While it’s not that $10 billion that Uber shareholders might be garnering right now in a massive tender offer, one of the car-hailing company’s most prominent board members — Arianna Huffington — managed to score $30 million in a new round of funding for her startup that focuses on “behavior change.”
The New York-based Thrive Global has been valued at $120 million, post-money, said sources, in the transaction. New investors include Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff and the venture firm IVP.
IVP has invested about $20 million and Benioff $5 million. The rest of the funding came from another new investor, Marketo co-founder and former CEO Phil Fernandez, as well as early investors including Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Greycroft Partners, Advancit Capital and entrepreneur Sean Parker.
In its first round 18 months ago, the company raised $7 million.
In an interview yesterday, Huffington said that the money will be used to add about 40 new staffers, doubling the staff. Those hires, she said, would be almost entirely technical, to build out Thrive Global’s platform to serve businesses in a more automated way.
In the fast-growing wellness arena, Thrive Global has focused on stress and burnout in the workplace, offering client companies a range of services that aim at improving productivity and performance via behavioral change products and organizational assessments. It also has a media element, including podcasts and video series, with a myriad of related content.
Huffington said the company has about 30 clients now, such as JPMorgan, SAP and Hilton, making money from things like courses, sponsorships and marketing.
It’s the digital products — such as its science-based Pathways, Journeys and Microsteps — that will be expanded to move Thrive Global to a software-as-a-service model that will be aimed at the enterprise and consumer markets.
In a statement the company said: “The new funding will allow Thrive Global to scale its growth by developing digital behavior change products for the enterprise and consumer markets, building out its connected ecosystem of digital products while developing world-class data, analytics and measurement capabilities to provide users with personalized behavior-change interventions and demonstrate measurable ROI for corporations investing in employee well-being.”
Short version of that whopper sentence: The Uber of napping and other tips for chillaxing.
“The data is unequivocal: Our individual health and well-being are directly linked to our performance and productivity,” said Benioff in a statement.
“We were looking for a product and market fit and, unlike others, this is not a service business or a Band-Aid on workplace problems,” said IVP’s Somesh Dash, who will join Thrive Global’s board of directors, in an interview. “What interested us is that Thrive Global was rooted in science and built on data.”
Huffington underscored that focus. “We are not some fluffy, nice-to-have service for companies to deal with stressed workers,” she said. “Companies are realizing that to create a sustainable business they need to pay attention to employees — and not in an eat-your-broccoli way, but in a way that engages them and improves their lives.”
Huffington said that her experience as a director at Uber has been a “teachable moment” about the dangers of a workplace that is growing too fast. “I have learned a lot from it,” she said about what the company has essentially created: The most toxic corporate culture in tech. “When you sacrifice it all on hyper growth, it has a price on human capital.”
After being on the fractious board of Uber, Huffington sure would know about that! IVP’s Dash added that the time she has spent at Uber — a lot this past year — has not hindered the growth at Thrive Global. “Thrive is Arianna,” he said.
Along with the funding, Thrive Global said that it had named Brent Chudoba as its COO and CFO. He previously worked at PicMonkey and SurveyMonkey.
Here's a nice video from last year of Jason Del Rey trying to grok Arianna and her whole relaxing pitch:
We're getting a tour of Arianna Huffinton's new pop-up store.
Arianna Huffington is giving us a tour of her new company's pop-up store. Join us!Posted by Recode on Monday, December 19, 2016
And here is a podcast I did with Arianna, in which I resist her attempts to make me sleep:
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.