Investors Bet on Wellness Tech: Startups Funded $2 Billion


Investors are betting that humans turn to tech startups for
wellness solutions.

Wellness is not just a buzzword,
it’s a $4.2 Trillion market and growing
. It’s a movement
and it’s happening now. Our society has taken a turn and people
are more focused on their physical, mental and spiritual health
than ever before. Being happy and healthy has evolved into a top
priority.

In walks technology…Apps and startups have enabled this
movement by creating technology to address our mind, fitness,
sleep, diet, reproductive health, environment and beyond. WellTech
has been surging with innumerable apps and companies over the last
decade. Investment activity has followed in suit with over $2.2B in
investment
in the 97 modern wellness startups we’ve identified as of March
2019
.

Why WellTech?
Rising healthcare costs have created a growing need for alternate
options to address our wellness – physical, mental and spiritual.
With increased healthcare costs, increased stress and ailments, and
a growing trend toward happiness and health, the market is primed
for wellness apps and technology. These technologies give users
assistance in achieving overall wellness and help them take
proactive measures for a healthy lifestyle. Modern wellness
startups have stepped up to fill the gap. People are turning to
consumer technology from Apple, Google, Amazon and others to solve
these needs –they have less barriers to entry, despite some
initial costs for hardware.

Startups Come in Four Flavors
We have classified these wellness startups into four categories:
Mind, Body, Community and Space (check out our detailed infographic
on this space
here
). Mind includes startups addressing emotion recognition,
intelligent assistance therapy, mental health, mindfulness, mood
shaping and stress. Body includes connected apparel, fitness,
health, nutrition, sexual wellness and sleep. Community includes
the busy market of on-demand fitness and wellness, cryptofitness
and on-demand elder care. Lastly, Space involves air, light, scent,
sleep, sound, touch and manipulation of whole space.

Funding:

  • Community 37%, $811M.
  • Body has 29%, $647M.
  • Mind has 18%, $403M.
  • Space has 15%, $333M.

There are some outliers, like the newly-crowned $1B+ valued
unicorn, Calm, a startup that helps users relax, sleep, or focus.
Calm recently raised $88M to
total their funding to $116M, a leader in the Mindfulness
subcategory of the Mind category.

Community’s large amount of funding is lead by ClassPass, a subscription-based
fitness app, at $239M and Practo, a medical advice and booking
app, with $234M. These are both large startups that have matured
and have accrued funding over the years.

Future Changes in WellTech
The Community category, which incorporates the on-demand fitness
and wellness providers, is pretty saturated with lots of emerging
startups and investments in the last couple of years. We expect
this to flatten out.

Mindfulness has been heating up, expect more here, especially
with Headspace, a
meditation and mindfulness app that will match funding and
valuation to rival Calm. Also, be on the lookout for funding in the
Intelligent Assistance Therapy sector, with startups like talkspace, an online therapy
app.

Sleep startups don’t currently have the funding that other
subcategories have, but we expect that to change soon. Between
wearables and environment management, this is a wildly growing
sector. Apple recently acquired Beddit, showing market value/

In the Body category, we’ll see growth in Nutrition startups
like uBiome which provides
microbiome testing, and habit
that offers personalized nutrition, like highly-anticipated
Lumen.

Growth Categories:
We’re often asked about the underfunded categories, as these have
the most potential to grow. We see three regions that may quickly
grow if new innovations are brought forth to market:

  1. New sensors and software. That can measure
    brain wave activity, galvanic skin response, facial recognition or
    accurately measure breathing are underfunded categories that may
    blossom into new business models
  2. Corporate Wellness Technology (CWT) Platforms.
    Employee wellness solutions that combine multiple features into one
    suite. Corporations are adopting these technologies for employee
    wellness, yet they are loosely strung together and lack a cohesive
    experience.
  3. Data and analytics that measure actual human
    improvements.
    There’s a need for analytics that combine
    biometrics to actually gauge if wellness practices are making a
    long-lasting effect beyond just simple usage this is for consumer
    level, crowd aggregation, and at societal level.

We’ll also see acquisitions that create super apps that offer
comprehensive wellness platforms that address mind, body, community
and space. Google and Apple are likely contenders in this arena,
but there’s certainly room for an independent startup to take
this on. Large sports brands like Nike, Under Armour and Reebok
have an opportunity to step forward to lead on this, as well.

We have a spreadsheet tracking these top 100 startups and will
report on a periodic basis how this market is shaping up.

Research assistance by Julie George

Source: FS – Social Media Blogs A
Investors Bet on Wellness Tech: Startups Funded Billion