425 million people worldwide have diabetes, which accounts for 12% of the world’s health care expenditures. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) over 30 million Americans are living with diabetes. It is estimated 1 in 4 Americans living with diabetes do not know they have it.

To properly manage diabetes, patients must take their blood glucose levels at least daily and sometimes multiple times a day. This requires carrying a cumbersome, expensive device, testing strips, power cords, connection cords, etc. Along with the hassle of the daily requirements of managing diabetes, carrying the equipment is an additional burden. 

What if there was a way to integrate the physical diabetes management tools into something we could not leave home without?


Akibah Health cleverly solves the logistics dilemma of monitoring glucose levels in diabetic patients. Its flagship GluCase product combines the industry-leading OtterBox smartphone case with a glucose meter and a slot for testing strips. In addition to the physical convenience and functionality of an OtterBox case for reading glucose levels, the GluCase includes a powerful application that tracks levels and provides helpful tips on how to improve their health management. The application is connected to a third-party diabetes management provider Akibah has contracted with to serve their patients. 

The application is part of a separate monthly subscription service Akibah plans to charge customers for $29/month. The service includes diabetes management through the application which has access to a live professional. Additionally, the subscription includes a monthly supply of testing strips which are shipped to the customer each month. This follows the successful myriad of popular subscription services that are flooding our mailboxes each month.

At this point, Akibah is committed to data privacy on the rich data it will collect on customers. In the future, once it reaches critical mass, Akibah intends to use the data to improve diabetes management for its patients. While data privacy protection is admirable, diabetic management data paired with lifestyle behavior is valuable. In the future, Akibah could ethically share the data it collects in a manner that will advance the care of its patients.


GluCase customers are the millions of people worldwide who have diabetes. GluCase will initially focus its channel strategy on selling through endocrinology and primary care practices, concentrating on the 1.5 million newly diagnosed diabetes patients in the US each year. These newly diagnosed patients will be educated on how to manage their condition and GluCase will be there to provide an easy device to pop onto their mobile phone, and a monthly subscription service to ensure they have the necessary testing strips to properly manage their diabetes. GluCase appeals to anyone who has diabetes and carries a smartphone wherever they go.


GluCase competes within a crowded field of glucose monitoring devices. The closest competitors are Pops!One, Glooko, iHealth, Dario and OneDrop. These are all within GluCase’s price point, wireless, and provide a physical dashboard on a smartphone to monitor a patient’s care. Some of the dashboards link up to real-time communication with a medical professional. What makes GluCase unique is its seamless integration into a smartphone case so there is no need to remember anything other than a smartphone.

All the above competitors are already out in the marketplace. iHealth has an existing suite of popular health care products such as temperature, blood pressure, etc., products that integrate with its smartphone application but require ancillary devices to plug into the smartphone.


Fathi Abdelsalam – Founder and CEO – Founded Akibah Health while finishing his graduate degree in Public Administration at Cornell University. Prior to graduate school, Mr. Abdelsalam spent six years at the US patent office as a patent examiner. After graduate school, he began working on Akibah Health. He kicked it off by spending three months at the prestigious TechStars accelerator. Since TechStars, he has been the entrepreneur in residence in Chili, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, and Detroit. All these diverse geographic experiences have likely helped shaped his international strategy for Akibah.

Why We Like it


  • Patents: Akibah Health has two pending patents on its flagship product, GluCase. It also has two registered trademarks. 




  • OtterBox Partnership: GluCase is unique in a crowded field of diabetes management tools because of its exclusive partnership with the world’s bestselling smartphone case, OtterBox. Newly diagnosed diabetes patients are likely to be overwhelmed by the sea of diabetes monitoring devices and attracted to a known brand such as OtterBox. Plus, once Glucose has its commercial launch, OtterBox will prominently display the Glucose product on its website.




  • Larry Ellingson – Strategist – Mr. Ellingson provides tremendous legitimacy and industry opportunity to Akibah. Mr. Ellingson is the former chairman of the American Diabetes Association. He also spent thirty years at Eli Lilly as executive director of worldwide diabetes care. According to his LinkedIn page, he currently holds six positions at various organizations related to diabetes and cancer care. Although Mr. Ellingson is listed in Akibah’s StartEngine listing, Mr. Ellingson does not list Akibah on his LinkedIn page nor as an officer in the SEC filings.




  • TechStars: Mr. Abdelsalam completed the prestigious TechStars incubator program five years ago. TechStars is consistently listed in the top five incubator programs. Incubator programs that began in the mid-2000s have helped launch some of the most recognizable startups in the past ten years. TechStars provides Akibah health with resources, networks, and mentorships necessary to launch a startup.



The Rating: Deal To Watch

According to the Mayo Clinic, the number one issue with diabetic management is medication adherence and management. This means patients must monitor and track their glucose levels along with diet and exercise. Currently, the best practice is a separate device to test glucose levels. Some of the more modern diabetic monitoring devices link to an application that will guide patients to adjust how they are managing their diabetes. There is no device on the market which seamlessly integrates into a smartphone.

Mr. Abdelsalam spoke passionately about the many focus groups the company has conducted worldwide to ensure GluCase met the needs of diabetic patients. The launch plan is to sell GluCase through endocrinologists and primary care doctors, yet there are no formally signed agreements. GluCase will be produced in South Korea, and ready to ship in late 2020. It has taken the company five years to get to this point. 

When I asked Mr. Abdelsalam why KingsCrowd investors should bet on Akibah, with him as the CEO, he enthusiastically declared a long list of credentials. This is the first time Mr. Abdelsalam has led a company in his professional career. Then again, there are plenty of examples of entrepreneurs who were wildly successful in their first venture. Mr. Abdelsalam has secured a partnership with the industry giant, OtterBox and convinced Larry Ellingson, former Chairman of the American Diabetes Association to join the team. Those are two significant differentiators. While diabetes care is a crowded market, the number of patients with diabetes is sadly forecasted to continue to grow worldwide, thus creating room for innovative products such as GluCase.  

About: Meridith Taylor

Meridith Blank Taylor has spent the past two decades providing strategic guidance to early stage businesses. Meridith has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago.

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