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Virtual clinic for substance use management

101-200 employees
  • Healthcare
  • B2C
  • Social Impact
  • Wellbeing
1732 1st Ave, New York, NY, United States

Company mission

To break down barriers to substance use care that works.

Top investors

53% female employees

83% employee growth in 12 months

Otta's take

Xav Kearney headshot

Xav Kearney

CTO of Otta

Pelago, formerly known as Quit Genius, was founded by a team of medical professionals who observed the lack of clear guidance from doctors on how to effectively quit smoking.

The core of Pelago's product revolves around cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a proven method for behavioral change. By focusing on replacing negative thoughts and feelings that trigger smoking with healthier, more positive alternatives, Pelago aids users on their journey to quit smoking. Recognizing the staggering $146 billion annual cost of smoking to employers, Pelago collaborates with businesses to reach and support users in their quest to quit.

However, Pelago's mission goes beyond personal wellness, aspiring to address a broader issue. The company believes that by targeting behavioral patterns, it has the potential to prevent a significant portion of the 40% of premature deaths currently attributed to such patterns, a figure that exceeds the impact of the $3 trillion spent globally on healthcare, which currently prevents only 10% of premature deaths. Notably, Pelago's effectiveness is underscored by a study published in JMIR mHealth, which found that it outperformed the NHS Smoke-free app - an impressive feat for a relatively new startup.


  • An awesome team culture: We're a team. Our aim is to make work enjoyable, so we work hard but play hard too with regular socials and team-wide activities
  • Health and dental insurance: Our team's well-being is important to us. We offer competitive benefits packages including medical, dental, and vision cover for you and your family
  • Flexible working: We know there is no one-size-fits-all all approach to working arrangements and we're open to remote days and flexible hours
  • Learning and development: We have a self-development pot for each employee and encourage everyone to continue learning and growing
  • Generous paid time off: Quality time outside the office is vital to our team's well-being. We encourage everyone to take time to rest and rejuvenate
  • Accelerate your career: When we win, you win. We're growing at a fast rate and would like you to grow with us. We're excited to support you in taking your career to the next level

Company values

  • Anchor to the mission: We believe in a world where everyone has access to substance use support and we're united in our mission to break down barriers to substance use care that works. We will always put our members first and do what is best for them
  • Break down barriers: We communicate early and often. We speak candidly and treat others respectfully. We're transparent and always default to open communication
  • Be ingenious: We embrace new challenges and brave the open waters together. We thrive on uncertainty. We look at new ways to solve old problems. We challenge the status quo, even when it is uncomfortable
  • Refuse to lose: We're bold, ambitious, and resilient. We realize there is never an easy road to success. Like a captain at the helm, we have the courage and flexibility to change course and steer to shore, even through stormy weather
  • Do more with less: We relish the challenge of doing more with less and stepping outside our comfort zones. We minimize complexity and we don't over-engineer solutions. We treat the company's resources like our own. We put the company's best interest first when making decisions
  • Propel ourselves forward: We're humble about our blind spots and are on a continuous path of self-improvement. We're curious about new approaches and embrace experimentation

Funding (last 2 of 5 rounds)

Mar 2024



Aug 2022




Total funding

This company has top investors


Yusuf Sherwani

(Co-Founder & CEO)

Previously founder of Unique Melody, an in-ear headphone brand. Also a Clinical Entrepreneur Fellow at the NHS.

Maroof Ahmed

(Co-Founder & COO)

Previously the founder and CEO of Interview Doctors (a tuition company for aspiring doctors).

Sarim Siddiqui


Previously Doctor at Imperial College. Also a Clinical Entrepreneur Fellow at the NHS.



Meaningful work (5)

My opinions are valued (3)

Great work is recognised (3)

Flexible working (3)

Focus on employee wellbeing (3)

Opportunities to learn (2)

Challenging work (1)

Manageable workload (1)

Nice people (1)

Intelligent people (1)