WellSet raises funding to become a discovery tool for wellness

Steven Loeb · July 31, 2019 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/4e6c

The platform uses ratings and reviews to help clients find the right wellness practitioner

The conversation around health and wellness has shifted in recent years, to the point where people now seem to not only be more aware of the need to live healthily, but they actually seem willing to put in the time and effort to do so. As such, the global wellness industry grew from $3.7 trillion to a $4.2 trillion in just two years. 

Yet, there's remains a problem when it comes to actually getting people to fully embrace the wellness space, according to Tegan Bukowski, CEO and Founder of WellSet, a booking platform focused on the wellness industry: getting people in touch with the right person for their specific problem.

"Currently, there is no onboarding process for people interested in preventative care or alternative medicine. Unless you know someone who knows someone it is extremely difficult to navigate the world of complementary wellness," she told VatorNews. "At the same time, wellness practitioners are healing artists, they are dedicated to their craft and aren’t necessarily expert marketers."

That is where WellSet enters the picture; the company is offering a marketplace where customers can find the right practitioner, thanks to ratings and reviews, and where practitioners "can focus on their craft and allow WellSet to help generate new clientele for them."

"WellSet is a discovery tool and a true platform at heart. We are bringing practitioners from over 35 categories like Acupuncturists, Chiropractors, Massage Therapists, Holistic Health Coaches, Nutritionists, Ayurvedic Practitioners and Doulas into one centralized searchable marketplace for the first time. Practitioners can opt to be vetted as WellSet Select practitioners, which means they have gone through our verification process that includes a background, credentials, and reference check," Bukowski told me.

Health and wellness practitioners can sign up and list their practice on WellSet for free, allowing them to manage their bookings and payments in one central platform. Clients, meanwhile, are able to use it discover and book appointments online with local verified practitioners.

Clients can search based on practitioner type, health concern, location, price and rating. In addition, they can also search WellSet's curated Circle marketplaces, which Bukowski describes as "mini-marketplaces of hand-picked practitioners curated by your favorite brands, industry leaders, influencers, and community that you trust."

"We know word-of-mouth referrals are everything, so we're taking them online. We believe that creating this platform is an opportunity to make wellness more mainstream and accessible to the general public, so we are really focused on introducing a layer of trust and credibility to the industry for the first time," she said. 

There are a variety of different reasons that a client might use WellSet; for example,  if someone is struggling with infertility and has been told that IVF is their only option, WellSet can point them in the direction of someone who can potentially. help them in other ways.

"Yet they may be hearing from friends or articles they read that acupuncture is highly effective in treating infertility and certain underlying causes of infertility like PCOS or endometriosis. WellSet can help a customer find a trusted acupuncturist in their area," Bukowski explained.

Another example might be someone who is lethargic, and whose blood panels all show up healthy. That person can use WellSet to find a nutritionist or functional medicine coach to help diagnose their problem.

"Let's say you are a person who has been struggling with back pain but doesn't know where to start or what type of practitioner to go to, have a tight budget, and want to see someone who will come to your home. On WellSet, you will be able to browse practitioners across many modalities who have identified solving 'back pain' or 'chronic pain' as one of their specific specialties and you can limit the search results to practitioners who are under $100 and willing to come to you. Before Wellset, this type of instant specificity has been impossible. We are really excited about solving this discovery problem for people across the entire country at scale."

On Tuesday, WellSet announced that it raised a pre-seed round of funding led by private equity, as well as wellness and tech angel investors such as Kelly Noonan Gores, the writer, producer and director of HEAL, and female-driven angel investment group Broadway Angels. While the amount of funding raised was not disclosed, Bukowski did tell me that "it is in the seven figures."

The company plans to use the new money to officially launch in the Los Angeles market with thousands of practitioners. The company is planning to be rolled out across the whole country by the Fall of this year; in the meantime, consumers nationwide who join the WellSet waitlist will receive a $20 credit towards their first session booked on the platform. 

"Los Angeles is not only one of the largest cities in the US, but it also has a very strong culture geared towards wellbeing. As a result, there is an audience of early adopters and a rich network of high-quality practitioners," Bukowski said. "We have had an immense amount of interest from both sides of the market in Los Angeles already and are really excited to see that we already have a critical mass of practitioners in 15 markets across the country on our waitlist." 

The funding will also go toward further developing WellSet's technology platform, with a focus on client management tools on the practitioner side and better discovery tools, as well as an educational library, called WellSet Articles, on the consumer side first.

Ultimately, WellSet's goal is to make wellness more accessible for everyone and to change the conversation around preventative health.

"Every member of our executive team has a personal health journey that made us realize that there needs to be an easier way to discover the right wellness practitioners. Historically, people discover wellness practitioners on Google or by asking friends via in person or on Facebook. it can be scary to go to a practitioner you just found on Google who is literally going to put needles in your body, and asking friends can be embarrassing. Especially if the reason you need a practitioner is something sensitive like fertility issues or IBS. We saw a need to create an easier, more trustworthy way to discover credentialed wellness practitioners who can actually help you with your specific health concerns."

Read more from our "Trends and news" series

More episodes