What Is Arianna Huffington's New Health Startup?

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Arianna Huffington

Thrive Global's brand is all over the place.

There's a whole lot of "thriving" going on in today's startup market.

Not to be confused with Thrive Market, the e-commerce health food retailer backed by UTA, or Thrive Capital, Josh Kushner's venture firm with multiple grocery-related investments, Thrive Global is the new health and wellness business that's stealing Arianna Huffington away from her flagship media brand, The Huffington Post.

But exactly what business Thrive Global is in isn't clear.

The revenue model, as outlined in its investors deck, obtained by Business Insider, is sprawling: The company anticipates income from corporate workshops, branded media content, online tutorials and certifications, an e-commerce site, a user-generated content platform, various apps, packaged goods and "workspace design" consulting fees, among other streams.

The brand itself is similarly hard to define. While the message of health-consciousness certainly comes across, the deck espouses a smorgasbord of disparate values, like promoting workplace productivity, addressing the "pandemic of stress" and cultivating a "mindset focused on learning, experimenting and iterating."

Whatever that means.

Despite all the corporate newspeak, the health and wellness segment is one of the few within the digital media space where investment is continuing to grow. Recent deals in the segment include a $1.73 million round for YouBeauty, a buyout of Total Beauty Media by Evolve in 2015 and a $30 million Series G round for Mode Media, according to data from CB Insights.

Thrive Global has secured an undisclosed amount from investors including hedge funder Ray Dalio and Silicon Valley enfant terrible Sean Parker.

"Healthcare spending is over 17 percent of U.S. GDP, but it's largely ineffective at preventing the chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes and heart disease," John Durant, founder of Wild Ventures, an angel fund that invests in consumer health products, told The Hollywood Reporter. "So there's a massive opportunity for healthy living startups that actually help people stay healthy."

Huffington's new venture is almost certain to benefit from the extended network of parent companies she cultivated for the Huffington Post. AOL first bought the online news operation for $315 million in 2011. Then Verizon bought AOL for $4.4 billion in 2015. Verizon also acquired Yahoo in July, giving it the third-largest advertising platform on the Internet, after Google and Facebook.

HuffPo partnered with messaging app Snapchat earlier in the year, opening a "pop-up" channel on the service's "Discover" page.

While Thrive Global searches for its identity amid so much online and mobile content, its moniker will ground the brand in a bit of already established IP — Huffington's 2015 book of the same name.

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