Investing in Ness
by Brian Reilly
Wellness has become an elusive luxury—something preached to the masses but obtainable for a select few.
That’s scary, because wellness is effectively preventative care. And our society desperately needs more prevention. Today, 6 in 10 Americans have at least one chronic disease and 4 in 10 have two or more. Clearly, something’s broken.
The issue is twofold—part incentives and part access. First, payers are metrics-driven and financially-oriented around the short-term due to fee-for-service payment models. In contrast, preventative care is difficult to quantify and oriented around the long-term. This misalignment is a big part of the reason that payers have neglected prevention for decades and left consumers to pick up the bill. Which brings us to our second problem: most consumers can’t pay for wellness services. So, preventative care like dietetic visits, physical therapy, and psychotherapy are underutilized. That’s a real problem, and exactly what Ness is working to solve.
Ness is building an insurance-like solution aligned with the incentives of consumers. So when consumers stay healthy, Ness wins too—putting wellness back into the reach of everyday people.
Their first product will be a consumer credit card that rewards you for spending on wellness. The more you spend on wellcare, the more points you can use in their affordable care network. In fact, Ness recently acquired WellSet’s 4,000-person nationwide network of best-in-class practitioners. That means consumers will be able to use the points they earn to see health coaches, dietitians, therapists, doulas and more. In this way, Ness hopes to create a powerful, positive feedback loop—one in which more wellness spend means a more affordable wellness ecosystem altogether. That’s a big, audacious goal that can impact everyone, and one of the many reasons we are excited to partner.
Another reason we’re thrilled to partner with Ness is their team. Derek, the CEO, sold his last startup, Greatist, to Healthline. Since, he’s advised leading health companies like GoodRx, Peloton, and Galileo Health. At Ness, he’s carefully assembled a talented and diverse founding team that includes Christina, Katherine, and Kenneth. They bring experience from Cityblock Health, Oscar, and Uber, respectively. So we’re confident that this team has what it takes to make healthcare more inclusive and accessible.