// 04.30.2020

5 startups devoted to your business’ wellness.

In our article about ten markets set for exponential growth in 2020, corporate wellness was among them. And the reasons behind the continuing rise of wellness in the workplace seem to be two-fold. On one hand, businesses are faced with ever-increasing healthcare costs, which when combined with global increases in depression, anxiety, and other work-related conditions, amounts to severe financial consequences.

Whilst the situation is better in Europe than in the USA, there remain real costs to businesses that experience high rates of employee absence and low rates of productivity due to health issues. Businesses are also realizing that not only does addressing these issues reduce costs but investing in corporate wellness boosts employee engagement, productivity and adaptability whilst dramatically improving work culture and even increasing market valuation.

And on the other hand, people are becoming more aware of workplace wellbeing and their own personal health. The demands on businesses to provide a healthy work environment with the necessary support to thrive physically and mentally have never been higher, and companies are being asked to return the value that employees are giving, partly through investment in wellness. As an issue we think is important for every business, here are five startups leading the way to better, healthier and happier people in the workplace.

1. Shleep

Today, we’re bombarded with stimulus throughout the day; notifications, emails, adverts, social media, Netflix and news. And together with extended work hours becoming the norm, we live in a world where sleep deprivation is rife. 38% of people fall asleep unintentionally during the day, and a sleep deprived employee loses more than two weeks of productivity a year. In short, sleep deprived employees cost a business, a lot.

Amsterdam based Shleep is a pioneering startup tackling sleep-robbed workforces. Founded in 2016 and securing €1.4 million from VCs in 2019, their B2B platform offers an all-encompassing service to vastly improve the sleep habits of employees. Including office-wide sleep assessments, introductory seminars on the science of sleep, tailored four-week programs guided through their app and continued support, Shleep is offering measurable results for users, now including the likes of Nivea, The Huffington Post, Deloitte and Spotify.

2. Unmind

Unmind, the workplace mental health platform that recently acquired $10 million in Series A funding, is using clinically backed tools to allow businesses to track, assess, understand and improve the mental wellness of their employees.

Their philosophy is rooted in the idea that prevention is better than cure, and the service they offer gives employers the means to improve wellbeing within the office whilst simultaneously giving each employee the means to visualize and comprehend their own wellbeing.

It’s nice to see that Unmind is focusing on the benefits to the people who use them, rather than clouding their genuine purpose with corporate language and promises of returns on investment; so far, the results speak for themselves.

3. BioBeats

"How do your employees actually feel?". That's the opening question BioBeats asks on its website and follows up with the worrying statistic that "2 in 5 people experience poor mental health due to work". BioBeats is a UK based startup founded in 2013 that uses wearables and smartphones to gather biometric data from users before making use of AI to calculate their baseline wellness score. From this, BioBeats provides personalized support in the form of digital therapeutics, meditation sessions and other evidence based resources.

For the individual, it's a pioneering tool to see just how many aspects of their lives affects mental health whilst also facilitating awareness and control over it. And for the employer, BioBeats offers a platform that shows anonymized data from their workforce, eliminating guesswork and drawing firm correlations between wellbeing and performance. BioBeats was just recently acquired by Huma for approximately $10 million. 

4. Spill

Mental health within the workplace is a tricky subject, and often those who are feeling the weight of mental struggles won’t speak out about it. Sometimes this is due to the stigma around mental health and sometimes it’s because employees don’t feel they have the access to someone they can talk to. Sometimes it’s both and more.

Spill is a London based message-based therapy startup, and last year picked up £650k in seed investment.  Spill’s core idea is simple and clear; providing a much-needed channel of conversation for those dealing with mental health issues. Working with a select group of registered councilors, Spill gives those who are going through difficult times a safe space to talk. And on top of that, they also offer practical advice for managers to spot warning signs that their employees might be dealing with something and hand-picked resources to learn more about mental health.

5. Headspace

Admittedly, Headspace isn’t a startup anymore, and with its last valuation of $320 million, it’s more a giant of the wellness industry. But we felt it had to be included simply because it’s done so much for mental health across the world. It’s an exemplary mix of an original idea, a solution to a real problem, brilliant gamification, a beautiful user experience, clear values and an enticing founder story.

And with Headspace for Work, they’re combining their renowned meditation sessions with corporate programs devoted to improving wellness at work. Educational webinars, assessment and engagement reports, a library of work-based resources as well as full access to the app for all employees shows Headspace effectively scaling what they know about individual wellbeing into the collective space of work.


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