Relationship wellness is on the rise, but is the sector venture-scalable?
I’ve been seeing a lot of deals crop up in the relationship-coaching/couples-therapy space. OURS ($5m in May 2022), Paired ($4m in 2021), Ritual ($2m in Feb 2022), Lasting (acquired by Talkspace in 2020), and most recently, Remble ($1.4m in Oct 2022).
Investors interested in mental health would be wise to consider this sub-category, seeing as so much of what happens in our relationships impacts our day-to-day stress and anxiety levels. Relationships are also often a key focal point of 1:1 therapy discussions, so it makes sense to have dedicated services to meet this pervasive and specific need. Not to mention, divorce rates are increasing around the world, and relationship experts warn that the pandemic-induced break-up curve (who knew that was a thing?) may not have peaked yet. Yikes.
Although the market size seems big enough to support new entrants, one thing on my mind as an investor is: if insurance doesn’t typically cover couples counseling and employer programs don’t usually offer it as part of benefits packages, how much can these businesses really scale? While these traits are not the only indicators of a startup’s success, they are characteristics I typically look for when evaluating digital health companies, and those which commonly appear in best-in-class venture-scalable business models.
Like with any nascent healthcare vertical, insurance coverage and employer offerings may likely change or be added as startups collect data around improved outcomes and shop them to payers and providers. But only time will tell of this success. For now, founders are hoping that their cash-pay clients can support their businesses and generate enough data to validate proof of concept.
A focus on DTC is so often the starting point (but rarely the ideal end state) for many businesses/founders in digital health, as I often see.
I’d love to hear thoughts by others. Investors — what makes you bullish (or bearish) on the ‘relationship wellness’ theme?
This article does not reflect Swiftarc Ventures’ plans to invest in the Relationship Wellness space nor do I have a professional affiliation with any of the companies mentioned above. All opinions and views expressed are my own and are current as of the date of this writing. My content is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute or imply endorsement of any third party’s products or services, nor should it be considered investment advice.