Early-stage US VC Joyance to scout for health and wellness startups in Europe

Good news for European startups with a health or wellness bent. Joyance Partners, a $20 million U.S. VC firm that invests in early-stage startups in the health and “better living” space, is launching into the European market with a dedicated European partner.

The move could be seen as taking advantage of leaps in the capability of European startups, especially in the health and AI space.

To lead its European efforts, the fund has appointed Paolo Pio as managing director of Joyance Partners Europe. Paolo was most recently head of product and business development at Cisco for Europe, and then Asia/Pacific. He has also been an active angel investor.

“The European startup scene is growing rapidly, and it needs funds like Joyance to provide the kind of support and capital necessary at the very early stages,” said Pio.

“We’re extremely pleased with the companies we’ve seen in the US and are excited to expand our search for companies that contribute to individual health and happiness to Europe,” said Mike Edelhart, managing partner of Joyance Partners, in a statement.

Joyance launched in 2017 and has since made more than 50 investments related to the emerging science of health and happiness. These include personal thermostat Embr Labs; on-body fluidics lab Epicore Biosystems; microbiome leader DermBiont; medical AI innovators Gyant and Lark Health; NeoSensory, which lets one human sense stand in for another; female pleasure products maker Unbound; and Wynd Technologies, which delivers pure air to individuals or groups.

Another investment, NeoSensory, raised $14.2 million, and focuses on sending a variety of data streams to the brain via the sense of touch.

Joyance is also adding two other new team members to bolster its activity. Holly Jacobus (Investment Partner, NY) and Jun Deng, PhD (Investment Partner, Silicon Valley).

The firm has a particular description for these types of investments. They call them “delightful moments — the small quanta of time that brings greater joy, confidence, calm, control, and absence of anxiety or pain.”

So far so hippie, but Joyance says that research increasingly notes a connection between happiness and health, such as the long-noted effects of job stress on health, and the coloration between positive emotions and longer and healthier life.

In a 2010 study released in the European Heart Journal, for each one-point increase in positive emotions a patient had expressed, their heart disease risk was 22 percent lower.

So get being happy, people.

(Photo by Form on Unsplash)