ECA columnist Glynn Davis meets Simon Belsham, co-founder and CEO, The Healing Company…
Can you tell us in a nutshell what exactly is The Healing Company?
The Healing Company is a community of powerful healing brands united by a bold vision: bring integrated healing to the world, helping millions of people improve their quality of life. We identify and acquire high potential businesses within select wellness categories and, together, create exponential market impact—helping to scale the reach and impact of integrated healing practices and products.
How do you define integrated healing?
In our view, integrated healing is about optimising both physical health and mental wellbeing by bringing together conventional medicine with alternative practices. When we unite science with nature and modern medicine with ancient wisdom, we open the door to more holistic, lifestyle solutions that prevent disease.
You completed Your Super as your first acquisition, what was the rationale behind that deal?
Your Super is a leading superfoods business that has demonstrated the ability to grow quickly, while maintaining strong margins and a positive EBITDA outlook. Led by tremendous founders, Your Super has sold more than five million products across the US and Europe, ranking 25th on the 2021 Inc. fastest growing companies list with three-year revenue growth of 11,477% and $180 million in cumulative revenue. It is a brand that has deep customer resonance, powered by an incredible product portfolio of superfood mixes that help people meaningfully improve their health every day.
We see a huge opportunity with the expertise we have at HLCO to help this brand grow sustainably with a focus on expanding and deepening customer impact through DTC, retail, and operational efficiencies. Your Super sits at the nexus of two high-growth wellness sectors, superfoods and plant-based nutrition, representing more than $200 billion of global market potential. Together with the Your Super team, we will harness this market opportunity and maximise the reach and healing impact of the brand.
You have set a target of buying 15 brands over the next few years – will they all be DTC brands or have you set broader criteria?
Our near-term focus is on acquiring brands with best-in-class products and clear customer resonance. With science-backed products and demonstrated healing impact for a specific audience, these high-potential brands can grow into category winners when paired with the right resources and expertise. Over time, we have broader plans to include adjacent categories: data and diagnostics, content, services, and experiences, ultimately building a portfolio of powerful healing brands and integrating them to amplify their healing and business results.
What synergies/economies of scale are you bringing to the table?
Our business is about building a community of brands, designed specifically to create opportunities across the portfolio that act as a rising tide, increasing both healing and business impact. As a portfolio, we benefit from scale across sourcing, distribution, production, technology, consumer insight, and growth marketing—a set of tools, resources, and opportunities that support each brand, and allow the founders to focus on product, innovation, and storytelling.
You have worked for some interesting businesses, are there any specific skills that you bring from those into The Healing Company?
The through-line in my work, spanning retail, consumer tech, and media, has been a deep focus on identifying and understanding consumer needs to architect products, experiences, and services that meet them. The internet has been a powerful democratising force across many categories. From e/s-commerce, DTC, M&A and CPG, I’ve led significant growth and disruption by applying similar consumer-centric principles.
As president of Equinox Media, I helped people build healthy movement habits through the creation of a multi-brand digital offering featuring some of the most storied brands in fitness—Equinox, SoulCycle, Rumble, TB12, Solidcore. As president of Jet.com, I leveraged digital to amplify consumer access for Walmart on the heels of the $3.3 billion acquisition. And previously as managing director of Tesco.com, I led 25,000 employees to manage the growth of 10 markets across Central Europe and Asia.
The world of health and healing is growing and evolving at a rapid pace, with a huge opportunity to improve the lives of millions of people. That all starts with understanding consumers’ needs, and leveraging systems encompassing technology, products, services, and experiences to meet them—helping build new habit patterns that serve as an unlock to disease prevention. That’s exactly what we intend to do at The Healing Company, and it’s a build on the consumer-centricity muscle I’ve built and honed throughout my career.
What is the opportunity for the business – is consolidation of the sector inevitable?
The wellness industry is growing at an unprecedented 10% annual growth rate globally, but the explosion of new offerings has led to extreme fragmentation. Paired with lack of regulation, this has left consumers confused and often sceptical and unclear on which products or practices actually work. And, the brands that have been able to break through are those that get access to capital, which unfortunately is not always synonymous with impactful, science-backed products.
We see an increasing need for consolidation in this sector, bringing together best-in-class healing brands to create credibility with consumers, making it easier to identify and build habits around products and practices that have a real healing impact. And, for founders, this model creates the opportunity to increase reach and impact, with access to the resources and support that makes that possible.
Do you see any increasing levels of competition in your field that could make a roll-up strategy reliant on paying increasingly higher multiples or are there sufficient brands out there to satisfy your immediate requirements?
We’ve built a robust pipeline of potential acquisitions including hundreds of qualified leads representing over $3 billion in revenue, and have found that when stacked up against other funding or acquisition options, founders often prefer The Healing Company’s mission-driven company and team, exceptional capabilities, and model that keeps the founding and operating team in place. With asset prices also declining, down 25-50% year-to-date and further decreases expected, we’re confident our buy-and-build approach is repeatable and scalable.
What is the longer-term objective for the business?
The Healing Company’s aim is to bring integrated healing to the world. By uniting the world’s best brands, founders, healers, experts and entrepreneurs in the wellness space, we will build the future of integrated health—helping millions of people unlock a better quality of life.