WholyMe, which makes natural products for chronic pain, closes seed round

WholyMe, a London startup that makes and markets “natural relief” products to manage chronic pain, has closed a £500,000 seed round from investors Financière Saint James, V1 Capital, Guibor and business angels. The round also includes Joyance Partners, a New York-based VC concentrating on the new science emerging around “health and happiness” which recently expanded to the U.K. and Europe.

The funding will be used to manufacture WholyMe’s first range of 100% organic supplements and topicals for muscle and joint health, starting with a cannabis-based ointment slated to launch in spring 2020. Formulated in-house and manufactured in Europe, WholyMe products will be sold online; the startup also has plans to partner with gym clubs to support athletic millennials by preventing injuries.

Its direct competitors include natural health brands like Tiger Balm, BetterYou and Weleda, but also adjacent competitors such as Voltarol and Deep Heat.

They say their differentiating factors are that, at the product level, their products “have no adverse effects as opposed to conventional pain killers,” while they say the ingredients are organic and contain no synthetics, petroleum, GMOs etc.

The market they are aiming at is certainly large. The natural medicine products market is now worth €16 billion in Europe and has grown +7% CAGR from 2017-2023, according to the latest figures.

Co-founders Celine Ivari and Quitterie de Rivoyre researched and developed WholyMe’s first products while trying to solve chronic inflammation problems plaguing family members.

Ivari says: “When my mother suffered from severe inflammation, she was overloaded with painkillers and prescription drugs, which had terrible side effects. Having studied the genetics of human disease, I knew there were alternative solutions to manage her pain. I helped her improve her well-being through natural remedies.”

Paolo Pio, European managing director for Joyance Partners, said in a statement: “We’re thrilled to support WholyMe as they push the boundaries of health & pain management to bring greater happiness to the world.”