Insider Briefing No. 6, The Spotify Of Meditation & A Fundraising Round-up
Insider Briefings are designed for entrepreneurs, executives, and investors interested in boutique fitness, natural foods, fitness tech, and emerging wellness trends.
Here’s what you need to know today.
Like the rising tide of wellness, the mindfulness trend continues to make waves. And it’s easy to see why. The global wellness industry is now valued at $4.2T, with mindfulness attracting some $1.1B in the US alone. With opportunity abound, innovation in the (head)space shows no signs of slowing down.
Just this week, Inscape announced changes to its app that makes meditation playlists more readily accessible for users. Following a Spotify-like model for curating mood-based playlists that help users discover music, Inscape plans to put out up to 10 playlists each day focused on topics like sleep, anxiety, and boosting energy.
Given the pressure from competitors, it’s no wonder that Inscape is attempting to differentiate itself. The company, which is currently ranked 130th in the Health & Fitness category of Apple’s App Store, is hopeful that the new changes will help close the gap between it and similar apps like Headspace and Calm — ranked four and five, respectively (it’s worth noting that Aura, BetterMe, Simple Habit, 10% Happier, and a number of other apps also outrank Inscape).
Meanwhile, the foremost competitors aren’t taking their foot off the gas. With $27M in funding, Calm is kicking off global expansion and launching partnerships with Sonos and American Airlines. And Headspace is keeping pace via A-list partnerships with Nike, Weight Watchers, and the NBA, its new sleepcast content, and corporate wellness contracts that are expected to extend its reach to 500 companies and thousands of employees.
As the Google Maps of the outdoors, AllTrails is a fan favorite among hikers — some nine million registered users rely on the service. Having proven that it can attract users, Spectrum Equity wants to see if AllTrails can print money. The firm paid $75M to purchase a controlling stake in the company, with the money slated for hiring and overseas expansion, including the addition of different languages.
Allbirds, makers of ultra-comfy wool sneakers, enters the unicorn club with $50M in funding at a $1.4B valuation (according to The WSJ). This digital-first brand is following in the footsteps of other DNVBs by getting into brick-and-mortar. Word is, Allbirds will use this fresh round of funding to double down on physical retail, bringing more stores to the US and UK before heading to Asia.
In the world of healthy eats, convenience is king and Kettlebell Kitchen is coming for the throne. Unlike meal kit companies like Blue Apron, Kettlebell Kitchen delivers healthy prepared meals and custom meal plans tailor-made to help customers with fitness, nutrition, sports performance, and weight loss goals. In a press release, the company announced their $26.7M Series B from North Castle Partners — a health-focused private equity firm who has backed Equinox, SLT, Barry’s Bootcamp, and Brooklyn Boulders, among others.
Admittedly, SlimFast may have been ahead of the healthy living curve. But now, Glanbia, a global nutrition holding company, wants to bring new life to the brand that did $220M worth of sales in 2017. Glanbia paid $350M to acquire the brand from Kainos Capital, adding SlimFast to a portfolio that includes Optimum Nutrition, BSN, and Isopure.
At the same time, bone broth is experiencing something of a boom. At least that’s true of one company raking in round after round of capital. Kettle & Fire, a line of shelf-stable broths and soups, added $8M to their coffers less than two months after closing a separate $8M funding round. The round was lead by CAVU Venture Partners, a powerhouse in the healthy food and beverage space (their portfolio includes Bulletproof, REBBL, and Health-Ade, among others). With plans to ramp up distribution and innovation, Kettle & Fire anticipates reaching $100–$200M in revenue in the coming years.
Following the path forged by female-focused DTC vitamin startups, personalized vitamins for guys are gaining steam. hims, a startup juggernaut bringing hair loss and ED pills to the masses, recently launched chewable vitamins. Keeps, a hims look-alike, closed a $15.25M Series A. And Ro, the company behind erectile dysfunction treatment service Roman, raised $88M to expand its product line.
It has become evident convenience is carrying the market, as food delivery in every form is on fire. After nearly shutting down, Good Eggs announced $50M in new funding. Differentiating themselves from the competition, Good Eggs promises absurdly fresh foods, with 70% of its products being sourced locally.
In other delivery news, Postmates has closed a $300M round (valuing the company at $1.2B) led by Tiger Global to advance its technology, including using robots and automation to make cheaper and faster deliveries.
Finally, dwarfing all other deals, Instacart raised a new $600M round of funding that values the startup at $7.6B. This news comes a short six months after Instacart closed a $350M investment at a value of $4.35B. How could that be? Well, brick-and-mortar grocery stores are a $1T industry, but only 5% of those sales come from e-commerce. Put simply, the space is ripe for innovation and Instacart is well positioned as a partner to grocery stores as e-commerce and delivery ramp up.
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