See the pitch deck that helped Arianna Huffington’s startup raise $80 million as it bids to end the ‘stress and burnout epidemic’

Arianna Huffington
  • Thrive Global recently raised an $80 million investment round at a reported $700 million valuation.
  • The company is stepping up hiring as it bids to be the “one-stop shop for the employee experience.”
  • Founder Arianna Huffington shared Thrive’s Series C investment pitch deck.

When Arianna Huffington founded her wellness startup Thrive Global in 2016, she was one of only a few high-profile business executives regularly talking publicly about burnout.

Supercharged by a global pandemic that upended most people’s working lives, “burnout” has become part of the everyday lexicon and an increasingly important issue for business leaders.

Huffington told Insider that 2020 was a banner year for Thrive, which offers companies a software platform, app, and a range of other support to help improve their employees’ wellbeing. The first quarter of 2020 was Thrive’s biggest-ever in bookings, the majority of which took place in March when COVID hit, she said.

While Thrive declined to disclose revenue numbers, the company projected it would more than double its annual recurring revenue, or ARR, this year and continue the trend of doubling revenue each year over the next three years.

Earlier this month, Thrive raised an $80 million funding round led by Kleiner Perkins and Owl Ventures at a $700 million-plus valuation, Bloomberg first reported.

Huffington said Thrive plans to spend the new funds on ramping up hiring, largely across product, engineering, and business development. Thrive, which has a headcount of around 125 people, currently has more than 100 job openings.

Elsewhere, acquisitions and acqui-hires are also likely to play a role in Thrive’s plans as the company looks to enhance its data and artificial-intelligence capabilities, Huffington said. An IPO could also be a possibility, though she added that Thrive’s main focus for 2021 is growth.

“This year is all about our focus on ARR and becoming the one-stop-shop for the employee experience,” Huffington said. “That’s our priority, bringing together not just mental health and wellbeing but learning and development and productivity management.”

Check out the key slides from Thrive’s Series C investor deck below.

Thrive Global has grown from largely offering corporate training and an online store to a “SaaS,” or software-as-a-service, platform that focuses on striking enterprise contracts with large corporations.

Thrive Global

Huffington says the pandemic highlighted Thrive’s mission and made it “more effective by moving wellbeing and mental health from nice-to-have to must-have.”

Thrive Global

Thrive’s customers include Walmart, SAP, Salesforce, and Accenture.

Thrive Global

Thrive’s products are based on “whole human” methodology and include apps, a mental resilience dashboard, and access to call center support.

Thrive Global

“Some of the most successful products and apps in the market are actually point solutions — meditation, sleep, steps — we believe that in order to really crack the code you need to bring everything together,” Huffington said.

The Thrive app assesses areas of wellbeing an employee may need to work on and offers them a selection of microsteps they can take, plus content from experts and others at the company.

Thrive Global

The company has also integrated its “Thrive Reset” product — which prompts users to take short breaks to stretch, concentrate on their breathing, or express gratitude — into workplace tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Thrive Global

Thrive also offers a “Mental Resilience Dashboard” to help company leaders assess if their workforce is at risk of burnout.

Thrive Global

Beyond the tech, Thrive also offers support with marketing and ambassador programs.

Thrive Global

Over the next 12 months, Thrive plans to build more features into its app, including a way to connect with other employees at an organization to perform microsteps together.

Thrive Global

Huffington said healthcare is an area primed for development.

Thrive Global

Right now healthcare is very focused on the “last mile,” while Thrive wants to focus on the “first mile” — making delivery of healthcare more effective, Huffington said. 

But, she added, “When people mange their sleep, diet, stress levels, they will be very likely to avoid becoming diabetic or dealing with hypertension because all the data shows that if you include mental health, 90% of healthcare problems and healthcare costs are preventable.”

Thrive plans to move into the health space by helping users focus on areas such as sleep, diet, and stress-level management.

Thrive Global

Thrive now has six global offices and its investors include Kleiner Perkins, IVP, JAZZ Venture Partners, Owl Ventures, and funds managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

Thrive Global

Its scientific advisory board includes doctors and academics from institutions including Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, and the University of Oxford.

Thrive Global
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