Boom! Zoom Invests in Wellness Coach Amid Year of Record Growth for the Miami Startup
By Nancy Dahlberg
Originally published via Refresh Miami
When D and Julie Sharma launched their wellness startup several years ago, they had experienced and sought help for severe burnout from previous startups they had been involved in. They wanted to build a company that would make wellness a sought-after employee benefit, just like medical, dental and vision.
It was somewhat slow-going at first, with HR departments telling them it wasn’t their top priority at the moment. The critical needs during the pandemic, and the work-from-home culture that it brought to all of us, became the Miami-based Wellness Coach’s moment.
“What the pandemic did was make it a No. 1 priority,” said D. We’ve all heard about the Great Resignation. People are resigning from jobs, changing their lives, because of the toll the isolation and lack of work-life balance has taken on their well-being, he said.
Wellness Coach now is a digital health platform offering hundreds of coaches for 1:1 and group coaching, tools for team wellness and over 3,000 on-demand wellness sessions for holistic well-being. Wellness Coach sells directly to employers who offer the all-in-one service free to their employees. Wellness Coach, formerly Meditation.live, rebranded in March 2020, to better reflect its expanded focus, which includes mental, physical, social, and financial wellness.
Wellness Coach has been adding 35 to 45 new sessions every week, Julie said. The employers are reporting that over 50% of their employees are actively using the wellness platform.
In October, Wellness Coach fully rolled out an app tailored to remote workers. “With the pandemic, we are constantly on Zoom, we’re stuck at our desks, we’re not moving, so we created a product just for Zoom,” said D. Workplace stretches, relaxation exercises, fitness breaks, soft music to work from home by – it’s all part of the app that employers can offer.
Best of all, the Sharmas say, is a way for employees to book a coach for any type of wellness right from the app for free 30 minute individual or group sessions. The startup’s global platform includes multi-lingual coaches for fitness, anxiety, nutrition and more. Even sleep coaches have been very popular, they say, and a top offering has been financial coaches. Unfortunately, coaches have helped employees deal with grief, too. “Our coaches are very well trained in so many aspects of wellness — grief, transitions, stress management, anxiety management,” Julie said.
Today, Zoom is announcing that Wellness Coach and 12 other startups are receiving investments through its Zoom Apps Fund, its $100 million global venture fund supporting companies building innovative apps and integrations on the Zoom Developer platform. The amount of the investment is not being disclosed.
Beyond the funding, the investment will give Wellness Coach access to Zoom’s networks and resources, the Sharmas say, and with the funding, the startup is in full hiring mode. Wellness Coach is truly a global team, with 45 corporate employees in all over the US, as well as in Europe and India. It also has about 200 coaches and content creators, and is hiring two or three new coaches a week to keep up with the growth.
Julie recalled how she and her husband sought out help from experts, teachers and gurus when they were suffering from burnout prior to launching this startup.
It’s not just employers and their employees who are taking notice of Wellness Coach’s solution. Zoom is as well.
“That’s how we got past it and really built up that toolbox to prevent burnout from happening again. Now we’re founding a startup, and we are three years in, and we’re doing great, we’re thriving, and we’re ready for more growth and scale,” Julie said. “We really wanted to make sure that our community has access to many life coaches, whatever makes sense for them.”