Halifax’s Bright has raised a $1.45 million round of funding led by Halifax’s Tidal Venture Partners, building on traction from the spring and summer, CEO David Howe said in an interview.
Along with Tidal, Halifax’s Concrete Ventures and provincial venture capital Crown corporation Innovacorp — now being amalgamated with Nova Scotia Business Inc. to form Invest Nova Scotia — also participated.
Bright sells subscriptions for online fitness and wellness classes targeted at businesses looking to help their employees get active. The company previously did business as Cribcut, selling haircuts on-demand.
“We think we have something really unique and special with our focus on workplace wellness breaks,” said Howe. “The funding is helping us bring that vision to life.”
Bright offers about 300 online fitness classes a week, with employers buying subscriptions for their staff. The classes last between five and 15 minutes, in keeping with the length of a typical work break, and include exercises that can be done while sitting at a desk. The subscription also comes with meditation and mindfulness sessions.
The classes are taught by instructors Bright employs on a contract basis.
Users also receive a daily recommendation in their calendar for which class to take, based on their preference and habits.
Howe, the co-founder of two other startups that ended in acquisitions, previously said in an interview that the pivot to fitness had been planned before the pandemic. However, the company’s haircut revenue stream collapsed when Canada and much of the United States entered lockdown, so his team accelerated its timeline.
Now, Bright has been finding traction with employers who have grown more conscious of worker health and job satisfaction in the wake of COVID-19 and the Great Resignation. Bright’s offerings are designed to be suitable for both work-from-home employees and in-office staff.
“Those kind of onsite physical initiatives that they used to provide don't work anymore, because their teams are spread across states or provinces or countries,” said Howe. “They want something that's kind of accessible to everyone, so we have been evolving with that.”
The majority of Bright’s customers are headquartered in the United States, but it is a slim majority. About 60 percent are in the U.S. and most of the rest are in Canada, according to Howe. With the advent of remote work, Bright’s actual users can be located effectively anywhere in the world.
“A big benefit to companies and their teams is that they can connect with other co-workers on these (virtual) classes together,” Howe said. “In a physical office, obviously, you're bumping into co-workers and having coffee or something. It's not the same in a remote world.
“So bumping into a co-worker on a seven-minute stretching class is what we're recreating for remote companies.”
Now, Howe and his team have enough runway for about a year and a half and are eyeing another raise after that.