Arianna Huffington wants you to work smarter, not harder. She believes a corporate mentality that rewards burning the midnight oil is actually reducing productivity, by causing burnout. Lack of sleep could be costing the U.S. economy $411 billion per year, it turns out.
So last year, the HuffPost founder and Uber board member, launched Thrive Global, a startup dedicated to reducing stress and improving wellness. By offering workshops and courses on work-life balance, Thrive is teaching companies like Accenture and J.P. Morgan the virtues of getting rest.
Now New York-based Thrive is raising a $30 million funding round at a $120 million valuation, in order to scale its business. IVP is leading the round, with participation from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, entrepreneur Sean Parker, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Greycroft Partners and others.
“More and more companies are realizing that there is a fundamental connection between their employees’ well-being and the bottom line,” Huffington told TechCrunch. “The goal really is to end the delusion that in order to succeed you have to burn out.”
She believes that the mentality of overwork has become a global problem and is looking to do business everywhere from India to Argentina. There’s a “massive market opportunity” and Thrive can “change the world in the process,” said Huffington.
Thrive makes its money through corporate clients who are enlisting it for health and wellness education. The startup is also generating revenue through sponsorships and online content.
It’s additionally rolling out an app in partnership with Samsung, that’s aimed at reducing the pressure to constantly check smartphones. It allows users to set an away message during personal time, so that people aren’t expecting a response right away. It also gives feedback about how much time you’re spending on other apps.
IVP general partner Somesh Dash wrote in a blog post that they invested in Thrive because “in less than one year, Thrive has created a differentiated digital media property that is a one-stop shop for wellness content.” He said IVP also has “the conviction that the opportunity that Thrive is going after is one that will make the world a better place.”
Huffington said she plans to use the new funding for hiring. She’s particularly on the lookout for talented female engineers.