Helping Americans get their 40 winks has never been more necessary as the country faces what some health experts have called a sleep epidemic, and Snoop Dogg’s cannabis-focused firm Casa Verde Capital wants to help.
The firm is leading a $9.5 million investment into a company called Proper, which is launching with a combination of sleep coaching and supplements, pitching a “holistic” sleep health solution.
One-third of U.S. adults don’t get enough sleep according to Proper’s estimates, and the company’s chief executive, Nancy Ramamurthi, says that the COVID-19 epidemic has only made the problem worse.
“Proper aims to help solve what the CDC has identified as a public health crisis — insufficient sleep — with a truly more holistic and personalized solution,” said Ramamurthi, founder and CEO of Proper, in a statement. “Proper has combined the best of natural, safe, evidence-based sleep supplements with expert behavioral coaching, which consumers have not traditionally been able to access. Now, thanks to the increasing popularity of telehealth, sleep coaching can be delivered online.”
The sleep coaching services from Proper are provided by board-certified health and wellness coaches under the guidance of a clinical psychologist and behavioral sleep medicine specialist, according to a statement from the company.
Ramamurthi said that clinical validation is a core component of the company’s business. Indeed, the company is currently running its formulations through a clinical trial to prove their efficacy. It’s an additional step that the company doesn’t need to take, she said, because the supplements have all been studied with clinical trials supporting the use of the ingredients as treatments for sleep therapy. “That’s in addition to them being used for thousands of years,” said Ramamurthi.
Proper was incubated within the consumer health venture studio Redesign Health and will use the new capital from investors led by Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde to boost its sales and marketing efforts and continue its research and development activities.
While sleep aids may seem like a strange market for a cannabis-focused investment firm, Casa Verde partner Karan Wadhera says it’s a highly strategic investment for the firm.
“[Cannabis] is an input as well and its use case will go beyond how people think of cannabis stigmatically,” Wadhera said. “At its core, [Proper] is a company that’s helping us target this sleep epidemic. We think CBD and cannabis at large can play a big role in addressing that in a way that traditional products haven’t been able to.”
The investment in Proper, then, points to a maturation of the cannabis industry, as investors look at the various chemical components of the cannabis plant and try to tease out a broader range of health and wellness applications. “We are starting to shift how we think about the business. It doesn’t have to be a core, specific cannabis product,” Wadhera said.
Ramamurthi says that her company will be exploring applications for cannabinoids in its supplements later. “As we continue our product development process one of the things we are looking at is CBD,” she said. “CBD is one of the more effective ingredients at reducing stress and anxiety, and stress and anxiety are one of the main reasons why people can’t get to sleep.”
Proper’s studies are supported by a scientific advisory board that includes Dr. Adam Perlman, the director of integrative health and well-being at the Mayo Clinic, and Dr. Allison Siebern, a clinical psychologist and board-certified sleep medicine specialist at the VA Medical Center in North Carolina.
There’s a reason why sleep is so poorly understood and ignored as a health issue in America. Around 90% of primary care physicians rate their understanding of sleep’s impact on the body as “poor to fair” and there’s only one board-certified sleep specialist for every 43,000 Americans, according to Proper’s data.
Customers who sign up for Proper’s service can select one of five sleep formulations available for $39.99 per bottle or for a subscription with a 10% discount. New users also get a free 30-minute consultation with a Proper sleep coach, the company said.
The five versions of Proper’s sleep products include a core sleep product made from GABA, valerian root extract, rafuma leaf extract, and ashwagandha root and leaf extract; a sleep and restore product that includes melatonin; a calming pill with L-theanine added to the core sleep product; a clarity product that includes concentrated grape extracts; and, finally, an immunity product with added zinc, vitamin C, B6 and D.