In 2015, Jordana Kier and Alex Friedman launched LOLA, a reproductive healthcare company. For years, women have handled the same products without asking what’s in them. Reproductive health remains a taboo topic for women. Jordana Kier wanted to alter that. She wanted women to take more control and be more aware of the products they’re using.
The company started by producing and selling organic pads and tampons. The products contain no chemical additives and are safe for women. In 2018, the company received funding worth $24 million from Alliance Consumer Growth or ACG and its affiliates. The funding has allowed Lola to include more products to its portfolio. The company currently manufactures and sells organic female cleansing wipes, lubricants, and condoms.
The story goes that Richard Pierson met Andy Puddicombe in 2008. Richard was battling anxiety, while Andy had arrived from Tibet where he mastered meditation and mindfulness. The two strangers agreed to support each other on the condition that they both benefit by learning from one another. Since Andy was excellent at meditation, he was going to help Richard deal with his anxiety. On the other hand, Richard was going to teach Andy marketing. Two years later, Andy and Richard started a meditation event business and named it Headspace. The duo charged people to attend those events.
The business did very well and the duo decided to develop an app that would allow them to teach meditation to a vaster audience. In 2015, the startup received series A funding from The Chernin Group (TCG) to include more features to the app and expand to other regions. The amount received is not common for Series A funding; the standard range is between $3 million and $15 million. TCG and affiliates were willing to give the company $30 million as Series A funding. That shows you how much faith they placed in the company.
In 2014, four friends started Thrive Market. Nick, Kate, Sasha, and Gunnar wanted to make healthy foods more affordable and available to everyone. Despite having numerous benefits, wholesome organic foods are overpriced partly due to the presence of middlemen. These middlemen include their markup before selling to retailers or grocery stores.
Thrive Market gets rid of middlemen and delivers products directly to the customer from the farmer or manufacturer. Without middlemen, Thrive Market can set moderate prices to benefit all customers. To use Thrive Market, you have to subscribe to their services and pay a monthly maintenance fee of around $5. In 2016, Thrive Market received Series B funding worth $111 million from Invus and affiliates. Today, the company makes over $100 million annually.
Ten Percent Happier
Ten Percent Happier launched with a different objective in mind. The company saw there was a problem with the meditation apps in today’s market. Those apps were more traditional and didn’t fit well with some users. The company wanted to make a meditation app that anyone could use. Ten Percent Happier instructors take alternative approaches depending on the audience. For example, there is a meditation program for athletes.
Ten Percent Happier has also gone on to release a book and a podcast for those interested in learning more meditation techniques.
When Katerina Schneider was pregnant, she needed prenatal vitamins for her baby’s development. Although there were several options in the market, Katerina couldn’t help but wonder what those vitamins were made of. There were a lot of gray areas, and she didn’t feel safe and comfortable taking those vitamins. That’s where the idea of Ritual came up.
Ritual manufacturers female supplements using safe and familiar products. The vitamins are packaged in a clear bottle so that you can see what is inside. In 2019, the company received series B funding worth $25 million from Norwest Venture Partners. The company wants to start manufacturing post-natal and post-menopausal vitamins.
Calm was launched in 2012 by Michael Acton Smith and Alex Tew. The company started by offering a few relaxation techniques on its platform before expanding to meditation. Calm’s business model is a fascinating one. When you download the app, you get free access to introductory courses. If you want more, you have to pay to acquire those services.
Calm is the first meditation company to become a unicorn. Until now, Calm has received funding of over $100 million. It’s also one of the few companies with celebrity collaborations. Actors like Mathew McConaughey narrate some of Calm’s relaxation sessions.