Personalized direct-to-consumer vitamin and supplement company Care/of purchased wellness app LabLyfe for an undisclosed amount on Tuesday.
LabLyfe attempts to demystify the wellness conversation by having its approximately 3,000 users track their performance and results of various wellness “challenges.” Challenges can focus on issues like stress, digestion and acne, and LabLyfe is meant to help its users understand if a particular wellness practice, such as turning off their phone an hour before bedtime, is providing meaningful results. The LabLyfe acquisition is to demonstrate that Care/of is trustworthy and to offer more data on product efficacy to customers.
To start, LabLyfe has invited over 1,000 Care/of customers to use its app, so that the company can see what challenges clients are most interested in. LabLyfe will invite all Care/of customers in early 2020. Since launch, Care/of has had over 5 million people take its online quiz, meant to aid product selection, but the company declined to share subscriber figures. Sales have increased 200% year-over-year, said Craig Elbert, Care/of CEO. The company has raised $41 million across two investment rounds since 2017.
“LabLyfe gives people tools to validate their wellness experience or be guided in the right direction. Customers don’t know what is real and what’s not,” said Nathan Kane, LabLyfe co-founder and senior product strategist.
The wellness industry, which as a whole was worth $4.2 trillion in 2017, according to the Global Wellness Institute, is undergoing increased scrutiny. Facing regulation in the E.U., Goop formed a team of scientists to vet the claims of products; meanwhile, ingestible brand The Nue Co. recently launched an out-of-home campaign that sought to challenge what wellness is. Hair-loss supplement brand Nutrafol is also investing in scientific studies to support its product strategy. Ingestibles brands, particularly, have long experienced pushback from physicians who cite that vitamins and supplements are unnecessary for a healthy person.
“We don’t pretend that LabLyfe has the rigor of a double-blind study in a scientific journal, but it can give people the confidence that what they are doing is working for them,” said Elbert.
Since the end of 2018, Care/of installed a new product development team that creates digital products such as quizzes for each product launch — the goal is to launch a digital experience with every product throughout 2020. The long-term play for LabLyfe is to incorporate its data into Care/of’s marketing and communications. Presently, Care/of’s marketing and communications focus on its quizzes and how supplements can help a customer with his or her wellness goals, said Anu Verma, Care/of’s vp of marketing. She said LabLyfe could also be used to inform product development in the future.
Care/of’s ad and email marketing that incorporate scientific facts perform better than those that do not, she said, but declined to elaborate.
“In a broader state of affairs within the wellness industry, people are bombarded by different types of advice, and the advice can be conflicting,” she said. “We are trying to address that and give consumers useful, research-backed information.”