Issue No. 287: New Age

Today's issue is presented by

Engineering fitness apps of the future.

When it comes to aging, mindset matters.


Fear of aging is widespread.

  • 57% of US consumers feel anxious or depressed about growing older.
  • 63% express concern over declining health and medical costs.
  • Nearly half are afraid of losing their independence.

Justified in worrying, 85% of older adults have at least one chronic condition, almost 70% require long-term care, and one in five Americans is now an unpaid caregiver.

Witnessing loved ones lose their health, younger generations fear the same fate.

Half Empty

Conflating old age with inevitable disability costs us.

Research suggests a negative view of aging increases risk of premature death. On the flip side, positive age beliefs can combat dementialower blood pressure, and support holistic health.

When illness feels predestined, people are less likely to practice preventative health behaviors, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

A powerful and universal biohack, reversing our cultural perception of aging could extend lifespan by ~7.5 years.

Skin deep. Internalizing anti-aging rhetoric, 20-somethings seek preventative botox, and tweens splurge on wrinkle-free products.

Blurring lines, skincare and medspas have become subcategories of wellness, counteracting aging’s effects by supporting a younger self-image.

A temporary salve, aesthetic solutions don’t address root issues of aging.


Looking toward Blue Zones, it’s evident exercise, diet, environment, and community are cornerstones of lifelong vitality.

Swapping social isolation with activity—be it movement, meaningful work, or more time with family—is effective medicine against neurodegeneration and heart disease.

Personal responsibility is paramount, but people need assistance, and agetech startups are stepping up.

Brain. Treating Alzheimer’s, Cognito Therapeutics collected $73M for its brain wave-stimulating headset in March, while MapHabit’s app helps those with dementia navigate day-to-day tasks.

Body. Adding $17M in September, Bold provides fall-reducing fitness routines via Medicare. Encompassing exercise and nutrition, Mighty offers 1:1 coaching.

Caregiving. Valued at over $1B, Honor is revolutionizing at-home care with an approach equal parts tech and human. Enabling aging-in-place, Caspar.AI powers health-tracking smart homes.

Finances. Managing money, Retirable makes retirement budgets last, while Wellahead connects families to resources for long-term care costs. For extra income and hands, Nesterly lets retirees rent discounted rooms to young people.


Despite hurdles, research suggests 60+-year-olds are the happiest age group, with sense of purpose and life satisfaction peaking in the twilight years.

If physical impairment and loss of agency can be avoided, aging is all upside. Shifting the narrative, “midlife wisdom school” Modern Elder Academy frames aging as a privilege, not a problem.

Passing down hope, intergenerational preschools—which pair children with senior mentors—are proving effective in enhancing kids’ attitudes toward older adults.

Punchline: Healthy aging eludes most Americans — but not because it isn’t possible. Poor lifestyle habits fuel misconceptions about the aging process, exacerbating bad outcomes. Convincing people choice and mindset matter could be the biggest longevity unlock of all.

🎙 On the Podcast

James Li, Co-founder & CEO of Mighty Health

Mighty Health co-founder & CEO James Li discusses the company’s platform for older adults.

A virtual wellness clinic, Mighty Health combines exercise and nutrition coaching to help adults over 50 age well. Its daily programs span weight loss, mobility, pain reduction, and more.

We also cover: selling to insurers, engaging members, and tapping opportunities in agetech.

Listen to today’s episode here.

💸 Sword Health adds $130M, expands AI capabilities

The digital physical therapy platform was valued at $3B in a new funding round.

Moving well. Sword also unveiled Phoenix, a conversational AI physical therapist capable of delivering clinical analysis independently before review from a licensed professional.

PT push. An expensive and largely preventable condition, musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders affect over 50% of US adults and cost employers over $100B every year.

A universal need, providers are broadening the realm of digital pain management.

  • Kaia Health recently launched an AI PT companion, programs for pelvic health, and balance training for seniors.
  • Prepping an IPO, Hinge Health expanded its B2B platform globally while integrating menopause support.
  • DarioHealth acquired Upright Technologies and AI-enabled assessment company Physimax in an MSK push.

Looking ahead: Leveraging AI, Sword plans to extend its B2B solution to anyone who needs it. But it’s TBD whether taking humans out of the equation suffers the same handicap as AI fitness.

Presented by STRV

📱 Built Different

STRV is the MVP of digital fitness.

From Barry’s X to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Pump, STRV builds and scales world-class workout platforms for industry-leading brands.

Built to win, STRV’s work on The Pump resulted in a top-20 app, sold-out lifetime memberships, and $1M revenue in three days.

Sweating the details, its team has perfected the elements of a killer fitness app — infusing wearable integrations, gamification, community, personalized user journeys, and more.

Going beyond design and development, its in-house product managers are experts at scaling, offering data, strategy, and insights for long-term success.

Have a digital product that needs developing? Get in touch with the industry’s A-team.

⚖️ Smart ring makers circle Oura

Samsung filed suit, alleging five of the Finnish smart ring maker’s patents are overbroad and “common to virtually all smart rings.”

Objection. With Samsung’s forthcoming Galaxy Ring set to ship summer, the company is preempting a potential IP lawsuit from Oura — both devices measure activity, sleep, and stress.

Vicious circle. Pioneering the form factor, market leader Oura is in a power struggle.

  • In March, Oura filed an ITC suit against India’s Ultrahuman, China’s RingConn, and France’s Circular.
  • Ultrahuman raised $35M in March and announced a factory in Indiana this April to overtake Oura within “12–15 months.”

Defending turf, Oura expanded retail through Amazon, launched an experimental Labs feature, and debuted insights for heart health this spring.

Her call. Vying for the female vote, both Samsung and Oura integrate with cycle tracking platform Natural Cycles. Adding wearable partners, the birth control app just raised $55M en route to a potential IPO.

Takeaway: Samsung plans to debut as a cost + subscription service, meaning Galaxy Ring and Oura are more alike than not. Regardless of IP, a new deep-pocketed rival will fan the flames of innovation for all players.

💪 Communal fitness works wonders

A study of gym-goers revealed impactful benefits of exercising in a social setting.

  • The sense of belonging derived from group sessions increased well-being and life satisfaction more than participation frequency.
  • Individuals identifying as part of the group enjoyed sessions more than low-identifiers.

Researchers say social workouts build meaningful relationships, which can boost enthusiasm for participation and help combat isolation.

Come together. Evidence is stacking in support of social fitness, with regular group runs shown to be as effective as antidepressants, and group exercisers reaping more health gains than solo exercisers who work out twice as long.

As we confront countless epidemics, from loneliness to mental health to obesity, it’s important to expand fitness’s focus beyond the physical.

Punchline: The holistic health effects of communal workouts are undeniable, yet undersold. Shifting the conversation, everyone—from gym operators to wellness brands to public health officials—should make the far-reaching rewards central to their pitch.

📰 News & Notes

  • Alo Yoga debuts mixed reality wellness app.
  • FDA clears Abbott’s OTC CGM. [Re-read: Off-Script]
  • NOVOS launches free AI-powered biological age test.
  • VivoBarefoot and Naboso partner to improve foot health.
  • Life Time taps Microsoft AI for personalized members app.
  • Fitbit introduces Ace kids smartwatch to gamify movement.
  • Noom debuts move-to-earn and habit-tracking platform Vibe.
  • Centr and HYROX unveil new commercial-grade equipment line.
  • Hyperice launches wireless Normatec Elite compression device.
  • Casper co-founder announces AI mental health company Slingshot.
  • Juice maker Suja Life acquires Slice soda, plans prebiotic bev relaunch.
  • Sleeptech brand Eight Sleep names Huberman, Attia, and Walker as advisors.
  • GymNation and The LightHouse Arabia expand mental health support in the UAE.
  • Open to work? Find a career in health & fitness with Fitt Jobs. // Hiring? Tap into our network with Fitt Talent Partners.

💰 Money Moves

  • Digital physical therapy platform Sword Health secured $130M in a new funding round.
  • Stockholm-based birth control app Natural Cycles completed a $55M Series C led by Lauxera Capital Partners.
  • PE firm Consortium Brand Partners acquired athleisure brand Outdoor Voices.
  • Connected cold plunge maker Monk secured £2M ($2.55M) in a funding round led by boxer Anthony Joshua, with participation from Oura’s Petteri Lahtela and BrewDog’s James Watt.
  • Health and wellness brand incubator Squared Circles closed a $40M Series A round led by L Catterton.
  • Matter Bio, a longevity startup pioneering genome preservation, closed a $7M seed round led by Lifespan Vision Ventures.
  • Ginger Desk, B2B provider of virtual medical office assistants, secured $1.5M in an oversubscribed seed round led by Disruption Ventures.
  • TGL team Los Angeles Golf Club landed an undisclosed investment from Carolyn Tisch Blodgett, founder of sports investment firm Next 3.
  • Men’s fertility startup Posterity Health raised $6M in a funding round led by FCA Venture Partners.
  • Biotech company Gameto closed an oversubscribed $33M Series B round for its novel IVF and egg freezing treatments.
  • Women’s pelvic health company Materna Medica raised $20M in a Series B2 round led by InnovaHealth Partners.
  • Wayspring, provider of value-based substance use disorder care, raised an undisclosed amount in a funding round led by CVS Health Ventures.
  • Valar Labs, a startup using AI to predict cancer treatment outcomes, added $22M in a Series A round co-led by DCVC and a16z.

Today’s newsletter was brought to you by Anthony Vennare, Joe Vennare, Ryan Deer, and Jasmina Breen. 

Get the latest health and fitness industry news

Keep up with industry news, trends, investment activity, and job openings — in one weekly newsletter.

    No thanks.