Entries Published On November, 2017
Corporate wellness is an $8 billion annual industry in the United States alone, and many pundits believe it is mostly theater, lacking real evidence of return on investment. Businesses increase their spend on wellness programs while at the same time “sentencing their employees to the chair”. The end result is that employee health continues to decline as we deal with the societal issues that come from spending too many hours a day sitting at a desk, in meetings, in travel and at restaurants, in addition to TV time on the sofa at home.
iMovR CEO Ron Wiener posits that at least as far as sitting time spent at work, it’s a problem that can be fixed.
Founded in 2013, iMovR is a digital health company that is combating “sedentary disease” — a set of serious medical conditions that can arise from spending too much time sitting. The Mayo Clinic tells us in no uncertain terms that “any extended sitting…can be harmful”, with a nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause, and about a 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease.
The History of iMovR
The team behind iMovR is a group of seven experienced co-founders who wanted to find a way to have a scaleable impact on a societal issue. Leaning on their years of combined experience, the team found that not only were corporate wellness programs roundly ineffective in reducing healthcare costs, employee health was actually getting worse.
With those facts in mind, iMovR knew that they had to come up with a way to measure actual reduction in time spent sitting. Standing and treadmill desks have been a hot commodity for quite a while, but iMovR understood that connectivity and tracking were key to understanding their real benefit.
The team set out to build a cloud-connected wellness platform that not only would help the employees to track their activity, but it would also allow companies to have measurable ROI for their wellness programs for the first time. Largely using their co-founders’ own funds, they entered the space with patented active office furniture designs that have already been sold to over 9,000 customer accounts.
The team is heavily focused on keeping their customer acquisition costs (CAC) and overhead low, with state-of-the-art digital marketing and a “lean” org structure. A 100 percent on-demand and outsourced manufacturing and fulfillment process has allowed them to keep their gross margins in the 40-55 percent range, with zero investment in capital equipment. The iMovR website sees over 1 million organic visits each year, a direct result of the team’s work on search, social media, and of course word of mouth recommendations from their customers. The company enjoys a very high repeat order rate from its enterprise customers, as the popularity of their products expands virally.
iMovR is the first company in the industry to be awarded the Mayo Clinic’s NEAT certification for their standing desks and converters, treadmill desks, and sit-stand meeting tables, among several other product categories. The certification requires that companies send their product to Mayo Clinic for lab testing. Products that are NEAT certified offer proven health benefits to consumers and employers considering a purchase. The company’s patented sensor devices and treadmill desk workstations are also being used by Mayo Clinic’s own research programs in a cooperative research and consumer education program.
The company has also performed a successful six-month trial period at the Chicago Westin hotel. During the trial, the hotel saw 82 percent advance occupancy of its Work While Walking Suites, with even greater numbers once room upgrades that happened in person are accounted for. As a result, iMovR is now a cornerstone of the Westin “Move Well” global strategy, with a potential rollout in all of parent company Starwood’s nine hospitality divisions, plus corporate and sales offices, as well as Marriott hotels.
Funding the Future of iMovR
Over the past five years of the business, the company has raised only $700,000 in outside capital, including from several MDs, and notably, billionaire Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank fame. Wiener tells us that it’s time for iMovR to seek more substantial funding now that the business has been significantly de-risked.
“Now that we have thousands of customer accounts, we’re getting ready to deploy what we originally started to do which is the cloud-based infrastructure. iMovR’s patented sensor technology is agnostic, able to connect with any brand of standing desk or treadmill desk, but having enhanced features when used with iMovR’s own products, of course,” says Wiener.
This iMovR Cloud infrastructure will allow companies to collect data from all of their workstations — a definitive advantage over fitness trackers that aren’t able to accurately register slow-paced treadmill desk activity or sitting versus standing time — and integrate that data with employee biometrics already being collected in their corporate wellness software platforms. “The key that we’ve always known is to prove to management that this is the best place to put corporate wellness dollars. The iMovR Cloud will for the first time enable real ROI reporting in terms of health outcomes, healthcare cost reduction, and employee productivity gains.”
To help them reach this goal, iMovR is raising a mezzanine convertible note round of $500,000 through an AngelMD syndicate led by Dr. Orrin Ailloni-Charas. The note features a 25% discount into a larger Series A Preferred offering the company is planning for Q1’18 to fund the completion of the cloud-based software platform and smartphone apps.