Deepak Chopra and European investors back new wellness start-up as it prepares for M&A spree

Technology

Deepak Chopra, founder of the Chopra Foundation and Chopra Global, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, on Oct. 18, 2021.
Kyle Grillot | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Healing Company, a new business set up to acquire consumer health brands, has been backed by wellness icon Deepak Chopra, psychedelics entrepreneur Christian Angermayer and Dragons’ Den investor Steven Bartlett.

The Healing Company, which is giving Chopra a stake in the business in exchange for his time and advice, is aiming to buy and scale 15 direct-to-consumer health brands over the next three years, focusing on holistic medicine and supplements.

“The Healing Company is a team of entrepreneurs, disruptors, healers, leaders and notable people from across Europe and US,” CEO Simon Belsham told CNBC Friday. “We all have a shared goal of addressing the healthcare crisis that we’re in today.”

Chopra, who has agreed to become The Healing Company’s chief scientific advisor, told CNBC that he decided to get involved after meeting Belsham at one of his retreats, which focus on mindfulness, relaxation and meditation.

“For the last 45 years, I’ve focused on integrated health and wellbeing and I thought they had a great business plan to acquire more companies” Chopra said on a call Monday. “I decided I could help them with scientific validation of products and services.”

The Healing Company is planning to acquire brands with nutraceuticals (substances thought to provide medical and health benefits) and nutritional products that address areas like immunity, longevity, inflammation, sleep and stress management. However, Chopra said the markets that these products fit into are full of scam products.

“The problem is every celebrity you can name is creating their own nutraceuticals and there is no credibility anymore for that so there needs to be some kind of scientific validation,” Chopra said, adding that his team at the non-profit Chopra Foundation will review existing research before advising The Healing Company on whether to acquire a brand.

In addition to nutraceuticals and nutritional products, The Healing Company should also look at psychedelics, Chopra said, adding that ketamine, MDMA and psilocybin (the hallucinogenic compound found in magic mushrooms) could all have a role to play in treating mental health problems.

“I would encourage them to look into the psychedelic arena because that’s one of my areas of expertise,” said Chopra, who has also partnered companies like Fitbit.

The investor view

Angermayer, who co-founded psychedelics start-up ATAI Life Sciences, and Bartlett have secured a stake in The Healing Company by participating in its $10 million seed round, which also drew investments from Hong Kong-based property billionaire Goodwin Gaw and Avant Global founder Demetri Argyropoulos.

The seed round is set to be supplemented with an anticipated $75 million credit facility from tech investor i80 Group.

The firm’s valuation has not been disclosed.

Angermayer, a friend of Palantir co-founder and well-known libertarian Peter Thiel, is investing through his private investment firm, Apeiron Investment Group.

“I invested in The Healing Company because I love the mission,” Angermayer told CNBC Monday. “I want to be a part in the big endeavor to make the world a happier and healthier place.”

Dragons’ Den star Bartlett, who co-founded social media group The Social Chain before launching “The Diary of a CEO” podcast, is taking a seat on the board of The Healing Company alongside Chopra Foundation CEO Poonacha Machaiah.

Steven Bartlett founded social media marketing agency Social Chain at the age of 22 and created the popular podcast “The Diary of a CEO.”
Ian West – PA Images | PA Images | Getty Images

“I’ve gone on my own sort of personal journey of realizing that the one-dimensional approach to treating sickness is clearly not working,” Bartlett told CNBC Monday. “The kind of whack-a-mole, throw medicine at it approach is not working.”

Over the last five years, people have started to view sickness cures as more “holistic and rounded,” Bartlett said, adding that they’re increasingly being seen as “spiritual” in some scenarios.

“We need to be taking more alternative approaches to healing because our existing toolbox of medications or therapies clearly aren’t cutting it,” Bartlett said.

He added that he’s now looking at company’s on Dragons’ Den “through the lens of The Healing Company proposition.”

“As I go into filming the next season, which is in about a month’s time, I will be very much scouting for businesses that I think could work within The Healing Company group,” Bartlett said.

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