June 21, 2022

Trusting Your Gut: Why We Founded Salvo Health

By Jeff Glueck, Avi Dorfman, Jason Finger

Trusting Your Gut: Why We Founded Salvo Health

150 million Americans today are living with chronic conditions that are treatable.

     60 million Americans face chronic gastro / GI conditions, such as IBS, GERD, SIBO, or Celiac, and their struggles extend beyond the physical or emotional toll – many sufferers experience long wait times due to the shortage of board-certified gastroenterologists (only 15,400 in the US), narrow treatments (often just a medication, which may not work on its own), and limited follow-on care. Treatment often fails to include nutrition, microbiome science, brain-gut psychology, advanced diagnostic tests, and other evidence-based approaches that can make a real difference.  

“We founded Salvo Health to bring a new approach to specialty medicine that we call Whole Self Science™, with comprehensive, ‘whole person’ care that can dramatically improve health outcomes.”   

     The name Salvo has multiple meanings for us. It firstly evokes a salve, a healing ointment. It plays on the Spanish phrase sano y salvo, meaning safe and sound, which ties to our more holistic, comprehensive approach. And Salvo has one more definition: an aggressive series of simultaneous actions or launches. Because we see Salvo Health as aggressively disrupting the way specialty medicine is delivered and equipping people with diverse strategies to heal, “Salvo” represents us entirely. 

     Salvo Health is launching with gastro conditions first, and in the future will add other “all-virtual” clinics for chronic conditions that lend themselves to telehealth.

Our Principles

Whole Self Science centers on some basic principles:

  • Respect the Complex: Chronic conditions do not respond to simplistic silver bullets. Every person must find what works uniquely for them. The best doctors use diverse strategies, and adjust treatment plans as part of a journey with the patient. Our approach gets to root causes, with treatments that are not band-aids but aim to get the body’s systems back in balance.

  • Dissolve Boundaries: Each member receives a team – a dedicated doctor, health coach, and care coordinators, along with daily behavioral nudges and guides designed by gut-brain psychologists and nutrition experts. Our care plans include diagnostic tests, prescriptions and nutraceuticals, gut-friendly diets, brain-gut exercises, and new sleep and stress approaches.

  • Continuous Care: Members will hear from us daily and can message care teams anytime. This goes well beyond “see you for a follow-up appointment in three to four months” with typical care. We make this affordable using technology, with care “asynchronously” through our app, escaping transactional medicine to a therapeutic alliance over the months it takes to solve chronic health challenges.
  • Compassionate Intervention: Problems like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gut pain, and reflux face stigmas and are uncomfortable to talk about. Our app-based messaging allows members to get support in a way more private and convenient than a video appointment. Our membership model means clinicians have only one aim: more happy members living more healthful lives.

  • Gut Better: Our renowned doctors have discovered that getting better often starts with the gut. By healing the gut, we create a powerful defense against not only GI conditions but also other health problems, long-term.

  • Advanced, Evolving Protocols: We believe chronic conditions need more research and are often misdiagnosed or missed, and that treatments should advance faster. We will continuously analyze outcomes, so that each cohort of patients help improve care for the next. This pushes beyond “one size fits all” to detect which interventions work best for different circumstances.  

     With Whole Self Science, we see a way forward. We all know US healthcare is broken. It’s too expensive, inconvenient and disjointed. Salvo aims to deliver better care to more people at lower cost.

Our Team

Collage of Salvo Health founders, Jeff, Ari, and Jason

     Founding Salvo Health is a deeply personal cause for us. After Jeff and his wife suffered a heartbreaking late-pregnancy loss that could have been avoided, Jeff learned firsthand how slowly medical practices advance, and how insurance companies and hospitals lag in incorporating the kind of advanced or genetic diagnostics that could have helped avoid their situation. Jeff has for years since wanted to launch a data-driven healthcare company, and the right moment arrived with the pandemic-accelerated changes in consumer healthcare expectations. 

     Avi, a chronic sufferer of heartburn and reflux (GERD), has felt firsthand the frustration of waiting for years to locate the kind of specialist that could help manage his condition, and not simply by prescribing medications with long-term side effects. 

     Jason has experienced how many of his closest family and friends have bounced around the conventional health care system, only to find relief at elite concierge clinics that few can afford. 

“Salvo Health is founded by the three of us, all of whom have built category-defining companies in non-healthcare industries before, but are now determined to use our skills to make a difference. And we each have launched brands and products that remade how traditional industries work." 

     As the former CEO of Foursquare, Jeff helped reinvent how real world retailers and restaurant brands could use ‘big data,’ helping Fortune 500 companies apply new tools like geo-location data sets and context-aware app software to operate more smartly. He oversaw development of geo-aware software tools that enabled 150,000 app developers to make better consumer experiences including Uber, Snapchat, and Twitter. Jeff serves as the full-time CEO of Salvo Health.

     As a member of the founding team at Compass (today the largest residential brokerage platform in the U.S.), Avi helped reinvent the traditional real estate industry with tech-enabled, digital-first usability. He’s currently Founder & CEO of Clearing, a telehealth platform helping those with chronic pain receive multi-disciplinary, opioid-free medical care, and an active advisor and Lead Board Director for Salvo Health. 

     As co-Founder & CEO of Seamless Grubhub, Jason pioneered the online food ordering business and remade consumer expectations for delivery convenience. Jason has since become Co-Founder and Chairman of Upper90, a hybrid investment firm with more than $1B under management offering tailored debt and equity to technology start-ups, and is an active advisor and Board member for Salvo Health.   

Over the last months we have enlisted leading doctors, researchers, and practitioners in the GI field for our Clinical Advisory Board (CAB).

     The CAB includes renowned experts like Dr. Mark Hyman (co-founder of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine), Dr. Marc Pimentel (who heads the Pimentel Lab at Cedars-Sinai, and developed the new IBS Smart test and Rifaximin, a novel medication for SIBO), Dr. Emeran Mayer (one of the world’s leading microbiome and brain-gut experts, based at UCLA), Dr. Frank Lipman (Chief Medical Officer at The Well and founder of Eleven Eleven, both in NYC), Dr. Megan Oser (a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy expert and longtime psychiatry instructor at Harvard Medical School), Dr. Laura Reigada (a leader in the Rome Gastropsych Community, a group of leading experts on how anxiety and mental health affect GI conditions), and Chris Kresser (a renowned health coach who is supervising the training for our coaching program, and has trained thousands of ADAPT program coaches across the US). This braintrust has guided the development of our protocols and treatments.

     Dr. Max Pitman leads our in-house medical staff as our Medical Director, a longtime GI physician at NYU Langone Hospital and graduate of Columbia Medical School. 

     Our broader Salvo Health team brings healthcare and consumer-design experience from companies like AbleTo, Flatiron Health, Squarespace, IDEO, Quartet Health, and 23andMe. 

      All of this has been made possible by an experienced set of healthcare investors who trusted in our vision, including founders and early backers from innovators like Livongo, Forward, Ginger, Brightline, Calibrate, Tia, Ro, and Galileo. More on the investments by Threshold Ventures, Torch Capital, and Felicis Ventures soon. 

     We are so excited to bring Salvo Health to the world, starting with our closed “alpha” preview period beginning now in April 2022 in several states, and to general availability across the US this summer.

Join Us

     For engineers, doctors, health coaches, designers, and others who want to join our fast-growing startup and be part of the future of specialty healthcare, please join us. For people who face chronic gastro issues and are ready for better care, start your journey here.

Here’s to Gut Better.

– Jeff, Avi, and Jason