Exclusive: Ness grabs $15.5 million for healthy rewards app
Ness, the maker of a fintech app that rewards users for healthy behavior, raised $15.5 million in seed funding, the company tells Axios exclusively.
Why it matters: Behavior is notoriously difficult to change in the long-run. Ness is among a growing number of fintech and healthtech companies trying gamify the process and make consumers adopt healthier habits.
Details: Will Ventures led the round and was joined by Core Innovation Capital, Accomplice, Digitalis, GFC, Portage, Refactor Capital, Atypical and RiverPark Venture.
- Other companies in the space include Paceline, which raised $29.5 million last year for its app that rewards users for physical activity, and YuLife, which raised $70 million last summer.
How it works: Consumers connect their credit card to the Ness rewards app and are given points for money spent at "healthy" places like Sweetgreen, the doctor's or Barry's Bootcamp.
- Those points can in turn be used on gift cards or at one of Ness' 4,000-person network of health coaches, dietitians, therapists and doulas (which Ness got via acquisition from Wellcare).
- Later this year, Ness plans to launch a credit card that would allow the company to generate revenue from interchange and additional credit card fees.
Of note: The end game for CEO and co-founder Derek Flanzraich is to create an alternative to insurance.
- "In this country, the vast majority of people actually get health insurance from their employer," Flanzraich says. "The problem with that is that you're with your employer for a short period of time, so there's essentially no incentive for a health plan to care about your long-term health."
- By incentivizing consumers to get healthier early on, Ness believes it can lower the chances of chronic illness as well as the cost of health care.