Digital health and wellness company bags $7 million in seed funding led by Andreessen Horowitz.
Bold focuses on disease prevention and healthy aging. Using personalised and research-backed, on-demand exercise programmes, the company aims to help its members get stronger and healthier so that “they can chase the life they want at any age”. A $7m seed round from a Silicon Valley blueblood like Andreessen Horowitz will set the company for growth in a fast-moving virtual-wellness market.
Longevity.Technology: Andreessen Horowitz led this seed round with participation from existing investor Khosla Ventures and new investors Primetime Partners and GingerBread Capital. Bold plans to use the investment to expand its research-based digital health platform focused on healthy aging.
Bold aims to prevent pain, injury, and chronic illness by keeping members active through personalised exercise programmes. Bold’s first programmes showed a significant reduction in falls through strength, balance, and mobility exercises and education, and the company is growing to tackle major health issues prevalent amongst older adults.
By focusing on members over 50, Bold targets a large and growing demographic that is shaping the future of healthcare. More than 85% of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and in the US alone, hundreds of billions of dollars are spent annually treating diseases rather than preventing them. Over $50 billion in annual US healthcare costs are related to falls alone, which are preventable.
“Bold’s fresh approach to virtual fitness programs for older adults is perfectly timed with the transformation happening across the industry around aging in place in the context of one’s broader clinical and social needs.”
“We want Bold to make it easy for anyone to take charge of their health as they age – at any age,” said Bold CEO Amanda Rees. “For many today, barriers like access to clinically-effective programming, fear of injury, or existing health conditions make it challenging or intimidating to get and stay active.”
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Bold launched just months before the COVID-19 pandemic, and its community quickly grew as gyms and senior centres closed, and people looked for fresh ways to stay fit and engaged from home.
The company will soon announce partnerships with health plans that will make its research-based programmes available free of charge to millions of older adults …
The company will soon announce partnerships with health plans that will make its research-based programmes available free of charge to millions of older adults, making it clear that leading insurers, providers and health systems understand the importance of proactive preventive care that Bold provides to an aging population.
Amanda Rees and Hari Arul, co-founders of Bold, started the company after years of living with and caring for Rees’ grandmother who suffered a series of falls and escalating health challenges. Despite an abundance of information about what’s needed for healthier aging, Rees was surprised at how few resources existed to help make it possible.
“We all have loved ones who are aging and seeking to remain independent and healthy, while staying connected with others,” said Julie Yoo, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. “Bold’s fresh approach to virtual fitness programs for older adults is perfectly timed with the transformation happening across the industry around aging in place in the context of one’s broader clinical and social needs. We’re thrilled to be backing Amanda and Hari as they build a unique service and platform that blends best-in-class consumer experience with clinical rigor and payor integration.”
“It’s time for preventive, modern products that promote strength and agency for adults of all ages.”
Recognising that the majority of older adults are now online, Bold believes it is important to design and build products that better serve aging communities – not for when they are sick, but to proactively support their vibrancy and wellness and to aim for prevention, rather than cure.
“We grew up watching commercials for tools that call for help once an older person falls. The idea behind these tools was to allow people to have more independence, but it never actually solved the problem,” said Arul. “It’s time for preventive, modern products that promote strength and agency for adults of all ages.”
The risk of frailty increases with age, and frailty is associated with many poor outcomes, including disability, dementia, falls and increased vulnerability. As well as limiting lifespan and healthspan, there are resulting burdens on families, healthcare providers and society; physical activity interventions such as Bold’s exercise programmes can limit the progression of frailty and have the potential to prevent disability in older age, and, therefore, the potential to improve healthspan and wellness.