Issue No. 291: Halftime

Today's issue is presented by

AI for tomorrow’s health.

Closing out Q2, we’re breaking down the biggest trends, challenges, and opportunities shaping fitness and wellness this year.

Behavioral Health Rebounds

In the wake of GLP-1s, complementary diet and exercise interventions are taking shape.

For drug takers, high-protein foods are paramount. A risk-free alternative, insurance-backed nutrition therapy is emerging. An off-ramp, food-as-medicine pilots are in swing.

On the fitness front, Equinox entered gym-as-clinic territory with personalized diagnostics, while CrossFit enlisted healthcare professionals to push exercise-as-medicine.

Wearables Evolve

Pursuing medical device status, Apple Watch added vitals and recovery insights, while Oura launched heart monitoring. Readying its ring launch, Samsung sued the latter.

Elsewhere, the FDA cleared OTC CGMs, positioning glucose as the next big health metric. Plus, hydration sensors and recovery apparel are trickling down from athletes to everyone.

Fitness Consolidates

Resetting, Peloton fired its CEO amid stalled growth. Rolling up, WaterRower bought CITYROW, Hydrow acquired Speede, and FitLab scooped Assault Fitness.

Benefitting, brick-and-mortar brands are posting record numbers, plotting expansion, and exploring potential sales — all as supergroups form and Xponential Fitness regroups.

Healthy CPG Scales

Fed up with the food system, health-conscious consumers are cutting ingredients like seed oils and rethinking categories like kids nutrition.

Trading up, more are frequenting healthy fast-casual chains and making better-for-you swaps.

Feeding demand for functional beverages, mushroom-based Odyssey snagged $6M and ketone-based KEY launched with $4M, while electrolytes and prebiotic soda skyrocketed.

Women Gain Resources

Evolving beyond fertility, women’s health funding is at all-time highs. Midi raised $60M for menopause care, and hormonal health has emerged as a red-hot market.

Meanwhile, surging women’s sports have unlocked new product and marketing opportunities for brands, leading Strava and others to prioritize the female demo for growth.

Aging Gets Reimagined

Innovating in an overlooked category, senior care startups are solving age-related problems.
But, others remain convinced aging itself is the problem.

Capitalizing on the quest for eternal youth, longevity clinics are scaling. Yet, Modern Age’s closure suggests out-of-pocket costs on unproven outcomes could present a challenge.

Elsewhere, Timeline scored $66M for cellular health supplements, Superpower debuted concierge longevity care, and Nucleus sees DNA-based medicine as the future.

Holistic Advances

Seeking relief from chronic disease, more Americans are consulting alternative medicine.

Delivering new approaches, WTHN raised funds for East-meets-West clinics, The WELL is building condos, and Aescape’s robots make massage more accessible.

As research on the effects of spiritualitymindful movement, and social fitness grows, a whole-person approach to health will become the default.

Mental Health Stalls

Americans are anxious and depressed as ever and feel treatment options haven’t improved. Specializing, companies like Little Otter hope to deliver on telemental health’s promise.

Beyond therapy, mental wellness has become domain for all brands — with fitness companies launching run clubs and resilience workouts while recovery centers emphasize social bonding.

Making changes, people are leaning into soft living, pursuing adventure, and ditching phones.

What We’re Up To…

Switching gears, here’s the Fitt game plan heading into H2.

We’re scaling our recruiting and consulting services, helping top companies hire exceptional talent and transform the industry. Going bigger, IRL events are next.

In media, we’re digging deeper to deliver more value, testing new formats, and building Wellworthy into the premier product discovery platform.

We’re pumped to keep building and couldn’t do it without you! Reply to this email if we can help with anything. Let’s go! 💪 🚀

🎙 On the Podcast

Michael Ramsey, Co-Founder & CEO of STRONG Pilates

STRONG Pilates co-founder & CEO Michael Ramsey discusses its hybrid fitness concept.

Taking learnings from his time as an F45 franchisee, Michael created his own global brand — leveraging patented machines to deliver a class that combines Pilates, cardio, and strength.

We also cover: the state of boutique fitness, launching STRONG Pilates in the US, and leading the low-impact training revolution.

Listen to today’s episode here.

🍎 Othership lands in New York City

The Toronto-born social sauna and ice bath studio will open in NYC’s Flatiron District this month ahead of nationwide expansion.

New high. Offering group or solo sessions, the 7K-square-foot studio integrates breathwork and meditation with a 90-person sauna and cold plunges to deliver “peak experiences” for emotional well-being.

Join the club. Othership joins fellow NYC-based brands redefining social wellness.

  • Self-care-focused Remedy Place will launch two new clubs per year while scaling its out-of-club events business.
  • Creating a lifestyle, The WELL is expanding internationally, partnering with hotels, and entering real estate.
  • Also opening in Flatiron this year, BATHHOUSE combines four styles of sauna for “performative relaxation.”

Elsewhere, Laird Hamilton’s XPT is preparing to launch its first high-performance studio in California, and Australia’s Saint Haven is scaling social longevity clubs.

Punchline: Health clubs have always been a social experience, but as the public’s sense of belonging bottoms out, Othership aims to become the church of wellness.

Presented by VI

🦾 The AI catalyst for a healthier tomorrow

VI’s Enterprise-AI platform is a breakthrough for healthcare and wellness enterprises.

Trusted by Fortune 500 companies, its end-to-end AI solution serves over 161M members, driving an average of 4.2X ROI on every customer dollar invested.

Seamlessly integrating AI models and APIs within existing tools, VI provides personalized interventions across the member lifecycle, maximizing activation, engagement, retention, and efficiency.

On a mission to help people worldwide live healthy and active lives, VI is improving health outcomes and financial returns — because a sustainable healthcare ecosystem requires both.

📈 Foodsmart scales up

The food-as-medicine platform raised $200M to increase access to insurance-backed meals.

All-access. Already serving 2.2M members, Foodsmart combines 1:1 telenutrition with personalized meal planning and discounted grocery delivery to reverse diet-related disease.

Eat well. Poor diet contributes to the death of 10K+ Americans every week, costing the country over $1T. As an alternative or complement to GLP-1s, food as medicine will be key to better outcomes — and startups are leading the way.

  • Specializing in chronic disease, Season Health raised $7M in December.
  • Expanding access to RDs, Nourish closed a $35M Series A round in March.
  • Also in March, Chiyo secured $3M for TCM-inspired maternal health meal delivery.
  • Backed by General Catalyst and Forerunner Ventures, Fay emerged with $25M in May.

Meanwhile, food desert-focused FarmboxRx eclipsed $35M in revenue, and Kaiser Permanente launched a Food Is Medicine Center of Excellence to advance healthcare integration.

Takeaway. Drugs can jumpstart weight loss, but long-term health rests on lifestyle shifts. A zero-risk step therapy, food prescriptions could soon become core to primary care.

📰 News & Notes

  • Amazon evolves hybrid healthcare strategy.
  • EōS Fitness seeks $100M growth investment.
  • WHO: Physical inactivity fuels global health crisis.
  • Noom adds AI-powered personal health assistant.
  • Abbott targets summer launch for OTC CGM Lingo.
  • Startup Q&A: GEM founder Sara Cullen on real-food supplements.
  • USA Women’s Basketball taps Glossier as first-ever beauty partner.
  • Strava shutters FATMAP, integrates features. [Re-read: Strava Buys FATMAP]
  • Health and fitness leaders form coalition to reshape American healthcare system.
  • Featured job: A wellness-focused venture studio is hiring a Director of Finance for its network of cold plunge and sauna studios.

💰 Money Moves

  • Obesity care company Form Health raised $38M in a Series B led by Sound Ventures.
  • AI-powered primary care platform K Health added $50M in a funding round led by Claure Group.
  • Biotech VC firm Curie.Bio added $380M to its fund for early-stage therapeutics companies.
  • Teamworks, a SaaS platform for sports organizations, acquired meal planning software ZoneIn.
  • Next-gen CGM developer SAVA emerged from stealth with an $8M seed round led by Balderton Capital and Exor Ventures.
  • Munich-based AI fitness app Zing Coach closed a $10M Series A led by Zubr Capital and TriplePoint Capital.
  • Heyday Health, provider of virtual-forward value-based care for Medicare patients, secured $12.5M in a new funding round.
  • Fitness equipment company Core Health and Fitness received an undisclosed investment from alternative asset manager Franklin Square.
  • Low-carb baked goods brand Hero Bread added $21M in a Series B co-led by Cleveland AvenueDNS Capital and Composite Ventures.
  • Modern health insurance startup Sidecar Health closed a $165M Series D led by Koch Disruptive Technologies.
  • Pickleball club CityPickle added an undisclosed investment from The Avenue Sports Fund.
  • Forum Brands acquired EVER, a hormonal health-focused skincare brand for over-30s.
  • Healthtech company Fabric acquired Walmart’s telehealth business MeMD.

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

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