Mike Maser, a serial entrepreneur, has been centered on longevity since effectively earlier than being identified with stage four non-Hodgkins lymphoma a bit of over 5 years in the past. But he understandably took a lot better curiosity within the potential position of fasting as a life-extending measure when it was was satisfied by mates to strive it whereas present process most cancers remedies.
While his care workforce “wasn’t so enthusiastic about it,” Maser recollects now, he was comparatively younger on the time, he hadn’t misplaced loads of weight as do some folks when battling most cancers, and to him, fasting made extra sense than taking an experimental drug, so he tried it and he preferred it. Indeed, whereas he largely credit an autologous bone marrow transplant for saving his life, he has grow to be a scholar of — and advocate for — intermittent fasting within the ensuing years.
Perhaps it’s no shock that Maser, who earlier offered a training app known as Fitstar to Fitbit for round $25 million, would in the end find yourself overseeing a fasting app that he says is rising at an accelerated clip. Called Zero, he acquired it from designer and good friend Kevin Rose in 2018, a hand-off that we mentioned with Rose final week.
It’s no shock, both, given Maser’s monitor document, mixed with rising curiosity in fasting, that traders would wish to get entangled with him. In truth, immediately, his Montana-based startup, Big Sky Health — it oversees Zero, together with a mediation app, Oak (additionally acquired from Rose), and a more recent app known as Less that helps customers monitor their alcohol consumption — is saying it has raised $eight million in Series A funding.
Greycroft led the spherical with participation from earlier traders, together with True Ventures and Trinity Ventures. The firm has now raised $12.2 million altogether.
Certainly, Big Sky Health appears positioned effectively for the instances. Not solely is fasting taking off — with Zero having fun with upwards of 25,000 new downloads day by day, says Maser — however extra individuals are attempting to meditate their approach by way of pandemic-related anxiousness. They’re additionally consuming rather a lot, a lot that the World Health Organization has begun warning towards alcohol altogether, in order that “you don’t undermine your individual immune system and well being and don’t threat the well being of others.”
Now, Big Sky — which employs simply 15 folks and whose workforce has been totally distributed from its founding days two years in the past — simply must maintain its momentum going.
Toward that finish, it has created a premium providing of Zero known as Zero Plus, which gives customized fasting plans and what it describes as “customized, science-backed content material to assist information customers on their well being journeys.” (The non-premium providing has extra of a choose-your-own journey vibe.) “We stored listening to that customers need extra steerage,” stated Maser in a name yesterday. The premium providing will “adapt to you primarily based by yourself private journey,” together with making an allowance for whether or not a person is new to intermittent fasting.
Big Sky’s workforce can be utilizing instruments like Zoom, Slack, Google Docs and Notion to create a roadmap of what’s subsequent, which incorporates extra social options for Zero. “We have already got 800,000 folks fasting collectively every evening on the app and customers have a powerful need to encourage and work together with one another.”
As for Oak and Less, they’re additionally getting extra consideration. Though Less is “not about going sober, it’s extra about being aware about how a lot you’re consuming,” says Maser, one can think about it focusing more and more on alcohol’s results on the physique and thoughts as Big Sky builds its wellness empire. As for Oak, one want solely to take a look at greater rivals Calm and Headspace to understand the scale of the chance.
Calm has raised a minimum of $143 million from traders up to now, exhibits Crunchbase. Headspace has increase an estimated $168.2 million.