Sunnyside, the Mindful Drinking App, Announces $11.5m Series a to Expand Its Digital Health Offering for People Looking to Build Better Habits Around Alcohol
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SMS and app-based moderation program announces Series A and new Chief Product and Technology Officer; works to fill the gap for the millions looking to cut back without quitting drinking entirely
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., November 15, 2023-- Sunnyside, an app and program to help people build healthier habits around drinking alcohol, today announced $11.5M in Series A funding and the hire of Steve Lloyd as Chief Product and Technology Officer. The Series A, led by Motley Fool Ventures with major participation from Will Ventures, brings the company’s total funding to $14.6M to date. Additional Series A investors include Uncork Capital, Offline Ventures, Joyance Partners, Wisdom Ventures, Eudemian Ventures, Adjacent, Scribble Ventures, Cooley LLP, and Michael Lee, founder of MyFitnessPal. Lloyd previously served as Chief Product and Technology Officer for Strava, a leading fitness and exercise tracking app serving more than 100 million athletes. The addition of Lloyd, in tandem with the new funds, will power Sunnyside to further develop the product experience to expand social connections among the member community, introduce “Sunny”, the first-of-its-kind AI mindful drinking coach, and advance Sunnyside’s mission to make proactive alcohol management as common and socially accepted as managing diet, exercise and mindfulness.
Sunnyside was founded to provide an alternative to the existing all-or-nothing, sobriety-focused programs that have dominated the alcohol health space up until now. Supported by research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) validating non-abstinence based approaches to alcohol use treatment, the Sunnyside program is unique in its approach to moderation and balance, with no pressure to quit entirely. Two-thirds of the U.S. adult population drink alcohol, and of this population, 48% report wanting to cut back. With a positive and proactive approach to building healthier drinking habits, Sunnyside aims to activate a much larger population of regular alcohol consumers, helping anyone who drinks avoid the negative consequences of unmanaged alcohol overuse. With only a small fraction of drinkers able to access help to change their drinking habits today, more options are needed to mitigate the $249B annual burden of alcohol overuse on our economy and health system. The new funding positions Sunnyside to pioneer mindful drinking as the next popular wellness category, helping millions achieve improved overall health and longevity.
“This is more than just a business for my team and me,” says Nick Allen, CEO and Co-Founder of Sunnyside. “My cofounder and I both grew up in households profoundly impacted by alcohol use, so it’s been clear to us for most of our lives that the existing treatment landscape — where we wait until alcohol becomes a huge problem in our lives before we do anything about it — leaves a lot of people behind. By shifting the conversation from the language of addiction and recovery to one of managing alcohol as a proactive investment in our wellbeing, we can help millions of people make a profound positive impact on their lives. Seeing that the Sunnyside approach is already working for tens of thousands of members is what motivates our work each and every day.”
The Sunnyside program is personalized to each individual member’s goals and baseline habits, featuring weekly goal setting, daily SMS-based nudges, access to a vibrant member community and 1:1 peer coaching and support. The app uses a baseline assessment to develop an attainable program that supports members in gradually decreasing their intake, then maintaining at healthier levels for the long term. Sunnyside leaves room for members to enjoy alcohol mindfully, while reaping the positive benefits of drinking less. For $99/year, Sunnyside members gain access to daily drink tracking, an analytics dashboard calculating money and calories saved, daily SMS reminders of one’s weekly/daily goals, personalized recommendations and a member community with real-time, 1:1 peer support available 7 days a week.
The effectiveness of Sunnyside’s approach has been validated by a team of researchers, with efficacy findings to be presented as part of a symposium at the annual conference of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies later this year. On average, Sunnyside members reduce their drinking by 32%, cut out 1,500 calories and save over $50 in their first 30 days. In a survey of its member base, Sunnyside found that 97% of members report drinking less thanks to Sunnyside, with 21% reporting a reduction in consumption of 75% and another 35% reporting a 50% reduction. To date, Sunnyside has helped over 200,000 people start building healthier drinking habits, without ever pressuring them to quit.
“Sunnyside has a unique opportunity into a massive new vertical in the wellness industry,” says Kristine Harjes, Vice President at Motley Fool Ventures. “By creating a non-judgmental approach where balance is the goal, the Sunnyside team expands the addressable audience to anyone looking to improve their health by taking more control over their drinking habits. Sunnyside will lead the way in establishing mindful drinking as the essential approach to managing alcohol in the context of our overall health.”
The fundraise and newest addition to the executive team comes as the team gears up for its biggest time of year with the holidays and Dry January, when more than 50 million U.S. adults work to cut back their drinking to start the new year. In 2023, Sunnyside ran a Dry(ish) January Challenge for its members, giving them options to customize their own goals for an alcohol reset, without requiring an all-or-nothing approach. Post-challenge survey results indicated participants were more likely to stick to their goals and drink less when given customizable targets. The 2024 challenge will be open for any active Sunnyside members, as well as new signups interested in getting started.
For more information, please visit https://www.sunnyside.co/
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Sunnyside is creating a new wellness category around proactive alcohol moderation. Focused on mindful drinking rather than an all-or-nothing approach, Sunnyside’s behavioral psychology-backed system provides each user with a personalized plan catered to their lifestyle, baseline habits and individual goals. The Sunnyside experience is delivered via 2-way SMS and a 5-star app, providing a unique, low-friction approach that enables participation in the program to be simple, top of mind and user-friendly. Sunnyside members achieve tangible benefits to overall health and wellness including increased productivity, weight loss, reduced anxiety and better sleep. For more information or to get started, visit sunnyside.co.