A Scottish entrepreneur who founded music and lifestyle media brand Clash and creative agency Public Worldwide, is set to launch a wellbeing platform alongside a number of high profile executives from the tech and FMCG sectors in the UK and US.
Jon-Paul Kitching is targeting North America, the largest wellbeing market globally, with personalised digital healthcare and lifestyle branded products, initially vitamin-rich drinks delivered direct to consumers preferred location.
Alyke – described as a “people-powered healthcare and wellbeing technology platform, dedicated to simplifying consumer wellness” – will develop additional products over time and has plans to locate a small but highly experienced marketing team in the US supported by a Scottish headquarters. Alyke’s advisors include former Starbucks Director of Food EMEA Kate Skeritt, former Amazon UK Managing Director and ASOS Chairman, Brian McBride, and FanDuel co-founder Lesley Eccles.
Jon-Paul Kitching, CEO and co-founder of Alyke, said: “The global market for functional beverages is exploding thanks to a new generation of health-conscious consumers, who are demanding healthy and nutritious beverage choices and we think there is great opportunity to go after and disrupt growth segments of what is already an $800 billion plus industry. We feel passionate about building a base from Scotland with access to a high quality talent pool, fantastic universities and government support.”
Brian McBride said: “Real time customised adaptability and making a personal connection between brand and customer is crucial for any new consumer brand and Jon-Paul and the Alyke team are so in tune with how this space is going to play out. We think there is a major opportunity for a people-powered healthcare and wellbeing platform.”
Alyke centres around a subscription model that allows consumers to develop their own unique blends of functional flavoured beverages, sourced from high quality ingredients shipped directly. The community-led proposition will also give committed subscribers and brand advocates the opportunity to become stakeholders in the business.
Jon-Paul Kitching said: “Consumer needs have diversified, they look for committed brands that deliver authentic products, relevant health benefits, nutritional value and transparency. We are in one of the fastest-growing segments of the market and although there are similar propositions, no one is doing what we are doing.”
New York-headquartered Care/of, which produces subscription-only vitamin packs tailored to user requirements, is one of a string of startups in the wellbeing space that has raised significant funds while demonstrating investor interest in online boutiques in the sector that cater for the digital generation.
Jon-Paul Kitching added: “Right now, there is a huge appetite from investors for online wellness boutiques that seek to bypass traditional retail channels in favour of much more agile propositions for an increasingly digital generation. The large FMCG corporates are no longer aspirational brands for 21st century consumers who demand much more than a one-size-fits-all experience.”
A £1 million seed funding round is now in process with Alyke actively speaking to investors across the UK around investment to fund accelerated product development, maintain first mover advantage and support the marketing and UX functions.
Alyke co-founder and Chairman Andy Bottomley said: “We have developed the brand with some of the best agency talent around, formulated entry point beverages and have distribution infrastructure in place which allows us immediate entry to the US market. The £1 million seed round helps us to build out the back office function, recruit key personnel and be in position to launch a fully scaleable platform from launch in the first half of 2019.”